Best Cloud Cost Management Software

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Today's large enterprises rely heavily on cloud computing. They have complex multicloud environments that pose unique management challenges. Increasingly, organizations are turning to cloud management platforms (CMPs) to help them manage that complexity.

A typical CMP incorporates a host of different capabilities behind the proverbial "single pane of glass." For example, most have some provisioning, monitoring, reporting, cost management, security and governance capabilities. However, the different cloud management software options aren't equally good at each of these tasks. Some are very good at provisioning, while others are better at security or monitoring.

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For many large enterprises, cost optimization has become the number one priority when in comes to cloud management. In the most recent Flexera State of the Cloud Report, 84 percent of large organizations selected "managing cloud spend" as a key challenge. And the number one cloud initiative, cited by 64 percent of respondents, was optimizing their existing use of the cloud for cloud savings.

Given that reality, Datamation put together a list of the top ten leading cloud management software platforms that have outstanding cost optimization capabilities. Please note that the list below is organized in alphabetical order; it is not a ranking.

Tips for Choosing Cloud Cost Management Software, with a Focus on Cost Optimization

When shopping for cloud management software, you'll need to make sure you first have an excellent understanding of your organization's needs. The different CMPs vary quite a bit, which can make them hard to compare but also makes it more likely that you will find a good fit for your environment.

In addition, experts recommend the following tips:

  • Look for a tool that supports hybrid and multi-cloud environments from a single pane of glass. Today, more than four out of five organizations use multiple cloud services. As a result, multi-cloud support has become table stakes for CMPs. Make sure that any cloud management software supports the clouds you currently use and any you expect to use in the near future, as well as your on-premises infrastructure.
  • Choose a tool that combines cost management with other essential features like provisioning, lifecycle management, monitoring and security. It is possible to cobble together multiple cloud management tools that each do one thing well, but this approach is generally less efficient than getting an all-in-one platform. If you can minimize the number of cloud tools you use, you'll probably help your IT operations staff become more productive.
  • Consider how well it integrates with your other tools. Any large IT organization already uses a number of other tools, many of which you probably plan to keep on using. Make sure that your CMP will complement these other tools and ideally will be able to integrate with them.
  • Make sure it supports your IT approach. A growing number of organizations are following a DevOps approach or one of its cousins like DevSecOps, AIOps, NoOps, DataOps, GitOps or FinOps. Or maybe you take a site reliability engineering (SRE) approach, or maybe you're continuing to use traditional IT approaches. In every case, you'll need to match your cloud management software to your unique workflows.

Here are ten options to consider.

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1. BMC Helix

BMC Helix is an overarching IT and service management platform that includes cloud management capabilities. It's a modular platform, and the cloud cost optimization component is known as BMC Helix Cloud Cost. It claims to be "the first and only end-to-end service and operations SaaS platform that’s integrated with 360-degree intelligence." Because it enables self-service views of spending, it's particularly well-suited for organizations that have multiple departments that own different aspects of cloud spending

Key Features:

  • Customizable self-service views of public and private cloud utilization and pricing
  • Machine learning-based optimization recommendations
  • Budget forecasting

Target market: Large enterprises with multiple cloud owners

Deployment: SaaS

Security: Helix Cloud Security available as a separate module

AI/Machine Learning: Machine learning provides automated optimization recommendations

Pricing: Available on request

2. Cisco CloudCenter

Like BMC Helix, Cisco CloudCenter is modular cloud management software. Its three core pieces are the workload manager, the action orchestrator, and the cost optimizer. It offers centralized management and automation capabilities ideal for DevOps organizations, and it integrates with many popular continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) tools.

Key Features:

  • Multi-cloud blueprints and governance
  • Integration with DevOps tools
  • Extensible ecosystem

Target market: Large enterprises using DevOps approaches

Deployment: Self-hosted or SaaS

Security: Integrated security

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request; free 30-day trial

3. Cloudability

The Cloudability cloud management platform focuses squarely on cost optimization, taking an approach it calls "FinOps," which integrates finance into the DevOps mix. It does include some monitoring, governance and security capabilities, but this CMP isn't as full-featured as some of the other options on this list. It is best for organizations that are primarily interested in cloud cost optimization.

Key Features:

  • Visualization and allocation capabilities
  • Optimization recommendations based on years' worth of data from other Cloudability clients
  • Continuous improvement capabilities

Target market: Organizations concerned primarily about cloud spend rather than other cloud management functions

Deployment: API based

Security: SOC 2, encryption, secure access

AI/Machine Learning: Uses data science and machine learning to make optimization recommendations

Pricing: Available on request; free 14-day trial

4. CloudChekr

Like Cloudability, CloudChekr focuses on cloud cost optimization, but it also adds some critical security and governance capabilities. In fact, security is a much bigger strength of this platform than most of the others, and it even has some specialized editions designed to meet the security needs of government agencies. It also integrates with many other tools.

Key Features:

  • Total visibility into multi-cloud environments
  • Strong security and compliance capabilities
  • Best practice checking

Target market: Organizations concerned primarily about cloud costs, security, and governance; specialized products for MSPs and federal government agencies

Deployment: SaaS or self-hosted

Security: Cloud log intelligence, configuration, best practice checks, user management, perimeter assessment

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request; free 14-day trial

5. Flexera Cloud Management Platform

Highly rated by both users and analysts, Flexera Cloud Management Platform offers a long list of capabilities with an extensible architecture that allows it to support most cloud services. The Cloud Management Platform includes Flexera Optima, its cloud cost optimization tool that is also available as a standalone product. It is an excellent option for large organizations looking for cloud management software that includes a lot of self-service and automation capabilities to simplify operations.

