August 10, 2022

Cloud adoption is no longer a question to be analyzed with opinions and reviews in 2021. Real utilization has expanded within mainstream business, with the technology rapidly developing.  

With the increased use of hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures in enterprises, workloads are being run across multiple environments, making it difficult to optimize, automate or manage them. This is where a cloud management platform comes in. Cloud management platforms (CMPs) provide a means for a cloud service customer to deal with the deployment and operation of applications and related datasets across different cloud administration frameworks, including both on-premises cloud foundation and public cloud service provider framework. In other words, CMPs provide management capabilities for hybrid cloud environments. Microsoft Azure is one such complex hybrid platform that is preferred by businesses. Learn more about Azure Consulting Services

What is a Cloud Management Platform (CMP)? 

A CMP is a solution or tool suite that assists an association with overseeing and optimizing their cloud framework and tasks for cost, speed, security, scale, and reliability. Gartner defines it as follows: 

“Cloud management platforms are integrated products that provide for the management of public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. The minimum requirements to be included in this category are products that incorporate self-service interfaces, enable metering, provision system images, and billing, and provide for some degree of workload optimization through established policies.” 

Functions of a Cloud Management Platform 

The CMP plays a fundamental part in simplifying management, visibility, and streamlining the usage of resources in a multi-cloud environment. The goal of this segment is to feature the core functional abilities expected to accomplish this objective. These core capabilities are represented by four classifications: General; Financial Management; Service Management and Resource Management. Effective and proficient management of hybrid cloud environments requires rich CMP ability in each area. 

Integration – CMPs should integrate with internal and external frameworks to oversee multi-cloud services. The ability to help both distributed APIs and accommodate customization, if necessary, is a critical capability. An absence of flexible integration may restrict the organization’s ability to use existing systems.  

The key areas of integration include: 

  • On-premises private cloud 
  • CSP-hosted private cloud 
  • Public cloud service 
  • Enterprise management 
  • Service automation 

General Services - A flexible foundation is needed to enable integration, give feedback to users, and provide for self-service. The capabilities needed to establish the foundation include: 

  • Portal 
  • Service Catalog 
  • Analytics and Reporting 

Service Management – Service management involves working on service requests and managing resources to guarantee business administration levels are accomplished. 

Financial Management - Automating cloud resource utilization tracking and spend is a basic CMP capability. Exact and accurate, real-time analysis and reporting along with predictive analytics are needed to contain cost.    

Resource Management - A CMP must provide visibility to cloud resource management of virtual resources (server, application, storage, and network) and deliver services on-demand when required. 

Governance – Hybrid cloud services must be managed following organization policies.  

Security – The security of hybrid cloud services must be managed following company policies. Security capabilities incorporate: 

  • Encryption Management – The CMP should incorporate capabilities to deal with the utilization of encryption in the target cloud services. 
  • Identity and Access Management – Role-based access control is fundamental for CMP platforms. The tools should be equipped for characterizing privileges for all roles including end clients, developers, cloud administrators, and managers. 

Why Do Businesses Need a Cloud Management Platform? 

In the early days of public cloud, migration to the cloud was viewed as the greatest challenge ahead of the eternal bliss of cost savings, adaptability, scalability, and all the other things that cloud computing had to offer. A decade later, it is now learned that the cloud needs legitimate technique and management to be profitable. 

Lack of skills, expertise, and knowledge on the cloud is a challenge. Managing applications include a lot of repetitive tasks, particularly for large environments. All this combined with escalating cloud costs because of a mix of lack of visibility and a tendency to over-provision makes CIOs work a tough one. Here lies the significance of a Cloud Management Platform or CMP. 

Evaluation Criteria When Selecting a Cloud Management Platform  

While numerous CMPs perform a similar set of core functions, they often started from different design philosophies and framed their foundations with explicit private or public cloud environments as a main priority. Over time they advanced to their present state as the market developed and their clients stressed the development of specific features of importance to them. 

You must evaluate a CMP offering within the context of the current and target working environment along with a reasonable perspective on business goals and technical prerequisites. Since cloud management platforms and cloud services are still advancing, it may be optimistic to expect that a perfect arrangement exists for all enterprises. 

For simplicity, the evaluation criteria have been grouped into the following broad categories: 

• Technology and architecture criteria 

• Business and acquisition criteria 

• Operational criteria 

Listed below are the top 10 considerations I’d suggest while choosing the right CMP. 

  • Does it cover all four pillars of cloud success like cost, DR, security, and performance? 
  • The depth of usage visibility and granularity of governance. 
  • How long is the learning curve? Shorter the better. 
  • Robustness of out-of-the-box runbook automation. 
  • How fast does it detect open ports or security leaks in cloud infrastructure? 
  • Is it intelligent enough to understand when an unnecessary resource is launched? 
  • How actionable and customizable are the reports? 
  • Professional services & Support availability. 
  • Reviews and ratings by peers or independent platforms. 
  • Integration with other tools and dashboards. 

Conclusion 

Choosing the right vendor and platform for dealing with today’s hybrid and multi-cloud environments brings down to more than just technical capabilities. The market is in a consistent condition of consolidation and flux. CIOs and CTOs need to completely understand the role of the CMP within the cloud environment and its incorporation with other different tools in the ecosystem. This helps set appropriate expectations, characterize current and future use cases following vital targets, distinguishing risks early, steadily upgrading capabilities, improving operational readiness, and continuously optimizing cloud costs.