It used to be that the enterprise was defined by the limits of its network infrastructure. In the cloud era, the enterprise will be defined by the limits of its management infrastructure.
Part of this is due to the fact that both the cloud and increasing portions of legacy environments are built on the virtual layer. Once you've gone virtual, physical location is no longer important - you're in charge as long as you control the virtual image.
Of course, it would be nice to be able to exert this control from a single management plane, so that no matter where your applications and data are flung you can manage them in like fashion.
Fortunately, the options for virtual resource management are growing just as cloud systems are starting to diversify. RightScale has confronted this reality by noting that 87 percent of its customers' computing power is derived from more than one cloud provider across multiple levels of public, private and hybrid clouds. The company has responded by building universal access and transparency across its myCloud platform. Through the RightScale Dashboard and API set, the company aims to provide a "universal remote" that boosts application performance and lowers costs across distributed architectures.
Other firms like ScaleXtreme are looking to provide universal management without specialized APIs or network configurations. The company's SaaS-based server management and automation system utilizes Java-based agents that exist on local physical servers and in cloud environments, offering a single management system across public, private and traditional data center infrastructure. They've also thrown in a new mobile application that delivers basic monitoring data, although not full access to the ScaleXtreme platform, to the iPhone.
Managing the cloud through mobile infrastructure is one thing, but managing mobile infrastructure through the cloud is quite another - in fact, it's a lot better. As Forbes' Maribel Lopez points out, the cloud has a number of advantages when it comes to full mobility management, not just management of mobile devices. Among them are the ability to deploy and update management stacks within hours and incorporate a variety of client operating systems as mobile environments become more diversified.
Ideally, cloud-based management should provide the same functionality as the traditional systems that enterprises have come to depend on. Infor has put that requirement front and center with its Infor10 EAM Enterprise platform, offering essentially the company's on-premises software in its own hosted environment. The cloud version reduces maintenance and upgrade costs and provides for easier integration and improved workflow with third-party management applications.