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Cloud Consumption Models & Cloud Management

A cloud management platform adds automation and governance value regardless of how you access or consume cloud resources. Learn how.


Snow-Embotics is named a leader in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms. Discover why.  


In many enterprises today, cloud consumption is happening in an ad-hoc or varied fashion across several pockets of a large organization.

If we boil down how organizations consume cloud resources, there are two basic consumption models:

Cloud Consumption Model #1: Cloud Brokered

On-Prem and/or cloud resources are consumed (e.g. self-service provisioning) and governed through the IT dept.


In the brokered cloud consumption model, IT sits between all access to cloud resources, whether they be public or private. And that might be through a cloud service broker or a self-service portal. You may also find first generation cloud management platforms in this model. This model works well for many use-cases and it's often seen as the ideal consumption model because everything goes through IT. 

But this model does have its drawbacks. Unfortunately, it can be an impediment to innovation - which is the main cause of shadow IT. 

Shadow IT can occur for a number of reasons - it could be because IT isn’t delivering at the speed developers expect, poor corporate oversight, or maybe a merger/acquisition of a born-in-the-cloud Silicon Valley startup that never had an IT department and is having difficulty adjusting to corporate standards. But not all shadow IT is bad, and IT professionals should maintain a dynamic perspective. We can split shadow IT into two main categories: 

  1. Rogue IT: Needs to be shut down because it can expose the business to external threats.
  2. Business-Led IT: Is here to stay and must be supported.

Cloud Consumption Model #2: Cloud Direct

Cloud consumers are directly consuming resources through APIs, cloud-native tools, consoles, etc. There are also cases within a single enterprise where both cloud consumption models are used.

Cloud-Consumption-Model-Diagrams - Cloud-Direct-Diagram

The notion of business-led IT ties into the second cloud consumption model we're going to introduce: Cloud Direct Consumption.

Your organization may be accessing public cloud resources (AWS, Azure, or GCP) through their console, using cloud-native tools or APIs, or maybe using Terraform or infrastructure as code to provision. An example of cloud direct consumption can be seen in a DevOps pipeline. Developers will commit code to version control and then, through a series of automated processes, that code will automatically be deployed into a staging or production environment without going through IT. Now, this should’t be seen as rogue, but rather business-led. And there are valid reasons for this - namely speed and agility, which equates to innovation. But IT still has a major role to play here and we're going to explain that as we move forward.

Cloud Management Platforms: Cloud Consumption Value-Add

A modern cloud management platform adds automation and governance value regardless of how cloud resources are provisioned and accessed.

For Cloud Direct, value-add is gained by providing engineering/DevOps teams with the freedom to consume public cloud resources as needed and preserving overall corporate agility through the use of a single-pane-of-glass across the entire hybrid cloud environment for governance.

In the Cloud Brokered case, additional, more proactive values can be achieved, such as cost/quota enforcement and intelligent placement of new cloud resources following the rules and guardrails defined by IT.

Cloud-Consumption-Model-Diagrams - Brokered-Direct-CMP

In large organizations, there can be a mix of both Direct and Brokered consumption, depending upon the particular use case and business unit process maturity.

By supporting a direct access model, a CMP can be adopted without disrupting existing processes and developer workflows. And over time, more cloud consumption can move from direct to brokered, to fully realize the value of a cloud management platform.

Next Generation Application Architectures

For next-generation application architectures built with microservices, DevOps methodologies, and Kubernetes orchestration, the infrastructure underlying the applications may be provisioned and scaled in an automated manner using APIs referred to as “Infrastructure as code”.

These APIs can also be either brokered through a CMP Service Catalog and API or called directly by applications and operational scripts. 

There are also Container and Kubernetes service variants available to the market, both in the public cloud and on-premise.

A CMP like Snow Commander is designed to support these different variations as it integrates bi-directionally with popular DevOps tools and technologies including:

  • Terraform,
  • Cloud Formation Templates,
  • ARM Templates,
  • Jenkins,
  • Git, and more.

A CMP like Snow Commander is also Kubernetes distribution independent and agnostic, supporting mainstream services such as Amazon EKS, OpenShift, PKS. AKS, etc.

In the brokered case, policies can be enforced in band at provisioning time. With direct access, policies are validated asynchronously afterward in an advisory manner.

Regardless of the consumption mechanism or resource location, Commander adds significant value by providing IT visibility and many application governance capabilities across both traditional and cloud-native applications. 

The table below highlights the benefits of a cloud management platform when consuming Cloud Direct or Cloud Brokered:




Governance Enforcement



IT visibility: AWS, Azure, GCP, VMware, Hyper-V, Kubernetes

Hybrid/multi cloud single pane-of-glass

Cost visibility

Showback, chargeback, hybrid/multi-cloud cost comparisons

Cloud account management

Orchestrated lifecycle for tenant cloud accounts

Reserved Instances (RIs)


Cloud tagging

Policy automation, self-service

Instance rightsizing

Self-service, reporting, fully automated

Tenant cloud resource ownership assignment

Policy automation


Power scheduling

Policy automation, recommendations, self-service

Lifecycle decommissioning

Policy automation, self-service

Intelligent Placement


Policy automation

Limited Instance types for RI economies of scale



Cloud/Tenant Quotas




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