Software to Help the Enterprise Discover the Cloud

    In a hybrid cloud environment, the tracking of digital assets becomes more of a challenge, not just because infrastructure is distributed across multiple providers but because of the myriad systems and architectures that data encounters as well.

    This is why many organizations are turning to third-party visibility and discovery solutions that promise to shed light on the highly diverse ecosystem that, in many cases, is evolving on its own as business leaders and increasingly intelligent applications take on more responsibility for provisioning their own resources.

    Multiple discovery platforms have already entered the channel, which gives the enterprise an opportunity to establish broad visibility while hybrid cloud deployments are in their nascent stages. But it can nonetheless be a challenge to determine exactly what needs to be visible and what lies beyond the scope of the enterprise’s operational concerns.

    One of the newest solutions is Nlyte’s Discovery system, the latest addition to the company’s broader DCIM portfolio. The solution is designed to provide detailed information on key elements in heterogeneous infrastructure environments, allowing users to visualize hardware configurations and pertinent information regarding services, processes and applications. This makes it easier to maintain resource efficiency by identifying and shutting down idle systems while also providing continuous updates regarding firmware patches and other updates to enhance security and functionality.

    Meanwhile, BMC is out with a new multi-cloud discovery tool that provides a dynamic view of distributed architectures to improve data operations between internal and external clouds. The software provides both asset discovery and dependency modeling, which gives enterprises the ability to keep track of highly dynamic environments through improved change management and high-speed data collection. As well, it provides greater root-cause analysis for faster recovery times and more effective ticket prioritization to target issues that directly affect business outcomes.

    Since most cloud deployments comprise either IaaS or SaaS architectures, maintaining insight into these deployments is becoming a priority. Sweden’s Snow Software includes usage and cost-control tools for infrastructure- and application-level services in its new Snow Cloud Discovery solution, which helps organizations control data flows between cloud, on-premises and mobile environments. The system provides automatic discovery of SaaS applications, virtual machine deployments and licensing data, as well as a consolidated view of applications, environments and devices throughout the enterprise. At the same time, it provides automated optimization functions, such as the ability to identify, downgrade or reassign duplicate or unused SaaS subscriptions and virtual machines.

    And with Amazon being the world’s leading cloud provider, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there is software out there designed to pull back some of the curtain on its operations. California’s BDNA is out with a new Cloud Asset Insights system that enables discovery and normalization of software assets deployed on EC2. The program provides data on the resources within an EC2 instance, as well as the instance itself, which can then be used to reduce operational costs and simplify management processes. This data can also be combined with market intelligence to enhance business opportunities and guide further deployments.

    Managing cloud resources requires a more nuanced view of data operations than is needed for traditional IT infrastructure. In the cloud, application-layer performance takes precedence over underlying physical or even virtual attributes since it is a relatively simple matter of shifting apps to new resources should existing ones prove inadequate.

    But this does not mean the enterprise should be blind to the inner workings of the cloud. When good money is being spent on vital assets, there should be an implicit understanding that the customer has a right to see what is going on out there.

    If your cloud provider does not agree, perhaps it’s time to find a new provider.

    Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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