Cloud Management Platform | When is it needed and why? | Parallels RAS

Cloud management platform

The continued ascent and evolution of cloud computing has paved the way for a handful of solutions. One of these solutions is the Cloud Management Platform or CMP.  

 

As the name suggests, CMP is a suite of integrated products that manages, monitors, and controls public, private, and hybrid cloud environmentsCMP includes products like provision system images, self service interfaces, external enterprise management systems, metering and billing services, and workload optimization services. The features of CMP vary from vendor to vendor, but most vendors generally deliver it as software as a service model or as on-premise applications. The question here is, why exactly is it gaining popularity? 

Characteristics of a Cloud Management Platform

The cloud management platform space is still evolving. But while it’s almost as if each CMP is designed to address a unique set of problems, they certainly have some common characteristics. Most CMPs allow you to manage at least one of these items in your cloud infrastructure: costs, security, and operations.

Cloud management platforms with cost management capabilities usually enable cloud admins to: rightsize resource (CPU, storage, memory, I/O) consumptions with actual workloads, perform budgeting, deal with allocations and chargebacks, and set up monitors and alerts. These CMPs help organizations avoid wastages, streamline consumption, and optimize spending.

CMPs with security capabilities, on the other hand, help admins identify and fix infrastructure vulnerabilities; meet compliance requirements; perform risk assessment and auditing; carry out threat protection, containment and remediation; and configure/generate reports and monitors. These types of platforms are often also used by security analysts.

Last but not the least, cloud management platforms with operations-focused capabilities usually enable admins to automate routinary tasks, set up automated actions that respond to certain triggers or events, set up performance/health checks, orchestrate the cloud infrastructure and services, carry out various analytics, create templates for provisioning, and optimize workloads.

All of these platforms typically have a self-service portal where admins can login and perform the various functions mentioned earlier from a single pane of glass. It’s also from this same interface where admins can view various metrics, visualizations, and reports in order to gain insight about the health, efficiency, and security of the cloud infrastructure.

Evaluation criteria

Most CMPs are still evolving and performing the same core functions. However, they differ in design philosophies and the specific environments they operate. As such, you’re unlikely to find a “one-size-fits-all” cloud solution. For this reason, you should analyze your organization’s overall strategy and pursue a CMP that has a consistent approach as yours.

When evaluating CMPs, you should consider the following:

1. Technology and architecture requirements

Managing applications can be repetitive and tedious, especially in large and diverse cloud environments. Deploying a CMP with the appropriate technology and architecture can help you promote your bottom line. Your evaluation should incorporate the following:

2. Operation requirements

When it comes to operations, you should consider the following:

What are the platform’s hosting environment requirements? Some providers offer CMPs for on-site cloud deployments while others may deploy them to the customers within a cloud service. The option you choose impacts network connectivity, skill requirements, and total cost of ownership (TCO).

3. Business requirements

When mapping out business requirements, you should consider:

Why does a business need a Cloud Management Platform?

Among the benefits of having a CMP are:

  1. Simplified IT management: A combination of public, private, and hybrid clouds can increasingly become more complex, even as organizations add more to the mix. With A CMP, order can be brought to the chaos, allowing your clouds to be viewed as part of a comprehensive whole. In the process, gridlocks are identified, solutions posed, efficiencies realized, and managers able to make informed decisions regarding your cloud infrastructure.
  2. Optimal use of resources: With several clouds in an organization, IT staff manages more resources. However, it does not follow that these resources are efficiently used. A CMP’s centralized dashboard can help identify those resources that are not fully utilized, allowing them to be allocated to where they are most useful. Workloads can also be shifted to under-utilized resources.
  3. More secure cloud infrastructure: Security may be unevenly applied across your clouds. For example, while one cloud can secure personally identifiable information (PII) from prying eyes, another may not. With a CMP, common security practices can be applied across the entire infrastructure, helping identify which clouds need to be more secure and allowing improvements to be applied accordingly. Standards compliance is thus strengthened.
  4. Improved performance and quality of service: Service degradation may happen when clouds are not acting perfectly in sync with each other. Performance and quality of service suffer as a result. Organizations can prevent this from happening with a CMP that is able to identify sources of and proactively prevent potential breakdown.

Suitable for single and multi-cloud infrastructures

A cloud management platform can also be used to manage a single cloud infrastructure. However, that’s not where you’ll get a good return on investment (ROI) from a CMP investment. For example, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, all have their management consoles, which can be used in conjunction with a CMP to improve VMs and resource management.

Main drivers: hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures

Who else is still using just one cloud? According to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, 87% of enterprises currently adopt a hybrid cloud strategyThe same report also indicates that organizations use an average of 2.2 public clouds and 2.2 private clouds. Hybrid cloud initiatives, which involve a mix of one or more public and private clouds, are replacing cloud strategies that rely on just a single CSP or datacenter — a trend that bodes well for CMPs.  

A CMP makes it easier for a cloud admin to manage different clouds in a hybrid cloud environment. Instead of having to shift from one console to the next, admins can just stick to one console and get all the information or perform all the tasks he/she needs, like:  

Parallels RAS works as a Cloud Management Platform

When embarking on a hybrid cloud project, it is best to pick solutions that already support hybrid cloud deployments. Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS), the top pick for companies looking for a virtual application and desktop delivery solution, is a perfect fit in such scenarios.

Parallels RAS can be deployed on both popular public clouds like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as on private, on-premises, and, at the same time, in a hybrid cloud deployment model.

Download the Parallels RAS trial and experience the benefits of hybrid clouds through an affordable and easy-to-use solution. 


References

Flexera | https://www.flexera.com/blog/industry-trends/trend-of-cloud-computing-2020/

Cloud Management Platform | https://www.omg.org/cloud/deliverables/CSCC-Practical-Guide-to-Cloud-Management-Platforms.pdf

TechTarget | https://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/Cloud-management-platform

Wired | https://www.wired.com/insights/2012/11/six-must-have-cloud-management-features/

Red Hat | https://youtu.be/2aNb-PRa8jw (video)

Parallels Cloud Deployments| https://www.parallels.com/products/ras/resources/cloud-deployment-models/