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Vanessa Alvarez
Vanessa Alvarez
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Management Tools Will Be Cloud Glue

The year has started out with significant M&A activity from vendors looking to deliver the necessary components for cloud computing. They all come to market with their own technologies and solutions, but there's one offering that's a must-have.

The year has started out with significant M&A activity from vendors looking to deliver the necessary components for cloud computing. They all come to market with their own technologies and solutions, but there's one offering that's a must-have.The missing link to ensuring a seamless IT environment is management tools for the cloud. These tools include functions such as automation, discovery, configuration management, capacity planning, and dynamic resource management.

Hence the M&A activity that began late in 2009, when Computer Associates (CA) acquired NETQoS, and Microsoft acquired Opalis, (an IT process automation vendor). This year the push continued, as IBM acquired Intelliden. These acquisitions are indicative of the fact that many network management tools out there today have lacked the necessary features and functionality to manage these new IT environments.

A number of emerging vendors, such as Enstratus, which focuses on infrastructure management and OpsCode, an open-source configuration management solution, also have skin in the game. These emerging vendors have come to market to fill the need for new tools that will help IT more easily and efficiently manage their environment.

As the evolution of cloud computing continues, the management aspect will become even more critical, essentially becoming the glue that puts it all together.

Both vendors and enterprises have recognized that managing this new IT environment requires a new set of features and functions. For enterprises, the management tools become more important as they look to reduce their IT staff and simplify their IT operations.

Enterprises look for tools that have the capability to easily and efficiently manage a more fluid and on-demand IT environment. Also, because of the many choices of cloud vendors and service providers they have today, enterprises can consider having multiple clouds in their IT environment.

Having a hybrid environment for different workloads and functions helps enterprises to better maximize the value of cloud computing. With this choice however, comes complexity, and the right management tools become more critical.

As companies transition from physical, to virtual, to cloud environments, they should be looking for management vendors that offer features such as visibility across both physical and virtual environments. Enterprises should seek out vendors that offer automation, single pane of glass view, capacity planning, configuration, dynamic resource management, and the ability to be cloud vendor-agnostic.

As cloud computing evolves, ensuring that an existing network management vendor is able to support the new IT environment, is key. Third-party vendors may help to provide the necessary features and functionality needed.

Most organizations today have made the decision to move ahead with cloud computing in some way. Having the right tools in place will be essential to ensuring the new IT environment runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Vanessa Alvarez is an industry analyst for Information, Communications & Technologies at Frost & Sullivan.

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