Enterprises are increasingly focusing on cloud management by leveraging cloud services to accelerate business agility that optimizes their total investments in running and operating IT assets. The public platform cloud leaders are AWS, Microsoft, Salesforce and Google. Each offer a wide range of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS capabilities.
Some of these vendors are aggressively building datacenters in strategic regions around the world to meet performance needs of application users throughout this digital transformation. As enterprises look to move workloads to the cloud, there are a number of options to consider when focusing on infrastructure management. The choices range from lift and shift to re-platforming applications. An enterprise can also embrace SaaS alternatives for popular on-prem COTS software like productivity, collaboration, CRM tools and the like.
IaaS is the access ramp to the cloud. Most enterprises today find it easier to lift on-prem virtualized workloads and shift them to the cloud while moving up their cloud transformation maturity curve. Subsequently as their IT refresh cycle approaches the opportunities to re-architect to cloud native applications will present themselves at which point they will be positioned to leverage PaaS.
While the IaaS offerings across vendors are mostly commoditized and undifferentiated, differentiated capabilities are primarily driven by geographical presence and scale, go-to-market models, and breadth of PaaS/SaaS service catalogs. For example, Google Cloud has fewer datacenters than AWS and Azure, across the world but has arguably more sophisticated capabilities with regards to Artificial Intelligence, machine learning algorithms and running big data workloads.
AWS is the market leader in IaaS and has a significant head start in terms of ease of use, breadth of PaaS services that are supported, geographical presence as well as the strength of their third party app ecosystem. Azure differentiates itself by being the most enterprise friendly of the three vendors given their long history of dealing in enterprise software and the associated relationships they have developed with enterprises over the years.
On the private cloud side, Openstack has gained significant traction and is now the dominant platform for standing up cloud environments in on-prem data centers. Given that each of the major providers have specialized capabilities, it is likely that enterprises will adopt a multi-cloud approach to consuming cloud services but one that is built around a primary cloud platform.
Consuming services from multiple cloud environments however creates management and integration challenges for IT Operations. This is primarily because of a lack of interoperability and standard formats across cloud providers. The technical and integration challenges, particularly around troubleshooting these multi-cloud environments, call for monitoring and management tools that provide multi-cloud support and have open APIs to integrate with these cloud environments. Since its going to be a Hybrid Cloud reality for the foreseeable future, a solution that encompasses capabilities that span the hybrid cloud would have significant advantages over silo’ed products that don’t provide the end-to-end visibility across technology stacks.
To summarize, enterprises will rely on a multi-cloud approach as they consume public cloud services but their success or lack thereof in driving business agility will depend on their ability to transcend integration and management challenges that such an approach presents. With a view towards supporting the growing need for monitoring multi-cloud environments, we recently added significant new capabilities to our cloud monitoring solution.
Raj Sundaram is Sr. Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies.