What Are Cloud Management Platforms? 

Cloud management platforms (CMPs) are integrated solutions that enable management and automation of public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. They allow businesses to manage cloud resources across multiple service providers and systems via a single interface, enhancing operational efficiency and optimizing cloud usage. 

CMPs enable users to create, deploy, manage, and operate computing infrastructure and services in cloud environments more effectively. They offer tools for managing storage, networking, virtual machine deployment, and service catalogs, among other features. The rising adoption of multi-cloud environments and their inherent complexity have made cloud management platforms an essential tool for many organizations.

Cloud management platforms provide the following primary benefits:

  • Cost savings: CMPs can reduce cloud costs by optimizing resource usage and eliminating unnecessary expenditure. By providing visibility into cloud spending, they help businesses spot inefficiencies and adjust resource allocation accordingly.
  • Automation: CMPs streamline manual processes and reduce the potential for human error. Automating tasks such as provisioning, scaling, and managing cloud services can accelerate deployment times and improve operational efficiency.
  • Visibility: CMPs enable visibility across cloud environments, providing real-time insights into resource utilization, performance, and costs. This centralized view allows organizations to make informed resource management and allocation decisions.
  • Centralized control: A CMP provides a centralized platform for managing multiple cloud environments, simplifying administration, and improving control. Cloud management platforms consolidate tools and processes into a single interface, reducing complexity and enhancing the experience of operators and administrators.

The primary users of cloud management platforms are:

  • Managed Service Providers (MSPs): MSPs use CMPs to oversee clients’ cloud resources, offering monitoring, maintenance, and optimization for smooth system operations.
  • Financial Operations (FinOps) Teams: FinOps teams manage cloud financials with CMPs to track and optimize spending, ensuring cost-effective resource use and budget adherence.
  • DevOps Teams: DevOps teams automate and streamline cloud operations with CMPs, relying on them for continuous integration, continuous deployment (CI/CD), and infrastructure as code (IaC) practices to ensure efficient and scalable development and operations.

In this article:

4 Key Capabilities of a Cloud Management Platform 

1. Service Management

Service management within a cloud management platform ensures that cloud services are delivered efficiently. It includes the provisioning and de-provisioning resources, monitoring service health, and managing service-level agreements (SLAs). Cloud management platforms can dramatically speed up service delivery and ensure compliance with business standards through automated workflows and policies.

Service management capabilities also enable the cataloging of cloud services, making it easier for users to discover and access their needed resources. This results in a more organized and user-friendly cloud environment, boosting productivity and user satisfaction.

2. Resource Management

Cloud resource management provides a broad view and granular control over computing resources. This includes allocating, scaling, and optimizing resource utilization according to demand, ensuring that cloud resources are used efficiently. It helps prevent resource overprovisioning and underutilization, leading to cost savings and improved performance.

These capabilities also offer insights into resource usage patterns, enabling better forecasting and planning. By understanding resource consumption, businesses can make informed decisions on capacity planning and budget allocation.

3. FinOps Management

Modern cloud management platforms provide FinOps capabilities, giving organizations a clear view of their cloud spending. They track the costs associated with cloud resources, offer detailed billing and chargeback reporting, and ensure accountability for cloud usage throughout the organization. This transparency helps businesses identify and eliminate wasteful spending, optimizing their cloud budget.

Additionally, cloud management platforms provide budget management tools, allowing businesses to set and enforce spending limits. This is critical in improving cost visibility, avoiding budget overruns, and ensuring that cloud investments align with strategic business objectives.

4. Governance and Security

Cloud management platforms enhance cloud governance and security through centralized policy management. They enable businesses to enforce compliance with regulatory requirements and internal policies across their cloud environments. This includes managing user access, ensuring data protection, and monitoring for security threats. Together, these capabilities enable proactive risk management for cloud environments.

Challenges When Implementing a Cloud Management Platform 

While CMPs can provide significant benefits, they are complex systems with their challenges.

Integration with Existing Systems

Integrating cloud management platforms with existing systems can be challenging. Achieving seamless integration requires thorough planning and technical proficiency. Compatibility issues between the cloud management platform and legacy systems may arise, necessitating adjustments or custom solutions.

Technical Expertise

Deploying and managing a cloud management platform requires specialized knowledge. Organizations may face a learning curve, as staff must proficiently use the platform’s features. In addition, ongoing training and support are necessary to keep up with updates and new functionalities.

