Cloud Management Platforms and Tools
While the top names in cloud management can accommodate many cloud configurations, it is always advisable to understand a vendor’s offerings before committing to a CMP. Some platforms cater to SMEs while others are better suited for the enterprise sized workloads. An initial concern is to choose between open-source platforms or a vendor’s proprietary cloud management platform. Often this is a choice of preference, with teams choosing the platforms they are most familiar with or experienced in.
Open-source Cloud Management Platforms
Open-source CMP options are abundant, and many are popular, like Apache CloudStack. Open-source platforms are exceptionally robust with reliable functionality.
The top pro for open-source: it’s free. Companies will be able to skip paying licenses. However, the top con for open-source, though there is much contention about this between camps, is that technical support is usually less accessible. Open-source communities provide a collaborative source for asking technical questions, but unlike proprietary software, they may not have a dedicated customer support service that can make timely and knowledgeable responses. This means that a company’s IT department will likely need to possess specific expertise to ensure that operations are not hampered due to critical issues. Though the community creates transparency, because code is open-source and many developers review it, many developers find this peer collaboration arrangement more comforting and reliable. Then again, with open-source there are infringement risks, and license restriction risks—for example, if open-source code is modified, and released to the public, any proprietary code modifications may then need to be opened-up for review, potentially exposing company IP.
The following are top open-source cloud management platforms.
- Apache CloudStack
Proprietary Cloud Management Platforms
Proprietary vendor cloud management platforms offer enterprise level cloud management capabilities underneath a license agreement, and are defined as “owned” software. Companies choose to go with proprietary platforms for many reasons, the main reason, several have become de facto industry standards for enterprise needs. As well, these platforms have dedicated development teams to ensure software is bug free and patches continuously address newly discovered ones. However, open-source proponents argue that the open-source community is vast enough to adequately address bug fixes and troubleshoot problems, and can point to users like Walmart, Blizzard Entertainment, and China Mobile which have incorporated open-source cloud management platforms into their tech stacks. But these organizations may also payroll large DevOps teams to ensure their technology, essentially bringing help desks inside their doors.
The following are some of the most popular proprietary cloud management platforms.
- VMware vSphere
- IBM Cloud Orchestrator