Cloud management platforms offer organisations with a suite of tools they need to optimise data operations, in line with their specific business needs. This market has been diversifying in order to meet these requirements, while ensuring interoperability across multiple workloads and helping avoid vendor lock-in. What’s more, using such platforms has been key to overcoming complexity.
The cloud management platform market is showing no sign of slowing in progression and innovation, projected to reach $7.2Bn by 2030. Here, we identify the top platforms available in this space, that are bolstering the cloud strategies of businesses.
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A pioneer of cloud management, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) from AWS was established in 2006, and continues to gain wide favour across organisations. Allowing for running of applications in the public cloud, without the need for initial presence of hardware, users can scale workloads according to their needs and only pay for what they use. There are over 600 instances available on the platform to users, along with a choice of processor, storage, networking, operating system, and purchase model.
Types of instances available range from an array of general use, to compute optimised instances in the form of C7g; and memory optimised R7g instances. The instances are compatible with Intel, AMD, NVIDIA and AWS processors, and can come with local storage and enhanced networking options for disk or network I/O bound workloads.
The AWS Free Tier for EC2 includes 750 hours of Linux and Windows t2.micro or t3.micro instances, with paid models including on-demand, savings plans and reserved instances in a specific availability zone.
A part of the Microsoft Azure environment, Azure Arc is a platform that acts as a bridge allowing for creation of new applications and services that can operate across multi-cloud, data centre and edge environments. Announced during Microsoft Ignite 2019, Azure Arc was introduced as an extension to Azure Resource Manager (ARM), that can manage external workloads.
Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure encompasses Linux and Windows virtual machines, bare metal servers — including Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE — as well as VMWare lifecycle management, and Kubernetes clusters. Additionally, an Azure Stack hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), allowing for choice from over 25 hardware-validated partners, or re-use of hardware that meets validation requirements.
The platform enables pay-as-you-go licensing for SQL Server, which can be calculated here. For those without an active SQL Server licence, the standard edition charges a monthly rate of just under £57, with the enterprise edition charging around £213 per month.
Google Compute Engine
Compute Engine from Google Cloud allows business users to create and run virtual machines on Google infrastructure. Launched in 2012 as a VM-focused infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) option alongside App Engine, workloads can be ran over Google’s hardware and migrated from physical servers to the cloud, through this platform. Control of GCE can be gained through a RESTful application program interface (API), command line interface or web console.
The platform comes with a VM Manager, which aids management of operating systems for large groups of virtual machines, and recommends sizing for efficiency. As well as providing choice of cloud region and zone to store data, for ease of governance, administrators can make use of tools for creating advanced networks. For security, confidential VMs can encrypt assets during processing.
In terms of pricing, users are charged on a pay-per-usage, per second basis with one minute minimum.
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IBM Cloud Pak for AIOps
Looking to meet the rise in demand for artificial intelligence for IT operations is one of IBM‘s Cloud Pak platforms built on Red Hat Openshift, which is focused on delivering AIOps for any hybrid cloud environment. Using this suite, ITOps managers and site reliability engineers (SREs) are able to drive value from performance data visibility, for incident management and remediation. Actionable insights from cloud operations can help businesses achieve properly explainable AI.
Advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities allow for more timely and accurate recommendations for solving problems, while deployment options across on-prem, cloud and hybrid allow businesses to choose the environment best suited to their needs and goals. Particular features on offer include cross-domain data ingestion and integration, and asset topology generation for ease of control over dynamic infrastructure.
Cloud Paks were introduced by IBM following a merger with Red Hat in 2019. Pricing for IBM Cloud Pak for AIOps is currently undisclosed.
Data-driven security platform Lacework — the first standalone offering on this list — allows developers to build cloud infrastructure securely from the beginning, with the aid of infrastructure as code (IaC) security and inline vulnerability scanning. Launched in 2015 and presented as a cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP), Lacework looks to reduce strain on workers by carrying out security legwork on their behalf. Its machine learning engine is trained on behaviours, to capture data for vulnerabilities, configurations and other security factors.
Identity security risks can be mitigated through user access recognition, while attack path analysis helps to map likely attack methods to catch threat actors. The platform allows for visibility and context across AWS, Azure and GCP workloads, as well as Kubernetes clusters.
Two subscription pricing models for support, charged on a quote basis, are available to Lacework customers: Pro and Enterprise. The latter includes file integrity monitoring, and runtime monitoring for virtual machines, containers and Kubernetes.
Zero trust data security platform Rubik allows for software-defined cloud management across physical, virtual and hybrid environments. Founded in 2014, its security cloud caters for data resilience, observability and remediation; and allows for monitoring of user access, anomalies and threats.
The array of solutions in Rubrik’s portfolio covers cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS), as well as enterprise workloads, and particular industries including financial services, government and healthcare. Assets in AWS, Azure and GCP environments can be kept protected natively, with the platform also being compatible with Atlassian and Microsoft Sentinel. What’s more, enterprise backup and recovery solutions can be applied to Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, SAP HANA and VMWare, among other environments.
Three flexible, annual subscription licences are available to Rubrik customers. These are Foundation (10TB/mo (Backup Tier) for 12 months; without anomaly detection); Business (10TB/mo (Backup Tier) for 12 months; without sensitive data monitoring & management, threat hunting and containment); and Enterprise (200TB/mo (Backup Tier) for 12 months; with added threat capabilities and cyber recovery).
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HashiCorp‘s cloud infrastructure automation platform TerraForm was released in 2014 to help provision and manage resources in any cloud or data centre. Mainly serving as an infrastructure-as-code software tool, users can operate servers, databases and firewall policies, among other resources in the cloud.
The software allows for multi-cloud provisioning for AWS Lambda serverless functions, Azure Active Directory resource management, and load balancers in GCP. In addition, customers can use the platform to manage virtual machine images, as well as Kubernetes across any of the aforementioned big three cloud environments.
The open source platform is free to developers up to 500 resources per month; with three further levels — Standard (starting at $0.00014 per hour per resource); Plus; and Enterprise (both custom pricing) coming with enterprise support.
VMWare Aria (formerly vRealize Cloud Management) is an intelligent cloud delivery solution that brings together applications, infrastructure, and services across private, hybrid, and public clouds in one interface. The platform comes with a centralised hub, powered by cloud-scale, graph-based data store technology.
A visual overview of apps and environments allows for discovery of cloud resources, including applications, users and configurations for infrastructure visibility. Meanwhile, applications, accounts, projects and workflows can be managed across multi-cloud environments. What’s more, the aforementioned graph data store functionality enables dependency mapping and a view of historical configurations, for root cause analysis.
The VMWare Aria platform comes with a free tier for two native public cloud accounts and real-time event-based inventory for the first 90 days. Meanwhile, the Premium tier — priced subject to a quote – includes unlimited accounts, inventory and Kubernetes clusters, along with customer support.
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