Cloud Management Platforms Aren’t Dead

The only thing scarier than the trick-or-treaters knocking on your door this month is the belief that standalone cloud management platforms (CMP) are dead or dying.

I read an article on Forbes last month that highlighted Flexera’s acquisition of RightScale. While it’s been interesting to see the recent changes in the cloud industry, one change noted in the article is actually manifesting into something else entirely. Forbes Contributor Janakiram commented that RightScale is one of the last few companies in the CMP market to get acquired, along with VMware’s recent intent to acquire CloudHealth Technologies, leads to the assumption that the standalone CMP market is going away altogether with these acquisitions. Janakiram even states “The changing market dynamics reduced the relevance of cloud management platforms.”

The Grim Reaper isn’t coming for us anytime soon, though. Quite the contrary.

The CMP market is alive and well. HyperGrid is proof of that, and, if you think about it, the acquisitions of RightScale and CloudHealth are proof of that, too. The reason for this is that there is whole reinvention of CMPs. The industry is entering into a new wave of cloud management, and we’re simply seeing old school CMPs going to their graves or turning into the “Frankenstein” of the cloud solution space. A new wave of intelligent CMPs are taking center stage.

GEN 1 CMPs: RightScale, a company founded more than 10 years ago, along with other companies in this space including Scalr, CliQr and DynamicOps, were part of the first CMP generation focused on infrastructure provisioning on private and public clouds. At the time, the cloud was new to many, and companies struggled with IaaS, Provisioning and migration to cloud. This resulted in the first wave of companies like RightScale. While this generation of companies simplified some of the cloud adoptions pains with consistent provisioning, it also caused the lowest common denominator effect of cloud usage that advanced users started rejecting.

GEN 2 CMPs: Fast forward a few years, and more companies were building net new cloud native applications using public cloud services. As they did, though, they were experiencing new pain points – the primary one being around surprise public cloud bills and rising cloud costs. The second generation of CMPs – like CloudHealth and CloudCheckr – entered the arena and began addressing those with a focus on ways to optimize and reduce costs. These new, reactive solutions offered a quick fix to dull the pain but didn’t quite eliminate it altogether.

GEN 3 CMPs: Where we are today is the new wave of CMPs that offer intelligent cloud management. You see, the cloud floodgates have opened and where older companies couldn’t keep up with cloud adoption and innovation, we stepped in. CMPs today don’t do just one thing because the needs of the user have changed. A majority of companies are in the cloud. Most companies are no longer just thinking of infrastructure lift and shift to get on to the public cloud. They need to transform their apps (replatform, rewrite, migrate and replatform, etc.) and keep optimizing over time. They need an intelligent and modular solution that addresses their specific set of needs, including proactive migration planning, proactive and reactive cost management, security monitoring and cloud governance, and more. They are looking for an intelligent solution that does more than dull the pain. It helps them use the cloud in the best way possible and leverage the best and latest services from the public clouds while having the right management, governance, optimization and orchestration controls in place.

All of this is not to say that companies from previous generations gave up the ghost. They tried to evolve with the changing needs, but it proved too difficult in most cases to keep up with the rapid change in cloud services innovation and the landscape of use cases. An example is the “checkbox” approach of supporting Container platforms like Kubernetes. Janakiram mentioned that “the only company that has successfully transitioned into the new world of containers and multi-cloud is Scalr.” This is not accurate, as the newest generation of CMPs emerged in the era of the container platforms and natively support them, including HyperGrid. In fact, HyperCloud is one of the only platforms that provides application aware containers-as-a-service platform built into its intelligent CMP with both Docker Swarm and Kubernetes support.

Finally, every major technology shift, whether it was mainframes to Client-Servers or Client-Servers to Virtualization has had with it the birth of a set of Management & Orchestration Platforms that provide the core sets of capabilities to manage the customer lifecycle for that new paradigm shift. That platform is just coming together in the Cloud shift, Forrester just published its latest Wave report on Hybrid Cloud Platforms and Gartner is in the process of completing its first Magic Quadrant evaluation of Cloud Management Platforms. We believe this intelligent generation 3 approach of Cloud Management Platforms is what will see the broader adoption as Public Cloud adoption accelerates.

We ask Janakiram not to get out his shovel just yet but rather believe the hype that CMPs are here to stay and they’re more intelligent than ever.

Manoj Nair joins HyperGrid from HPE where he was GM and VP of Product Management for Converged Infrastructure. His team was responsible for driving the Product Strategy and Roadmap across all elements of the Converged Portfolio & Infrastructure Management. Prior to HPE, Manoj was SVP leading strategy and R&D for the Public Cloud solutions at EMC. This was an incubation team working across the EMC federation of companies. Previously, Manoj was SVP & GM at RSA – responsible for IAM & Authentication product lines. Previously he led R&D and Product Management for RSA Security Management portfolio. Manoj also led R&D for EMC's internal incubation project, EMC Infoscape, as well as the architecture of the EMC PowerPath product family. Manoj has also held development and research positions at Data General, Novell and US NSF funded Research Labs. He is also the holder of over a dozen patents granted by USPTO in Systems Software, File systems, Information Management and Security. Manoj holds a M.S. in Computer Science from Clemson University. Forbes Technology Council, Official Member 2018

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