Vendor Lock-in

Choosing a cloud management platform can lead to vendor lock-in, limiting flexibility and potentially increasing costs. Dependence on a single vendor’s ecosystem can make switching platforms or integrating with services from other providers difficult.

To mitigate this risk, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the cloud management platform’s compatibility with other cloud services and its commitment to open standards. Considering interoperability and portability in the selection process can help preserve future flexibility.

Notable Cloud Management Platforms 

1. Anodot

Anodot is a cloud management platform designed to tackle cloud cost management challenges. Leveraging advanced AI and machine learning technologies gives businesses the insights and tools necessary to optimize their multicloud, SaaS, and Kubernetes expenditures. It is used by FinOps teams aiming to enhance cost visibility, discover actionable savings opportunities, and confidently forecast and budget their cloud resources.

Key features include:

    • Optimize cloud investments: Provides personalized FinOps insights, enabling teams to maximize visibility across multicloud, SaaS, and Kubernetes environments, and uncover savings opportunities.
    • Gain visibility: It analyzes 100% of collected cloud data, using its business intelligence solution to detect anomalies and business incidents in real time. This helps identify the root causes of issues, allowing for quicker resolution.
    • Oversee multicloud costs: Eliminates blind spots in multi-cloud spending, allowing organizations to manage resources and optimize investments.
    • Detect and act on anomalies: The platform’s anomaly detection capabilities are fully autonomous, offering forecasting, correlation, and recommendations without extensive manual oversight.
    • Easy integration: Integrates easily with any cloud service, requiring minimal permissions. This ease of integration ensures businesses can leverage Anodot’s capabilities quickly without a lengthy setup process.
    • Personalized dashboards Allow users to track spending and unit economics in a way that makes sense for their business needs. This personalization is key to providing actionable insights in the relevant business context.
    • Forecasting and budgeting Use historical data with 98.5% accuracy to predict cloud spending and usage based on selected metrics and changing conditions to make necessary adjustments to avoid going into the red. 
  • AI tool for cloud expense management With a simple search, automate cloud cost management with CostGPT. Get instant answers to address common cost challenges, including complex pricing models, hidden costs, and inadequate monitoring and reporting.

Learn more about Anodot

2. IBM Apptio Cloudability

IBM Apptio Cloudability is a cloud cost management and optimization platform for IT, finance, and DevOps teams. It aims to maximize cloud resource utilization for speed, cost efficiency, and quality. Cloudability provides detailed insights into cloud spending and utilization, ensuring cloud investments are aligned with business value and operational goals.

Key features include:

  • Support multiple roles: Offers customized views tailored to different team roles, including IT finance, business leaders, and DevOps or FinOps teams. This personalization ensures that each team has access to relevant insights and tools.
  • Accurately allocate cost: Ensures that all cloud costs, including those associated with cloud native resources and support charges, are accurately allocated via comprehensive chargeback mechanisms.
  • Optimize cloud costs: Provides advanced rightsizing capabilities for primary cloud services, enabling organizations to reduce operating expenses.
  • Make decisions with financial confidence: Fosters a culture of ownership over cloud spend, enabling teams to correlate their expenditures with business outcomes directly.

Source: Apptio

3. Azure Management Tools

Azure Management Tools are a suite of services designed to manage and secure hybrid cloud resources for organizations using Azure. These tools seamlessly integrate into Azure, helping system administrators and developers ensure resources remain secure and compliant. Azure’s management tools cover every aspect of the IT lifecycle.

Key features include:

  • Azure Monitor: Provides visibility into the status of Azure platform components, allowing for detailed monitoring of infrastructure and application health.
  • Azure Automation: Enables automated configuration, deployment, and management of resources, reducing the need for manual intervention and speeding up repetitive tasks.
  • Azure Advisor: Provides personalized recommendations to optimize the Azure environment by reducing costs, boosting performance, and improving security.
  • Azure Resource Manager: Offers a management layer for creating, updating, and deleting resources across Azure accounts.
  • Azure Blueprints: Enables quick and repeatable creation of governed environments, ensuring consistent compliance and configuration across deployments.
  • Azure Lighthouse: Designed for service providers, Azure Lighthouse helps manage customers’ resources at scale, improving service delivery and management efficiency.

