With all the hype surrounding the cloud, it is easy to see why service providers are scrambling to move away from regular dedicated and shared hosting to offering true infrastructure-as-a-service cloud capabilities. Customers increasingly demand the ability to self-manage their hosted infrastructure; to be able to scale up and down on-demand, depending on workload; and to be able to pay by-the-hour. Enterprises are also increasingly implementing private clouds that exhibit the same characteristics. It is, however, extremely complex building an infrastructure that can offer those capabilities. Cloud management software may offer a solution.
People often think of virtualized infrastructure – i.e. virtual machines sitting on hypervisors such as VMware, Microsoft (News - Alert) HyperV, Xen or KVM, as a cloud. However – in order to deliver a true cloud service, you need automation, user management, billing, and customer-facing user interfaces. This is where Cloud Management Software comes in.
Cloud Management Software manages the complete lifecycle of Virtual Machines – from creation through to deletion, and provides APIs and user interfaces that make it possible to control the processes. Some Cloud Management Software is even able to provide granular billing information, together with interfaces to common billing systems to allow services to be billed by the hour, GB of RAM (News - Alert) or IOPS.
To make the most of your cloud management software strategies, you generally need to combine a number of different tasks, such as security, performance monitoring (latency, response time, uptime, etc.), compliance auditing, the initiation and oversight of contingency and disaster recovery plans and overall management.
As cloud computing continues to grow more complex and the industry offers more public, hybrid and public-based cloud systems and infrastructures, it’s becomes increasingly critical that all organizations put a cloud management software strategy in place that is both scalable and flexible.
It is important for Service Providers to note that when serving customers in a recurring revenue model, the service provider must constantly strive to exceed customer expectations, or run the risk of losing customers to the competition.
A key element for the service provider is the fact that this solution enables an effective competitive edge against Amazon Web Services (News - Alert). Customers demand the same capabilities offered by Amazon, but may not want to be locked in with a large-scale provider. With cloud management software, the service provider can more readily meet this need, while also creating a growing a loyal customer base.
As many public and private data centers are giving up on trying to build their clouds from scratch, and instead searching for innovative solutions they can buy off the shelf to address the characteristics and requirements of cloud computing, the service provider that has opted to implement cloud management software will rise to the top.
Edited by Jamie Epstein