7 Ways to Compare Cloud Management Platforms

Aug 16, 2018 | Insights

Does your company have multiple cloud environments with no communication between them? This is a typical scenario for many businesses on the journey to implementing a hybrid cloud architecture, resulting in a lack of visibility across infrastructure. The only way to cohesively manage these environments is with a cloud management platform. Gartner defines a cloud management platform as “products that incorporate self-service interfaces, provision system images, enable metering and billing, and provide for some degree of workload optimization through established policies.” Choosing the right cloud management platform can save a company time and money, as well as determine how quickly and efficiently they can develop new products and services.

1. Vendor History and Stability

Knowing a vendor’s history will be helpful in understanding how their platform was built and the original purpose behind it. Was it built with a focus on reporting? Was it developed primarily to accommodate certain cloud platforms? Knowing this will help you understand the platform’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how adept the company is at innovating to keep up with competitors. While longevity may not be the best indicator, as cloud management platforms haven’t been around for long, ask to see some financial records to learn about the company’s stability. The last thing you want is to invest the time and resources in integrating a platform with all your systems, only to have the company go out of business in a few months.

2. Vendor Integration

The most important purpose of a cloud management platform is having a single pane of glass that provides comprehensive reports and granular data across all your workloads on both public and private clouds. First, review all the infrastructure vendors and cloud providers your company uses, from AWS and Azure to private clouds the company built using vendors like VMware or OpenStack, as well as hosted private clouds, such as Rackspace. Next, take stock of all the tools you use for ERP, incident management, provisioning and any automation tools you might want to integrate with your cloud management platform. Make a list of your cloud services and tools and take it with you to meetings with vendors. Ideally, your chosen platform should integrate with all of them.

3. Hosting Environment and Setup

Some cloud management platforms are hosted on premises – in your data center or colocation facility. Others are subscription services hosted by the vendor. Learn how large of a role the vendor plays in helping you set up their tool, and if the hosting environment is compatible with your infrastructure model. Some cloud platforms assist in the migration, deployment and decommissioning of resources.

4. Reporting and Analytics

Demo several cloud management platforms before making a decision to ensure it provides the analytics and reporting interface that meets your needs. Most platforms meter usage and spend on integrated cloud platforms, but some of them also provide forecasting modules. This allows the company to construct “what-if” scenarios to conduct capacity and budget planning for future projects. It also makes it easier to find the most efficient and cost-effective infrastructure setup to support a new project.

5. Security and Access Management

Security in cloud environments is one of the top concerns for most companies. If your company handles personal data, be sure your cloud platform can manage encryption keys for all your different clouds. Some platforms also have a robust access management system, allowing you to implement and monitor access management for all your cloud environments through one platform.

6. Governance and Compliance

If your company is required to meet certain security compliance requirements, look for a platform that allows you to implement restrictions based on your organization’s policies. For example, some platforms allow you to restrict the ability to migrate sensitive data to the public cloud or to subscribe to non-compliant services. Platforms that enable governance can also be used to apply limits on spend by department.

7. Total Cost of Ownership

Last but not least, be sure to estimate the total cost of ownership for your potential new platform. This should not only include upfront costs, such as the cost of acquisition and implementation, but also recurring costs, such as licensing and maintenance. Also include the cost of implementing an exit strategy, just in case the platform doesn’t work out.

Data Foundry supports hybrid cloud strategies through colocation and direct cloud connectivity. Find out more.