Source: Microsoft

4. Apache CloudStack

Apache CloudStack is an open-source software system for deploying and managing networks of virtual machines. It is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform that enables high availability and scalability for large-scale cloud environments. Public cloud services or on-premises private cloud operators can use it.

Key features include:

  • Full IaaS Stack: Provides all the capabilities necessary to set up an IaaS cloud, such as compute orchestration, Network-as-a-Service, user and account management, resource accounting, and a fully functional user interface (UI).
  • Multiple user interfaces: Users have the flexibility to manage their cloud environments using a web interface, command-line tools, or a RESTful API. For hybrid cloud environments, CloudStack integrates with AWS EC2 and S3.
  • Multi-hypervisor support: Supports all popular hypervisors, including VMware, KVM, XenServer, Xen Cloud Platform (XCP-ng), and bare metal configurations, avoiding vendor lock-in.
  • Multi-cloud management and automation: Provides tooling for managing multi-cloud environments and automating daily cloud operations.

Source: CloudStack

5. CloudBolt

CloudBolt provides solutions to organizations’ challenges in achieving efficient, agile, and value-driven cloud operations. Emphasizing FinOps principles, the solution aims to resolve the conflict between developer agility and financial efficiency in the cloud.

Key features include:

  • Financial traceability: Normalizes financial data, ensuring complete cost traceability and precise allocation. This makes it possible to map every cost back to specific business activities, enhancing accountability and financial management.
  • Guardrails and financial workflows enable proactive financial governance, ensure adherence to budgets and financial objectives, and prevent cost overruns.
  • Assisted intelligence: Enhance decision-making in the cloud, providing actionable insights for better performance and cost optimization of cloud resources.
  • Unified cloud management: Enables management of diverse cloud environments, with centralized control over cloud resources, providing a single pane of glass for all cloud activities.

Source: CloudBolt

Choosing the Right Cloud Management Platform 

Assess Your Cloud Environment and Strategy

Before selecting a cloud management platform, understand your cloud environment and strategy. Identify the types of clouds (public, private, hybrid) used and critical workloads. This assessment helps determine the features and capabilities most relevant to your needs.

Also, consider your long-term cloud strategy. A cloud management platform that aligns with your plans ensures that the platform supports growth and adapts to changing requirements, providing sustained value.

Evaluate Key Features and Functionalities

Evaluate cloud management platforms based on essential features and functionalities. Prioritize resource management, service provisioning, cost tracking, and security features. Also, consider the platform’s ability to integrate with existing tools and services. Another critical aspect is AI capabilities—evaluate whether the platform uses AI to automate cloud management tasks and assist with resource and cost optimization.

Testing each platform’s ease of use and scalability is important. A cloud management platform that scales with your business and offers an intuitive interface ensures efficient management as your cloud environment evolves.

Consider Usability and Support

Usability and support are critical factors in the selection process. Choose a cloud management platform with a user-friendly interface and intuitive tools for cloud administrators. This improves adoption and reduces the learning curve for your team.

Equally important is the vendor’s support services. Ensure they offer responsive technical support, training resources, and a strong user community.

Conduct a Proof of Concept (PoC)

Before making a final decision, conduct a Proof of Concept (PoC). Test the cloud management platform in your environment with a limited scope to assess its performance, compatibility, and ease of use. A successful PoC confirms the platform’s suitability and helps identify potential issues before full-scale deployment.

This hands-on experience is crucial for making an informed decision, ensuring the chosen cloud management platform meets your specific needs and contributes to efficient and effective cloud management.

Conclusion

Cloud management platforms are indispensable in today’s multicloud environments, addressing the complexities of managing diverse cloud resources efficiently. By centralizing control, optimizing costs, and automating workflows, CMPs empower FinOps organizations to navigate the challenges of cloud computing while harnessing its full potential. As cloud strategies become increasingly integral to business operations, selecting the right CMP is crucial for sustainable growth, operational resilience, and competitive advantage.

Learn more about Anodot for cloud cost management

Written by Perry Tapiero

Perry Tapiero is an experienced marketer specializing in demand generation across diverse B2B verticals such as AdTech, FinTech, and Cyber. With a focus on driving revenue and growth, Perry excels in developing and executing effective Go-To-Market strategies.

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