Key Features:

  • Cloud application templates that standardize architecture across clouds
  • Advanced automation capabilities, including self-healing capabilities
  • Integration with almost any cloud service, as well as with popular tools like Terraform, Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Salt, Bash, and Powershell

Target market: Large enterprises

Deployment: SaaS

Security: User access control, automated governance and security policy enforcement

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request

6. HyperGrid Intelligent Cloud Management Platform

href="https://hypergrid.com/" target="_blank">HyperGridis a pureplay cloud management software provider that incorporates predictive analytics and machine learning into its Intelligent Cloud Management Platform. It has an impressive array of customers that includes the U.S. Navy, IBM, Fordham University, and others. The platform consists of three different modules that can be deployed together or independently: Cloud Planning, Cloud GovSec (which incorporates cost optimization), and Cloud Orchestration.

Key Features:

  • Analytics-driven orchestration and cost optimization
  • Automated security policy management and monitoring
  • Integration with DevOps tools and containers

Target market: Large enterprises, particularly SaaS application providers

Deployment: SaaS or on-prem

Security: Automated policy enforcement and configuration monitoring

AI/Machine Learning: Predictive analytics and machine learning integrated throughout the platform

Pricing: Available on request, quoted as a percentage of cloud spending

7. Rackware Hybrid Cloud Platform

Designed for organizations that use a combination of private and public clouds, Rackware Hybrid Cloud Platform offers a lot of features related to cloud migration and automated backup and disaster recovery. It also has some advanced cost features that allow you to see the estimated cost of running a workload on various cloud services before deploying the workload. It's a good option for organizations that are still in the process of embracing the cloud.

Key Features:

  • Cloud migration capabilities
  • Automated cloud backup and recovery
  • Filterable cost reporting, plus cost optimization features like Auto Parking and Auto Scaling

Target market: Large enterprises with hybrid cloud environments

Deployment: On-prem

Security: User access management and secure templates, automated backup

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request

8. Scalr Cloud Management Platform

Scalr makes two separate products: an infrastructure as code platform and a cloud management platform. It touts its cloud management software as "the only CMP designed for enterprise scale," and it boasts some large organizations like the FDA, Xerox, NASA JPL, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Sephora and Samsung among its users. Its approach to the cloud centers around agility and DevOps, as well as providing self-service capabilities for users.

Key Features:

  • Support for both on-prem and public cloud resources from a single pane of glass
  • Designed to promote agility
  • Customized provisioning portals for self-service

Target market: Large enterprises, especially service providers and organizations that take a DevOps approach

Deployment: SaaS or on-prem

Security: Granular role-based security and conditional security and compliance policies

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request

9. Snow/Embotics Commander

Software asset management vendor Snow Software purchased cloud management software vendor Embotics in December, and for now, the company is selling the CMP under the Embotics Commander brand name. In addition to multi-cloud environments, it supports multi-hypervisor environments, making it a good choice for organizations that have complex infrastructure with a lot of virtualized on-premises workloads. Its strengths include both automated orchestration and cloud cost optimization.

Key Features:

  • Multi-cloud and multi-hypervisor support
  • Advanced orchestration automation suitable for DevOps teams
  • Dynamic cloud cost calculations and right-sizing recommendations

Target market: Large enterprises with multi-cloud and multi-hypervisor environments

Deployment: SaaS or on-prem

Security: Automated policy enforcement

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request

10. VMware vRealize

Organizations that use VMware's virtualization software might be interested in the company's vRealize suite of cloud management software. It includes several different components: Automation (provisioning, security and governance), Operations (monitoring, scaling and optimization), Log Insight (log management and troubleshooting) and Lifecycle Manager (lifecycle and infrastructure management). And it comes in three different versions: Standard, Advanced and Enterprise

Key Features:

  • Integration with other VMware products
  • Programmable provisioning
  • Self-driving operations that helps optimize costs

Target market: Large enterprises that use other VMware tools

Deployment: Cloud or on-prem

Security: Integrated security

AI/Machine Learning: No

Pricing: Available on request; based on portable licensing units

Cloud Management Software Comparison Chart

Vendor

Product

Best For

Key Features

BMC

Helix

Enterprises with multiple cloud owners

·   Self-service

·   Machine learning

·   Budget forecasting

Cisco

CloudCenter

DevOps organizations

·   Multi-cloud support

·   DevOps integration

·   Extensible ecosystem

Cloudability

Cloudability

Organizations concerned mainly with cloud cost management

·   Visibility and allocation

·   Data science-based recommenations

·   Continuous improvement

CloudChekr

CloudChekr

MSPs and federal agencies, others with high security needs

·   Multi-cloud support

·   Strong security

·   Best practice checking

Flexera

Cloud Management Platform

Large enterprises that need a full-featured CMP

·   Cloud application templates

·   Advanced automation

·   Extensive integrations

HyperGrid

Intelligent Cloud Management Platform

SaaS providers

·   Analytics-driven orchestration

·   Automation

·   Integration with DevOps tools

Rackware

Hybrid Cloud Platform

Hybrid cloud environments

·   Cloud migration

·   Automated backup

·   Filterable cost reporting

Scalr

Cloud Management Platform

DevOps organizations and service providers

·   Hybrid support

·   Agility

·   Customized self-service portals

Snow/Embotics

Commander

Multi-cloud and multi-hypervisor environments

·   Multi-cloud and multi-hypervisor support

·   Advanced orchestration automation

·   Dynamic cloud costing

VMware

vRealize

Organizations that use other VMware tools

·   Integration with VMware tools

·   Programmable provisioning

·   Self-driving



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