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The Future Of Multicloud Management

Last week at CloudLIVE 2019, Joe Kinsella unveiled his vision for the future of cloud management. You can read my recap of the keynote here, and learn more about the new capabilities we previewed at the show. I wanted to take a deeper dive on the core tenets of the vision Joe outlined and what that means for this dynamic market.

Gartner defines Cloud Management Platforms as “integrated products that provide for the management of public, private and hybrid cloud environments.” We wholeheartedly agree with this definition, but also have a further refinement:

“A cloud management platform is a core suite of integrated and extensible capabilities that enable governance of business services, applications, workloads and infrastructure, across all clouds.”

Let’s break down this definition into a few key pieces. Specifically, we see the future of multicloud management platforms as having the following key capabilities:

Understand Business Intent. The next era of multicloud management platforms need to help customers drive smarter business decisions, not just operational decisions. It must capture business direction and intent to automate, optimize, and manage business services in the cloud. This includes the ability for a customer to define KPIs for desired outcomes of business services and infrastructure, then collect and analyze metrics from application to infrastructure, continuously monitor for deviations from best practices and standards, and leverage AI/ML to automatically drive changes to maintain optimum state.

Collaborate, Share, And Communicate. In a multicloud world, cloud management is distributed across many teams, departments, and functions. From finance to engineering to IT operations, business units and departments need to align to make decisions faster.  This collaboration is fundamental to the next generation of cloud management to drive engagement across lines of business, departments, teams, and individuals to unify decentralized management. The next era of multicloud management must provide a platform built for all of these disparate personas and enable them to share and understand best practices. 

Integrated Management. As cloud usage increases, the next era of multicloud management platforms should bring various services together to be a single source of truth across a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) in an organization. These services must be delivered direct to the enterprise as well as to partners in order to support the distributed model of cloud. Key use cases that a cloud management platform must support include financial management and optimization, security and compliance, provisioning and orchestration, operations and analytics, and integration with third-party services. 

Simplified Governance Engine. Governance is one of the biggest challenges for CIOs, and it’s only becoming exacerbated by the cloud. Governance comes in many forms, from monitoring, reporting, automating best practices, and setting standards and compliance across business services. As decisions and adoption of cloud services are pushed out to decentralized teams, organizations run the risk of cost overruns, data breaches and lack of compliance to regulations and a lack of standards. A governance engine must enable you to define programmable and extensible policies specific to your business practices, and then automate remediation.

Comprehensive Security Support. It’s important to correlate findings with malicious activity and unauthorized behavior to protect the cloud accounts and workloads against external threats. However, it’s equally important to minimize the attack surface and remediate issues quickly by collaborating with application teams and automating sharing of critical insights with useful context to the right teams at cloud speed. Finally, focus on the most critical threats by suppressing noise, selectively enabling security checks, and prioritizing findings with precise risk scores.    

Integrated Data Layer. To express governance across clouds, an integrated data model will provide consolidated usage, cost, configuration, performance data for full visibility across clouds. This data can come from the cloud providers themselves, but also from the third-party ecosystem of tooling that cloud operations teams rely on. Once the data is contextualized into a normalized model relationship, it should be made extensible to customers and integrators.

Multicloud Support. To truly support the growing multicloud needs, customers need a platform that enables them to optimize operations across any cloud. This must provide core technology along with integrations for interoperability for complementary and third party solutions. It must be easy to use and appeal to different individuals within the same organization and satisfy the needs of cloud-first and next-generation app models like containers and serverless computing. 

In 2012, CloudHealth Technologies disrupted the cloud management market by delivering a solution that enabled companies to gain visibility into their public clouds aligned by team, department, or application. The largest consumers of public cloud in the world rely on CloudHealth to optimize, secure, and govern over $10B in combined cloud spend. 

We plan to disrupt this market again by bringing to market a scalable, flexible, and contextual suite of products that will allow customers to drive optimization and governance in their public cloud environments without hampering innovation and agility.