How to Choose High-End Cloud Management Tools Properly?
If you think the cloud is only about storing your favorite movies or books on a designated Google Drive account, you’ve probably missed a lot in the ever-evolving cloud computing world.
According to Flexera, 94% of companies in the US use the cloud. Gartner predicts that in 2023 the global end-user spending on applications and services in the cloud will reach $600 billion.
There are multiple reasons why cloud management tools are at the forefront of the latest technology trends. Being a secure, affordable, flexible and stable solution, it has become an indispensable attribute of effective organizational management strategy.
What is cloud management?
With a growing number of cloud applications leveraged within one company, there is a strong interest from the C-suite in finding trusted and stable solutions to maintain solid control over numerous products in the cloud, i.e. cloud management tools.
Cloud management means administering, controlling and maintaining private, public, or hybrid cloud and cloud computing products and services within an organization. A company’s cloud management strategy implies using various tools orchestrated by administrators who have access to the cloud data, are responsible for resource allocations, monitor the process and incorporate changes if needed.
Types of clouds
There are 4 key types of clouds that can be used by an organization:
1. Private cloud
A private cloud is an IT infrastructure developed for one enterprise or group of users.
Private clouds can be on a company’s or a service provider’s premises. The main idea behind a private cloud is to build a trustworthy, efficient and secured IT infrastructure. Private clouds often become an initial step in creating a hybrid cloud. Also, a private cloud can have a dedicated cloud in it. For instance, an HR department may have a different cloud within the company’s private cloud.
2. Public cloud
A public cloud is a cloud infrastructure used simultaneously by several companies or customers. This infrastructure is owned and managed by a service provider, and the most popular model of service for this type of cloud is IaaS (see the definition below). In the IaaS case, a service provider gives customers access to servers, SAN (Storage area network), network equipment, etc.
3. Hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud is an infrastructure with at least one public and one private cloud. A hybrid cloud allows using extended cloud capabilities for the best interest of an end user who can take advantage of the combination of solutions. Thus, a company or a service provider can have a balanced strategy for workflow management by migrating resources from a private cloud to a public one and vice versa, based on business preferences.
Multicloud is a cloud computing delivery method where an organization addresses several service providers, each providing various cloud management platform tools. Apart from the increased cost efficiency, such a strategy offers enhanced customization and reduced bottlenecks compared to a practice where one service provider manages a company’s cloud infrastructure.
Types of services in the cloud
There are also several models within the services provided in the cloud. Let’s take a closer look at the most popular ones.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is a cloud computing delivery model where users access and leverage the cloud applications through the Internet, i.e. via a web browser or specific software. It means that SaaS applications do not require downloads or installations. SaaS allows storing various files, exchanging data, and many other functions.
Among the most popular SaaS applications are Salesforce, Gmail, Dropbox, SAP Concur, and Amazon Web Services.
PaaS is a cloud computing delivery model that allows customers to access a cloud infrastructure to develop and manage various cloud applications. Just like creating macros in Excel, a developer can develop applications using in-built cloud components. Some cloud features, such as upscaling or multitenancy, included in PaaS, make coding easier for developers by allowing them to build customized applications.
Popular examples of PaaS applications are Windows Azure, OpenShift, SAP Cloud, Heroku.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is a cloud computing delivery model that gives users access to the complete infrastructure, including servers, OS, network systems and cloud storage for the enterprise. It is primarily relevant for developers, since the servers and other infrastructure components are given to the organization via APIs. So instead of physically maintaining data centers, a developer can use all the technologies and features to manage the data virtually and indirectly access it via a virtual data center.
Some widely-spread examples of IaaS are: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Cisco Metacloud, Google Compute Engine (GCE).
Cloud management tools and high-end cloud management tools: what’s the difference?
Based on a purpose, organizations may use various types of cloud management and high-end cloud management tools. The main difference between standard and high-end cloud management tools is that the latter provides enhanced self-remediation and self-recovery tools. It is often achieved through the automation of basic activities with zero to minimal human intervention.
Below are some critical functions of high-end cloud management tools.
Security management with high-end cloud management tools
Security management is a set of actions, measures and tactics that helps an organization prevent potential threats or vulnerabilities in the IT infrastructure while using cloud applications at their most.
There are several standard practices vital for a successful cloud security management strategy.
- Cloud applications’ analysis and checkup.
- Cloud data management.
- Security settings checkup and adjustment.
