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RightScale Adds Network Management to Cloud Suite

The Network Manager feature in the RightScale Cloud Management lineup enables businesses to manage networking resources in multiple cloud infrastructures.

RightScale, which offers a range of cloud management capabilities, is expanding the cloud resources it can manage to the networking environment.

The company on Sept. 18 launched Network Manager, designed to make it easier for businesses and partners to manage cloud networking resources and to more easily secure both public and private cloud networking. Network Manager is a new capability within RightScale’s Cloud Management portfolio.

With Network Manager, RightScale officials said the company now offers customers a platform to manage compute, storage and network resources across a range of cloud technologies from a single point, making it easier for businesses to find the right cloud environment—public, private or hybrid—that fits their needs. Given the varying cloud options out there, having a management portfolio that can handle them is important, according to Josep Blanquer, chief architect at RightScale.

“Every cloud provider builds into its platform the settings and designs that it thinks its customers will want to use,” Blanquer wrote in a post on the company blog. “Because all the networking resources are different from one cloud provider to another—as are the names and behaviors of the resources and the APIs through which they are delivered—it can be difficult to get started quickly. Private cloud platforms may also differ depending on how they are deployed—you can configure OpenStack or CloudStack, for instance, in many different ways at installation time. In addition, providers change APIs and introduce new resources all the time.”

In his blog, he compared what’s offered in Amazon Web Services’ EC2, Google’s Compute Engine and OpenStack to illustrate the differences. Having such a variety of options gives businesses the ability to choose the right cloud infrastructure for them, but can mean having to learn how to manage each feature from each cloud provider at the API level, Blanquer wrote. Instead, RightScale’s Cloud Management suite abstracts that requirement, he said.

Network Manager abstracts virtual network resources—including those in software-defined networks (SDNs)—across cloud providers via a common user interface and API to access the resources. It also includes Network Map, which enables businesses to better understand the network topologies and to improve cloud security through an interactive visualization tool.

Data center infrastructures—particularly servers and storage—have become more virtulized and easier to deploy, program, scale and manage, which is becoming increasingly important with the growth of such trends as cloud computing, big data and greater mobility. By contrast, networking has remained a technology still primarily programmed and managed by hand. Technologies like SDN are designed to change that by taking network intelligence from the hardware and putting it into software.

RightScale’s Network Manager is available now in the company’s United Cloud Platform offering. It’s currently available for Amazon Web Services, with support for additional cloud platforms coming later this year. Network Map currently is in alpha testing.