October 14, 2021

What is cloud management? Everything you need to know

It’s about giving admins the ability to access the resources they need, automate those processes that they want to, and make adjustments as needed, while also monitoring usage and cost. It’s also how admins maintain flexibility and scalability, while being able to adapt quickly when things change.

What is cloud management?

Cloud management tools help admins oversee all types of cloud (public cloud, private cloud, hybrid and multi-cloud) and cloud activities, from resource deployment and use tracking to data integration, Kubernetes, and disaster recovery. They provide administrative control over the infrastructure, platforms, applications, cloud provider and cloud service provider resources, and data that—together—create a cloud. Cloud management is how administrators control—and orchestrate—all the products and services that operate in a cloud: the users and access control, data, applications, and services.

Cloud management can also help organizations achieve three goals:

Self-service refers to the flexibility achieved when IT pros access cloud resources, create new ones, monitor usage and cost, and adjust resource allocations.
Workflow automation lets operations teams manage cloud instances without human intervention.
Cloud analysis helps track cloud workloads and user experiences.

Without a competent IT staff in place, it’s difficult for any cloud management strategy to succeed. These individuals must possess knowledge of the proper tools and best practices while they keep in mind the cloud management goals of the business.

What is cloud management

Why is cloud management important?

Companies are more likely to improve cloud computing performance, reliability, cost containment and environmental sustainability when they adhere to tried-and-true cloud optimization practices.

There are many ways to approach cloud management, and they are ideally implemented in concert. Cost-monitoring tools can help IT shops navigate complex vendor pricing models. Applications run more efficiently when they use performance optimization tools and with architectures designed with proven methodologies. Many of these tools and strategies dovetail with environmentally sustainable architectural strategies to lower energy consumption. Cloud management decisions must ultimately hinge on individual corporate priorities and objectives, as there is no single approach.

How does cloud management work?

Cloud management software is typically deployed into existing cloud environments as a virtual machine (VM) that contains a database and a server. The server communicates with application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect the database and virtual, cloud, or container-based resources holding up—and interacting within—the cloud. The database collects information on how the virtual or cloud infrastructure is performing and sends analyses to a web interface where cloud admins can visualize and analyze cloud performance. Admins can also relay commands back to the cloud, which is carried out by the virtual server.

All that interconnectivity relies on perhaps the most overlooked technology of all: the operating system (OS). The operating system not only commands all the different technologies that makeup clouds, but it also deploys your cloud management tools. That operating system needs to work with whatever cloud you use—no matter how unique it is—which is why many cloud-based operating systems are open source, like Linux®.

What is cloud management

Cloud management is not cloud computing

Clouds provide the rules and cloud management carries them out. Clouds are pools of virtual resources, storage, applications, and services that are managed by software so the resources can be accessed on-demand. Cloud management is a combination of software, automation, policies, governance, and people that determine how those cloud computing services are made available.

What a cloud management platform should do

Integrate with existing IT

A cloud management platform (CMP) must be customized to your needs: it must meet the requirements of the operating system, apps, provisioning, cloud security, storage frameworks, standard operating environments (SOEs), and whatever else is running in the cloud. They should also be flexible and able to adapt to change quickly.

Automate manual tasks

Automation removes manual human interaction from as many everyday tasks and workflows as possible, which has the dual advantage of increasing efficiency and decreasing errors. Automation lifts a huge burden for cloud computing and is vital to any cloud management platform.

Visualize costs

It’s easy to use cloud services, so it’s very easy to use more than you can afford. A cloud management platform should provide accurate cost management, forecasting, and reporting.

Be accessible through the internet

Like the resources, data, and processing power of your cloud, your cloud management tools should be accessible by the admin regardless of where he or she—or the infrastructure—is.

Support hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments

By necessity, an enterprise’s future is filled with all types of clouds: private, public, and hybrid. Every cloud management platform should be able to support all types of cloud smoothly and securely across multiple environments.

Manage everything

This may seem like a given, but self-service capabilities are vital to any cloud management platform in order to stay flexible and adaptable in the face of frequent changes and updates. It should maintain control over everything, while policies guide user access to resources, configurations, and capacity. Orchestration of the entire infrastructure—on-premises—virtual, data centres, etc.—throughout the lifecycle is essential.

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