Cloud management is how administrators control—and orchestrate—all the products and services that operate in a cloud: the users and access control, data, applications, and services. It's about giving admins the ability to access the resources they need, automate those processes that they want to, and make adjustments as needed, while also monitoring usage and cost. It's also how admins maintain flexibility and scalability, while being able to adapt quickly when things change.
Cloud management tools help admins oversee all types of clouds (public cloud, private cloud, hybrid and multicloud) and cloud activities, from resource deployment and use tracking to data integration, Kubernetes, and disaster recovery. They provide administrative control over the infrastructure, platforms, applications, cloud provider and cloud service provider resources, and data that—together—create a cloud.
Cloud management software is typically deployed into existing cloud environments as a virtual machine (VM) that contains a database and a server. The server communicates with application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect the database and virtual, cloud, or container-based resources holding up—and interacting within—the cloud. The database collects information on how the virtual or cloud infrastructure is performing and sends analyses to a web interface where cloud admins can visualize and analyze cloud performance. Admins can also relay commands back to the cloud, which are carried out by the virtual server.
All that interconnectivity relies on perhaps the most overlooked technology of all: the operating system (OS). The operating system not only commands all the different technologies that make up clouds, but it also deploys your cloud management tools. That operating system needs to work with whatever cloud you use—no matter how unique it is—which is why many cloud-based operating systems are open source, like Linux®.
Clouds provide the rules and cloud management carries them out. Clouds are pools of virtual resources, storage, applications, and services that are managed by software so the resources can be accessed on demand. Cloud management is a combination of software, automation, policies, governance, and people that determine how those cloud computing services are made available.
Integrate with existing IT
A cloud management platform (CMP) must be customized to your needs: it must meet the requirements of the operating system, apps, provisioning, cloud security, storage frameworks, standard operating environments (SOEs), and whatever else is running in the cloud. They should also be flexible and able to adapt to change quickly.
Automate manual tasks
Automation removes manual human interaction from as many everyday tasks and workflows as possible, which has the dual advantage of increasing efficiency and decreasing errors. Automation lifts a huge burden for cloud computing and is vital to any cloud management platform.
It’s easy to use cloud services, so it’s very easy to use more than you can afford. A cloud management platform should provide accurate cost management, forecasting, and reporting.
Be accessible through the internet
Like the resources, data, and processing power of your cloud, your cloud management tools should be accessible by the admin regardless of where he or she—or the infrastructure—is.
Support hybrid cloud and multicloud environments
By necessity, an enterprise’s future is filled with all types of clouds: private, public, and hybrid. Every cloud management platform should be able to support all types of cloud smoothly and securely across multiple environments.
This may seem like a given, but self-service capabilities are vital to any cloud management platform in order to stay flexible and adaptable in the face of frequent changes and updates. It should maintain control over everything, while policies guide user access to resources, configurations, and capacity. Orchestration of the entire infrastructure—on-premises—virtual, data centers, etc.—throughout the lifecycle is essential.
The cloud is here to stay and technology is changing all the time (with advances like Kubernetes and edge computing). But as cloud computing needs change, end users will adapt, as should the cloud management tools. Whether you operate across a single or multiple cloud environments, effective management and the flexibility to adapt make all the difference. Our open source multicloud management platform offers a consistent way to track cloud costs, control resource allocation, and ensure compliance. It’s also designed to run the the leading open source IT automation playbooks (with Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform) natively, letting you standardize the cloud experience using a unified automation language.