Analyst firm Gartner is pointing the finger at cloud management tools suggesting that “the tools available for businesses to manage their use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing services are not as mature as the public cloud services themselves,” according to a Network World article.
On one hand the analyst firm suggests that the IaaS is ready for enterprise use, but on the other that the management tools are not fit for purpose and could have drastic consequences for users. Gartner research director Mindy Cancila said, “Cloud deployments are set up for failure if you do not develop a management strategy up front.”
The reason each business moves to the cloud is different and as a result, the cloud management layer needs to be different to support the unique needs. And while the article suggests that because “the cloud management market is fragmented, no one tool will be a panacea,” we believe that there are certain functionalities that needs to be considered so organizations find the best cloud service provider combined with a layer of customization.
Self-Service with an Easy UI
First, what do you really want from your cloud? In our experience, businesses want the ability to self-serve their own cloud resources. They also want to do so easily. Cloud service providers cannot merely focus on solving problems by offering complex features and functionality for customers to self-serve. The buyers of cloud services are changing from IT to different departments throughout a company, and they’re using every day apps from the consumer market, where the high competition has made user experience an important differentiator. That’s why it’s required for cloud service providers to provide an intuitive and guided user experience for a seamless consumption of their service.
Integrated Metering and Billing
Businesses also do not want complicated billing. They want to pay for what they use, when they use it. And they also want to sign up to different packages based on their needs. A cloud management solution needs the functionality to do this, while also ensuring that the billing function easily integrates with other solutions offered via the user interface.
Customers also want choice – choice in hypervisor, different storage types, what third party functionality is used. A cloud management solution must give customers these choices.
It isn’t enough just to say you offer scalable cloud, you must truly deliver it to the customer. You need a scalable software architecture to ensure the support of locally and geographically scalable hardware topologies.
There is a laundry list of functions we could go through, but at the end of the day, customers want to be empowered by their cloud provider. This requires the ability for them to build their own servers, configure them, deploy them, select the resource they need, when they need it and be agile and respond instantly to changing business demand. No small feat!!
The Network World article also called attention to multi-cloud management suggesting that:
“cloud vendors do not necessarily have an incentive to allow customers to manage competitors’ clouds. And the lack of standards across the cloud management industry makes the job of cloud service brokers difficult for managing resources across multiple clouds. Cancila says it’s imperative that users have a targeted vision of what functionality they need most and find the best tools on the market to satisfy that use case.”
Here we suggest cloud providers look to not only the cloud management layer, but also the multi-cloud management tools available. Because with enterprise organizations making use of more than one cloud, the ability to maintain the customer relationship becomes much harder. If you can offer a centralized solution for managing applications across multiple clouds, that becomes a differentiator.
There is a lot of cloud consumption happening so more than enough opportunity to go around. And needs are different for each organization. Is cloud management lagging? Maybe, depending on what solution a cloud provider is using, but it needn’t be.
If you built your own cloud management solution or got to market with a solution that is no longer fit for purpose, it is time to look at Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator. Flexiant is the only cloud orchestration solution that gives you a complete package from day one that you can extend based on the needs of your business. A mature product, you won’t be put into the lagging box – instead you’ll have the full breath of functionality needed to support the growing and demanding cloud market.
We invite you to take a tour of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator to see how our cloud orchestration solution can help you. You do not need to be a vendor that lags in the management space, you can be better.