Features to Look for in an Efficient Hybrid Cloud Management Platform 

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Features to Look for in an Efficient Hybrid Cloud Management Platform 

The plethora of options around selecting a cloud management platform has made it more complicated to select the right system for an enterprise. Making the right decision is critical to the success of any organization’s hybrid cloud endeavor. While some features are important for certain portions of their journey, others are universally essential. Enterprises using a CMP solution should evaluate them first in terms of features that are essential for all platforms and then look for specific complementary features as a second step. So, what are considered universal needs and specific needs? This eWEEK slide show outlines this two-step process utilizing industry information from VMware Senior Director of Product Marketing Mahesh Kumar.

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Universal: Consumption Layer  

Users must have efficient access to infrastructure and services, through a self-service catalog or by exposing APIs that can be consumed easily. This, in turn, can be invaluable in promoting DevOps best practices, which many digital enterprises are now using. 

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Universal: Infrastructure and Application Delivery 

The best CMPs enable users to programmatically define both simple and complex infrastructure and application stacks, using the notion of “infrastructure as code.” In 2015, 64 percent of selected enterprise decision makers identified the update and modernization of applications as at least a high priority. Users should be able to deliver different services and resources for various applications, cloud-native or traditional. 

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Specific: Automation  

While automation can be useful, it is not required for all customers. It is only truly helpful after reaching a certain scale—for example, 300 to 500 virtual machines or in environments where frequency of change is high, requiring a certain service-level agreement. Its usefulness is also contingent on the range of workflow elements present and an environment’s complexity. 

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Universal: Governance  

Cloud environments must be organized and regimented based on particular business requirements. Organizations are required to govern user identity and access, entitlements, permissions, quotas, notifications and approvals when managing tenants and resource pools in a modern cloud ecosystem. Roughly 25 percent of global infrastructure technology decision makers leave these decisions to developers, according to Forrester. 

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Universal: Operations 

The cloud’s value comes from service optimization through leveraging operations, a broad—and essential—category of functions. CMP users must be able to manage performance, capacity and workload placements for provisioned environments; comprehend the different costs across user groups and cloud environments (public or private); and manage across those environments.  

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Specific: Self-Service Portal 

In organizations requiring strict IT governance, a CMP with a self-service portal is a requirement. IT will use it to handle all incoming requests and dispense resources and services as needed. However, a self-service portal may not be high on the priorities list for other organizations.

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Universal: Seamless Movement Across Environments 

Organizations need CMPs that support multi-cloud environments. Cloud platform adoption is at 30 percent and “growing rapidly for all cloud deployment models” according to a Forrester report, so moving between different vendor cloud ecosystems cannot remain an obstacle; support for multiple vendors is a necessity. 

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Universal: Extensibility   

CMPs should support future growth and tool integration for cloud environments. This includes Day 1 support for tool integration across IT service management and DevOps ecosystems, tools leveraging APIs, frameworks and software development kits and support for OpenStack-based environments. Organizations should consider out-of-the-box content that allows for this extensibility and connectivity to other systems.

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Specific: Cloud Consumption Costing, Metering and Monitoring Capabilities  

A variety of monitoring and cost analysis tools are available with different CMP options. There is no one size that will fit all. For example, cloud consumption costing and metering will be more important for larger organizations with a well-defined showback and chargeback practice, while new cloud adopters will need cloud cost-comparison tools. 

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Effective CMPs Have Several Broad Traits

The optimal CMP will have several broad, qualitative traits, including technology breadth, future-proofing and vendor viability. While these aren’t considered particular tool sets or feature, they should be considered seriously when evaluating a CMP. 

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