Cloud Management, Front and Center

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Cloud Computing Starts to Mature

The emphasis in the cloud is shifting from public to private cloud computing deployments.

For all the talk about the cloud altering information technology in ways never seen before, there is a striking commonality between the enterprise's approach to the cloud and to infrastructure developments of the past: The first instinct is to get it up and running followed by belated attempts to monitor and manage it.

Unfortunately, too many organizations envision the cloud merely as an extension of existing resources, and therefore subject to the same management infrastructure. But as tech writer Anne Lee points out, the dynamism of cloud environments can quickly overwhelm legacy management stacks, which are often built around the idea of dedicated system relationships and architecture constructs. With virtual and cloud instances coming and going to the tune of 100 per day in some organizations, the last thing you can rely on is a management system that requires a full reboot every time it needs to acknowledge new settings.

On the bright side, a number of new cloud-ready management systems are hitting the channel. FireScope recently introduced the FireScope Stratis system, which the company described as an IaaS-based, elastic management platform capable of aligning the entire IT stack with the services being provided and the users who consume them. The package contains a number of Web, application and storage components to provide continuous, real-time evaluation of load and performance parameters of individual IT layers, and then self-adjust resources to optimize performance. A universal edge device provides localized discovery and data collection and provides for rapid expansion into new data locations.

At the same time, ASG Software is shipping an update to its CloudFactory management stack featuring a new Amazon-style user interface and stronger ties to the company's Enterprise Automation Management Suite (EAMS) and IT Service Management platforms. The package provides integrated dashboards for personalized views of hybrid cloud environments, as well as automated redeployment of resources to meet changing needs. It also enables IaaS environments through an orchestration module that supports all leading hypervisors.

The need for cloud-optimized management platforms is not lost on the old guard of IT technology, either. Witness IBM's recent acquisition of Platform Computing, which specializes in management solutions for distributed architectures. While PC focused largely on computing modeling, analytics and other HPC applications, expectations are that the technology will be equally at home in high-end enterprise settings where it can be geared toward application acceleration and infrastructure management.

With cloud resources available to business units at virtually the touch of a button, IT is already at pains to maintain control over increasingly divergent resource sets. More than ever, then, the need for a strong management regime is at the outset of cloud deployments, not after the fact.

The tools are available now, so there's no reason to put off the evaluation process and their eventual integration into, or replacement of, existing management infrastructure.