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Anatomy of the Cloud Management Tools ecosystem

solution designRecently I’ve been helping review startups in the Cloud Management Tools category, and my main advice was that this is a broad sector and so focus needs to be sharpened to a granular level of specific niches within the overall space.

A good introduction to this broad base is conveyed in this Network World article – 16 of the Most Useful Cloud Management Tools.

They describe a growing ecosystem of players across a number of main capability areas:

  • Provisioning and automation
  • Enterprise Cloud Management
  • Cloud Metrics and Cost Optimization
  • Application Transformation & Migration
  • Cloud Service Brokerage

Provisioning and automation

The principle function of automating deployment of apps to Cloud providers is met by Cloud industry stalwarts like Rightscale through to distributed computing experts Gigaspaces.

Options like enStratus also add security controls like Key Management. See the relevance of this here.

Puppet Labs provides this type of automation and specializes in automating the developer lifecycle and thus ‘DevOps’.

Enterprise Cloud Management

A critical battleground will be where these new options meet with the existing incumbent supplier base that currently services the traditional IT management field, vendors such as BMC, Computer Associates, HP, IBM and VMware.

The biggest Cloud consideration for CIOs is how they adapt and address their sunk-cost legacy estate and so this is a critical decision-making zone.

Cloud Metrics and Cost Optimization

A very popular and fast-moving is the suite of startups catering for all aspects of managing your Cloud, covering functions like forecasting and planning, cost tracking, optimization analysis and chargebacks.

For example Israeli startup Newvem collects data from customers’ use of Amazon and comes up with plans to better utilize the service more efficiently.

Cloudability does so across multiple providers and offers an API for interfacing to existing management systems, Cloudyn offers a reserved instance calculator and Cloud Cruiser is enabling IT organizations to implement an internal chargeback billing model.

Application Migration Management

Especially for legacy systems the process of actually getting the application into the Cloud service can be challenging, and there are many aspects to this too, ranging from surrounding applications in virtual “containers” to re-writing software to use Cloud portability extensions like JClouds.

Cloud Service Brokerage

The conclusion to the increased portability of applications and a granular billing environment for their use is a widespread rise of Cloud Service Brokers.

For example Gravitant is a startup in this area who provides all of these Cloud Management Tool functions, as well as an e-marketplace system for automating procurement across multiple Cloud suppliers.


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