How Do I Choose A Cloud Management Platform?
I introduced the concept of a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) in my last article here on the IBA Group blog and closed by saying that it’s a complex process to choose a specific platform. However, that’s exactly the decision that many managers are exploring right now and it can be even more complex when you need to buy a cloud, but it is your service provider that will actually be using it.
This white paper from the IT research firm Neovise gives some excellent advice on this particular issue. The white paper introduces the need for CMPs, as I did in my last article, but then it lists some specific questions you need to ask when determining the best system to use:
1. Business Requirements:
• What customers do you plan to serve, and what are their requirements? How well will the cloud platform serve them?
• How much additional work is required for installation/configuration? Integration? Adding missing features?
• How quickly will the cloud platform let you get to market and start generating revenue?
2. Product Requirements:
• Does the platform enable the right compute, network and storage capabilities?
• Are there specific hardware requirements for the platform? Or can you choose hardware from any vendor? Can you leverage existing hardware investments?
• How extensible is the product? Does it support federation with other providers?
• Does the platform allow you to seamlessly integrate new cloud services with your existing hosting services?
3. Support Requirements:
• Will it require significant resources and expertise to deploy, customize and operate the platform?
• What do you do if you need help deploying or troubleshooting the platform? Is there customer support? Or just community support? Both?
• Does the platform receive ongoing enhancements? Are new versions difficult or disruptive to install?
These are quite detailed questions and there are different types of CMP as I outlined in my earlier article, but if you go into these questions with a clear outline of your specific capabilities, resource, timeline, and strategy then you can achieve a successful outcome. It’s recommended to include this information on any RFI or RFP process when selecting a supplier so you can work with a supplier that supports your preferences on CMP in addition to just agreeing on a cloud strategy.
Where you have not already deployed a cloud or CMP then it would be preferable to outline your preferences and needs right from the RFI – this way a potential partner can advise on the best cloud to use and the best tools to manage it.
In the early days of cloud adoption, this was all easier. A client would just make requests directly to their supplier if more capacity or storage is needed, but as IT infrastructure has become more complex, and usually involves a mix of cloud and on premises equipment, it is essential to make the right choices about the system you use to manage your cloud – and manage it in a way that works with the needs of your supplier.