Increasingly affordable high-powered bandwidth, the rising popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) among professionals, and rising consumer expectations for accessibility and speed have all accelerated the rise of cloud-based solutions for sharing, storing and streaming data. Businesses and enterprises who have already adopted cloud solutions are experiencing greatly expanded opportunities for collaboration, a happier and more productive workforce, improved customer communication and engagement and lower IT costs. In short, cloud solutions are helping businesses free themselves from restricting tethers, and allowing them the liberty to explore new markets and new channels for outreach.
Businesses seeking to maximize the benefit of using the cloud will set up multiple cloud platforms - some virtual, some private and some public. Using multiple platforms gives companies the specific advantages of each and allows them to meet the diverse and specific needs of different partners and clients. A multi-cloud strategy also minimizes the risk of data loss and assures constant access to digital content even in the case of downtime in one of the cloud environments.
Of course, alongside the benefits a multi-cloud strategy are a few downsides. Managing multiple cloud platforms can be a huge challenge and greatly complicate your IT needs. Luckily, a solid cloud management platform (CMP) can mitigate this issue by providing you with one single program from which you can manage all of your cloud platforms. Choosing a CMP can be a difficult task, so we’ve compiled the most common questions businesses ask themselves while shopping around.
- What stage of cloud adoption have you reached? Certain CMP providers will require you to begin the process through their platform, and others will require you to have reached a certain stage of cloud integration before they can be implemented. Look for a CMP that will allow you to jump in at any point in your transition to the cloud.
- How much time will it take to install, configure and begin using the CMP? While some CMPs can be up and running in under an hour, others require companies to take their cloud platforms offline for a certain amount of time, causing costly interruptions to business and risking a negative impact on your reputation.
- Is the CMP platform-neutral? The best CMP should be able to support multiple hypervisors and clouds without locking you into one particular option. Look for a platform that will allow you to retain your existing infrastructure investments and function across AWS, Azure and other public cloud platforms.
- Is the CMP cost effective and scaleable? This will be an important investment for your company, so you’ll want to make sure the CMP can expand with you as your company grows. A good CMP will also help you track IT costs in real time by reporting on virtual infrastructure and growth trends, and identifying constraints so you can mitigate obstacles before they spring up.
- Does the CMP include both automation and resource management? Ideally, you should be looking for a CMP that is an all-in-one solution to cloud management. A CMP with self-service provisioning and management will allow you to automate your key provisioning tasks, view and manage virtual and application workloads, and give stakeholders an informative view of their assets without granting access to the underlying cloud infrastructure.
- Are other products required? Some CMPs are offered at a lower relative price point, but have hidden costs associated with them, such as the purchase of additional platforms or products. Look for a CMP that can be run on its own and won’t require any added expense down the line.
- Can the CMP be integrated within your existing environment and virtualization technology? If you’re working with multiple cloud environments, the last thing you want to do is make your IT situation more complicated. Before signing on for a CMP, check with the provider to make sure that it will be compatible with your existing infrastructure so you don’t have to do a complete overhaul before starting to use it.
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