IT management software makers hope to enable 'responsible' cloud computing

IT management vendors buy automation technologies to extend capabilities to cloud computing and help customers deliver reliable services and cost savings.

Enterprise Management Associates’ report investigates how IT management software applications, and automation capabilities in particular, play a critical role in ‘responsible’ cloud computing implementations.

As more IT organizations consider cloud computing as a potential means to deploy new services at lower costs, industry watchers point out that without investigating the management, security, compliance and automation requirements needed to succeed with private and public cloud computing deployments, high-tech buyers won’t see the promised benefits.

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“The responsible cloud is the ultimate goal, and it involves a cloud computing paradigm that is well-managed, highly automated, compliant and business-oriented,” says Andi Mann, vice president covering systems and storage management at Enterprise Management Associates, who recently authored the EMA report “The Responsible Cloud.”

According to recent EMA research detailed in the report, approximately 11% of 159 enterprises companies surveyed intend to implement cloud computing in the coming 12 months. Of those polled by EMA, 75% say the private cloud is the preferred model, with more than half of respondents saying they implementing both on-premise and off-premise cloud. Sixty-seven percent find a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model appealing, and service improvement and cost reduction are the biggest drivers and the desired outcomes.

That’s where management and other technologies come into play, Mann says. There are multiple versions of cloud computing – private, public, community and hybrid clouds – EMA says, but also several stages of managing, security and automating processes in the environments. The first level is virtual infrastructure management, then virtual systems management. Most vendors touting cloud management capabilities, Mann says, are offering products that address these lower-level requirements. The third stage of managing cloud is virtual service management and the last is cloud service management, Mann explains.

“Most vendors are offering automation of virtual systems, not actually of the cloud, which involves a lot more than just automation virtualization,” he says. “Management vendors are proving a cloud message through virtualization automation, and that is a good start, but that is not enough.”

A slew of recent acquisitions could help IT management software makers extend their automation capabilities to better address cloud services. For instance, EMC acquired FastScale, Microsoft bought Opalis, CA picked up Oblicore, and BMC purchased Tideway and Phurnace Software.

“IT process automation is a critical part of cloud computing. It is very much related to and important to a successful cloud implementation,” Mann says.

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Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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