- Device management
- User access management
- Cloud activity reporting
When it comes to high-end cloud management tools, a number of actions in the list above can be automated and streamlined, e.g. cloud applications’ analysis and checkup, user access management, data discovery and categorization (data management), and more.
System failures automatically handled
System outages and slowdowns can be disastrous for an organization, especially regarding mission-critical applications. In this respect, DRaaS (Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service) is a service model that enables an organization to back up data and IT infrastructure after hacking attacks, system failures, or even disasters. It means that an organization can restore access to the IT infrastructure and its functionality by backing up its data in a third-party cloud computing environment. Thus, ‘as a service’ means a service provider can undertake the recovery processes.
DRaaS applications include Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, Zerto, Carbonite, and EKCO Disaster Recovery.
Systems with failover and self-healing capabilities
Going deeper into cloud management tools, it is worth mentioning that high-end systems often offer extended failover functions, such as:
- Enhanced notification mechanism
Based on IaC (Infrastructure as code), self-healing capabilities allow high-end cloud management tools to identify and prevent IT operations’ issues without human intervention, or automatically (so that physical hardware configuration tools are replaced with automated ones). The system constantly monitors the actual IT infrastructure’s state and compares it with the predefined conditions set by system administrators. A self-healing system makes necessary changes if something in the existing IT infrastructure differs from the predefined state.
These actions are typically enabled by the standard self-healing systems’ functionality: automated logging and monitoring with enhanced notification mechanisms and automated testing.
The central concept of a self-healing infrastructure is built around 4 whats:
- What are the processes of monitoring the IT infrastructure’s actual state in your company?
- What are your company’s standards regarding the comparison of the actual condition with a predefined set of standards?
- What remediates vulnerabilities or any other shifts from the standardized condition?
- What are your company’s actions to automate the remediation of the environment?
If you have clear answers to these four questions, you’re ready to build your custom self-healing environment with the help of trusted service providers and high-end cloud management tools.
Choosing among SaaS, IaaS and PaaS: what factors to consider
With various cloud management models and clouds, picking the one that is right for your business seems challenging. However, this routine may become much more effortless if you clearly understand your business operations’ specifics and priorities.
Below we’ve disclosed some specifics of an organization’s domain that can impact a top management’s decision when it comes to choosing a cloud service model.
Choose IaaS if your company’s key priorities are:
- Cost efficiency
If you want to cut server maintenance fees and license costs, and your company lacks the in-house talent to manage cloud infrastructure from day one, Infrastructure as a Service may become a good solution for your business.
- Big Data usage
IaaS has capabilities to store and process Big Data, which can be crucial if your business’s primary domain is trend analysis or innovative product development.
- Increased computing power
When it comes to IaaS, you can always increase computing capacity by changing the software or other equipment.
- Streamlined software development and testing
IaaS allows you to streamline your test environment deployment. Once your testing stage is over, you can roll up the unnecessary environments and reduce the costs.
Choose PaaS if your company’s key priorities are:
- Database transfer
PaaS allows having a ready-made data management system, where a service provider is responsible for all the backups.
- Container-based application development
PaaS tools have virtual containers with all the components required for successful application deployment.
- Machine Learning
PaaS tools offer enhanced ML capabilities, such as a face or audio recognition and analysis.
Choose SaaS if your company’s key priorities are:
- Reduced software installation time.
With SaaS, you can forget about hundreds of software waiting for their moment to be installed or updated. All the software is here at your fingertips in the cloud.
- Shared access to databases, applications or services
SaaS is a perfect solution for organizations where employees need to share access to corporate resources.
- Short-term projects
If you use specific software for a short time, a SaaS model may be a great solution for your company.
Just like AR or AI technologies are reshaping businesses today, cloud computing once radically rebuilt the tech industry by offering everything from innovative IT infrastructure to cloud platforms, software, and databases.
However, with rapidly spreading technology came new challenges and concerns. There is no standard answer to the ‘What cloud management tools to choose?’ question. As you can see, whether it’s a hundred or a thousand cloud applications owned by your organization, you should always make a decision on proper cloud management tools based on your company goals and strategy. Very often, this decision cannot be made without considering a specific industry your company works for – healthcare, banking, or IT – any field needs a customized solution.
Kanda’s in-depth cloud consulting services will help you set priorities and build scalable and stable solutions for your business. With our cloud readiness assessment, technology evaluation, POC development and migration services, you may stay confident about the future of your business in the cloud.
Talk to an expert and take your cloud journey to the next level, with Kanda!