As the implications of cloud computing become more apparent in terms of how managers should think about organizing IT, many managers are starting to figure out that they need a more holistic framework for managing the cloud.
The trouble is that there are very few end-to-end frameworks for managing cloud computing. There is no shortage of point products, but all of them tend to have different application programming interfaces and user interfaces. Obviously, we'll soon see a lot of new management platforms for managing the cloud, so the race is on in the vendor community to be among the first to provide such a framework.
One of the earlier entrants in this race is ASG Software Solutions, which just started shipping Cloud Factory, a suite of management tools that IT organizations can use to manage public and private cloud computing deployments. According to Thomas Gierich, ASG Software Solutions senior vice president of sales for EMEA, Cloud Factory was built from the ground up to automate most of the functions associated with managing a cloud, including provisioning, integration, workflow and as a management dashboard. In contrast, Gierich says other companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard and others are merely cobbling together legacy IT management tools for the cloud.
To what degree vendors are "cloudwashing" existing tools for cloud computing is difficult to assess. The one thing that is for certain is that far too many IT organizations have relied on custom scripts to manage IT that simply won't scale in the era of the cloud. That makes it almost certain that as IT organizations move to the cloud they will be looking for new IT management frameworks, while at the same time reorganizing the IT department along lines that allow a single administrator to manage thousands of virtual and physical servers.
Unfortunately, far too many IT organizations will opt to step gingerly into the cloud era, which is going to lead to a lot of trial and error. They would be far better off taking a giant step back to come up with a strategic three-year plan that starts with how they plan to manage the cloud. Anything short of that is more than likely asking for some serious trouble once their cloud computing implementation starts to actually scale beyond their control.