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Gartner: Cloud management tools are lagging

Brandon Butler | June 3, 2015
Using the cloud is one thing, managing it is another.

The tools available for businesses to manage their use of Infrastructure as a Service  cloud computing services are not as mature as the public cloud services themselves, Gartner research director Mindy Cancila says.

The IaaS public cloud is ready for enterprise use; in Gartner's IaaS Magic Quadrant study research Vice President Lydia Leong said the cloud is a viable option for hosting any application that runs on an x86 server. But the management tools in the cloud market lag significantly behind the broader cloud market, Cancila says. And that could have drastic consequences for users. "Cloud deployments are set up for failure if you do not develop a management strategy up front," Cancila said during a webinar titled "Best Practices for Managing Public Cloud Services" today.

Cloud management is a complicated area. Each cloud user will have different management needs depending on what they're using the public cloud for. While many people ask What is the best cloud management tool?' instead Cancila says it's important for users to determine what cloud management features they need, and then find the best tool for the job.

Furthermore, the cloud management market is fragmented so no one tool will be a panacea. Instead, users need to determine what management tools they need and find the best provider for that.

Gartner has created a list of 150 cloud management features (it is available to Gartner clients) that can help users determine what functionality they need. They fall into four categories: Consumption & operations; administration & delivery; budget & optimization; and comparison & selection.

Users have many options of where to get cloud management tools. Leading cloud providers Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and others offer tools that are really good at managing their own platforms, for example but they're not good at managing competitors' clouds. There's a nascent market of cloud service brokers or CSBs (companies like RightScale, Cloudability, and Gravitant), which are mostly young companies looking to solve this problem; many of these have limited functionality though. Meanwhile the traditional management vendors (CA, CSC, BMC and others) are extending their tools from managing on-premises environments to incorporate cloud environments as well.

The need for these tools is paramount. Cancila referenced a customer who recently decided to commit fully to the public cloud and migrate most of the company's resources into AWS. The company budgeted $20,000 a month of spending on AWS's cloud and was on budget for months. Then, one month the company got a bill with 1,300 line items on it for $170,000, ranging from $0.01 to $20,000. The organization had no way of filtering which employees where using which resources and for what project within the business.


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