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The role of cloud management platforms

The role of cloud management platforms
July 10, 2019

The advent of public cloud brought about a new revolution where enterprises could start looking to IT infrastructure costs merely as operational expenditures. Today, there is a massive shift— different from the way businesses used to operate a few decades back. Initially, it appeared that the public cloud is the single key to open all locks for enterprise IT functions. But soon organizations realized that due to issues related to security, feasibility, and cost, it is not always the best decision.

The Need for a Cloud Management Platform

While public cloud does provide superior agility, flexibility, and scalability, private cloud wins over for its customizability, controllability, and auditability. Both can co-exist together in what we define as a ‘hybrid cloud’ infrastructure. While there are multiple management tools to help manage public or on-premise infrastructure separately, for a true hybrid-cloud strategy, we need a common management window that will enable us to perform all the management and operational tasks both within as well as across these domains. This is where cloud management platforms (CMPs) enter the picture.

Per recent research, about one-third of the organizations are already using CMPs and roughly one-fourth are planning to implement them within the next two years. There are many types of CMP tools in the market today depending upon the range of features they offer. Some of these support all or a subset of features like automation/orchestration, multi-cloud management, cost metering, and security.

Key Features of Cloud Management Platform

Automation is one of the key features that any CMP should provide as a minimum capability. It could be as simple as provisioning the infrastructure on-the-go or as complex as supporting DevOps requirements with configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible. In a world of hybrid cloud, simplifying application management and not just infrastructure management is the primary need. Public cloud solutions offer infrastructure-management services. However, since an enterprise needs to manage the containers and microservices, CMPs play a major role.

Another key feature is brokerage service offered by between multiple clouds. Every cloud service provider offers tools to manage their own set of cloud services but large enterprises don’t generally use a single cloud platform only. Depending on co-location, distance, availability of services, licensing, and a range of other features, enterprises choose from multiple clouds where each one is essential for a different set of services. In such an environment, the role of CMPs is very important to provide seamless brokerage for inter-cloud management.  In hybrid-cloud environments, the services are distributed across multiple domains. CMPs should provide a common window where resource utilization and cost metering is easily accessible. In a similar vein, we also get seamless workload, migration options, including virtual machine (VM) migration and database migration (DB) between multiple clouds or between a private and public cloud.

Cloud Management platforms accelerate and steady the journey of customers to the hybrid cloud. 

Security and governance are two other foundational requirements for every design. With data spread across multiple controlled and public sites, it becomes even more desirable. Cyber-attacks have risen to become one of the top reasons to disrupt business operations for many digital-driven organizations. CMPs either integrate with third-party authentication services like an active directory or provide their own services. When data is transferred between multiple sites, both TLS (transport layer security) and TDE (transparent data encryption) are a must-have; CMPs will support continuous replication of data to multiple other sites. During a service disruption, it will automate infrastructure and application availability on another site with proper workflow automation. In the same way, the service-management layer will consolidate all operational tasks and incidents for faster resolution.

HCL’s MyCloud

DRYiCE MyCloud is a hybrid cloud management product which helps organizations to govern, provision, monitor and manage cloud infrastructure. Combining data exploration and data visualization, this unique hybrid cloud solution enables effective analysis and actionable insights for IaaS/PaaS/SaaS. As a unified platform for governing access to public and private cloud resources, MyCloud also enables catalog-based self-service for IT users. This helps to request virtual infrastructure as needed on either of the cloud environments and provides a unified view of server provisioning, reporting, metering, billing, and chargeback. Acting as a single pane of visibility for the entire cloud environment, it provides role-based dashboards which can be created by combining multiple drag-and-drop widgets. The advisory and recommendation module of MyCloud ensures continuous optimizations and improvement in the cloud managed service environment.