Data Foundry Blog

7 Ways to Compare Cloud Management Platforms

cloud management platform modules 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.

Estimating Data Center Cost of Ownership: 5 Hidden Costs

servers in data center, hidden cost

Trying to decide if you should build or buy your own data center? An essential step in your decision-making process is estimating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) to understand how the long-term costs of data center operation compare to colocation. Companies often consider the upfront costs of owning a data center, such as buying the building, buying mechanical equipment, and the cost of securing and paying back a business loan. However, some of the recurring costs are frequently overlooked. Here are 5 recurring operational expenses that are commonly forgotten.

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Hybrid Cloud Architecture: Top Benefits & Challenges in 2018

hybrid cloud architecture

As of this year, over 80% of North American and European companies have multi-cloud infrastructures. Despite rapid cloud adoption, few companies have achieved a truly functional hybrid cloud architecture. According to a March 2018 hybrid cloud report from 451 Research and NTT Communications, around 63% of firms have a formal strategy for hybrid infrastructure. In this case, hybrid cloud does not simply mean using a public cloud and a private cloud. It means having a seamless flow of data between all clouds, on and off-premises. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the highlights of this report, including how companies are using hybrid cloud and their perceived top challenges and benefits.

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Ignoring Messy Data Center Cabling? Here’s Why It’s Risky

structured cabling in data center
“We build our computer systems the way we build our cities: over time, without a plan, on top of ruins.” – Ellen Ullman

If this sounds like your data center, it’s time for a change. That bird’s nest of cables costs you a little bit more every day in energy and productivity. Here’s why:

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How Much Should You Spend on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery?

Many companies underfund their business continuity and disaster recovery plans, not realizing several hours of downtime can cost them hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars. Every company’s DR strategy and budget should be based on their unique requirements, not a cookie-cutter plan. The best way to approach spending on disaster recovery efforts is to first understand your compliance requirements, if you have any, and then calculate your cost of downtime per hour. Once you have an idea of what that number is, you’ll have a better understanding of the ROI on different approaches to disaster recovery. In this blog post, we’ll look at average downtime risk based on availability, and we’ll take a look at how much companies typically allocate for their DR budgets.

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6 Cost Reduction Strategies for Enterprise IT

Generic line graph showing cost reduction

While the focus of many CIOs is and should be on bringing technological competitive advantages to the business, cutting unnecessary costs is always something to keep in mind. Here are six IT cost reduction strategies that allow IT departments to use more of the budget for new technologies that foster business growth.

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Backup and Recovery: Planning for Hurricane Season

hurricane season backup and recovery

Ensuring you have a backup and recovery plan in place before the season’s hurricanes hit is essential for companies worried about business continuity. The last thing you want is to permanently lose data, or to experience several hours or days of downtime due to a power outage. If you don’t already have a backup system in place, there’s no time like the present to get started. Read our blog post on choosing a backup strategy for more information on how to begin. If you have a backup strategy, keep reading to see if your plan is sufficient to properly restore your systems and applications in the event of a local disaster. Just because you regularly perform backups does not necessarily mean your systems will be properly restored when the time comes.

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2018 Hurricane Season Is Here – 50% of Businesses Are Unprepared

Tomorrow the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season begins, which will last through November 30. Last year was one of the most active hurricane seasons in history, with three of the costliest hurricanes to strike the U.S. hitting the coast in just one season. This year meteorologists predict there’s a 75% chance the season will be normal to above average. While stronger hurricanes appear to be becoming more frequent over the last decade, this year’s season is predicted to be calmer than last year’s. Meteorologists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict a range of ten to 16 named storms, including five to nine hurricanes, and one to four major hurricanes – category three strength – or higher this hurricane season. “With the advances made in hardware and computing over the course of the last year, the ability of NOAA scientists to both predict the path of storms and warn Americans who may find themselves in harm’s way is unprecedented,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

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Texas 2 Data Center Grand Opening a Success

Texas 2 UPS room

We were delighted to have around 100 guests join us as we officially celebrated the grand opening of our Texas 2 data center last Thursday evening. Everyone enjoyed poke, shrimp and grits, and a salsa and queso bar (in true Texas fashion) as well as tasty hors d’oeuvres. The majority of guests participated in guided tours of the data center and visited the data halls, mechanical plant, office space and learned about the facility’s redundant infrastructure and security features.

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Liability and IoT Devices – A Legal Can of Worms

IoT devices legal liability

As many cybersecurity professionals are aware, the Internet of Things (IoT) is proliferating without any established legal framework or regulatory guidelines. According to a Forbes article, the IoT market is expected to reach $457 billion by 2020, up from $157 billion in 2016. The interconnectivity of network-enabled devices makes the IoT a can of worms when it comes to legal liability. U.S. regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Commerce, the FTC, and the FCC are a long way from establishing clear standards for IoT devices. Could the business that owns a connected device be held responsible for carelessness in the event of a data breach or an attack, or does liability fall only to the manufacturer or the software provider?

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