As more enterprises adopt hybrid cloud and multi-cloud strategies, their environments are becoming more complex and difficult to manage. To cope, many are turning to hybrid cloud management software.
Cloud computing has become a fact of life for most enterprises. In fact, in its 2018 State of the Cloud Report, vendor Rightscale found that 96 percent of the IT professionals surveyed work for organizations that use cloud computing.
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And organizations are increasing their investments in the public cloud. According to the latest figures from Gartner, “The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 21.4 percent in 2018 to total $186.4 billion, up from $153.5 billion in 2017.”
But organizations aren’t moving all their workloads to the public cloud; many are staying on-premises, creating complex hybrid environments that use private cloud. In the RightScale survey, 81 percent of organizations said they have a multi-cloud strategy, and 51 percent had a hybrid cloud strategy.
IDC’s Ashutosh Bisht, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis, has noted, “Digital transformation is driving multi-cloud and hybrid environments for enterprises to create a more agile and cost-effective IT environment.”
To help organizations monitor and manage these complex environments, dozens of vendors have rolled out hybrid cloud management software. The Forrester Wave: Hybrid Cloud Management, Q2 2018 report examined the best of these solutions. In order to qualify for the report, hybrid cloud management software vendors needed to offer a multipurpose suite; support at least Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and VMware vSphere clouds; and have generated revenue of $7.5 million or more in 2017, among other criteria. The report named four vendors as Leaders and seven as Strong Performers. These are the vendor solutions examined below.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software Vendors
Company Description: RightScale specializes in cloud management delivered via software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Its two key products are RightScale Optima, a cloud cost management tool, and the RightScale Cloud Management Platform, which is detailed below. The firm also offers cloud computing consulting services. Founded in 2006, the company has raised $62.1 million in funding, according to CrunchBase.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: RightScale’s Cloud Management Platform boasts that it offers “one console to control costs and manage existing and new workloads across any cloud or server.” It consists of three separate modules: self-service, which allows end users to spin up new cloud instances in accordance with company policies; cloud management, which allows IT to monitor and manage those cloud instances; and Optima, which provides cost management capabilities.
Strengths:Forrester gave RightScale the highest ratings of any of the hybrid cloud management software vendors evaluated for its report. The firm received a 4.43 (on a 5-point scale) for its current offering, a 4.40 for its strategy and a 2.80 for its number of customers. It got perfect 5.00 scores for cloud platform resources supported, product vision, execution road map, partner ecosystem, commercial model and number of customers.
Weaknesses: Forrester gave RightScale lower scores for its cloud optimization capabilities (2.00) and its product revenue (1.00).
Company Description: Scalr is wholly devoted to hybrid cloud management. It describes itself as “the only CMP designed for the enterprise scale.” It was founded in 2007 and counts Samsung, Expedia, NASA JPL, Gannett and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration among its users. Based in San Francisco, it has raised $7.5 million in funding.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Scalr’s Enterprise Cloud Management Platform (CMP) incorporates cost optimization, security and compliance, customer self-service and a cloud policy engine. The company also has an open source version of its product, but it does not actively promote it.
Strengths:For its current offering, Forrester gave Scalr the second-highest rating of all the solutions considered: 3.89 out of 5. The company got a 3.7 for strategy. Scalr scored especially well for its execution road map, market approach, automation and orchestration, cloud service administration and governance, and integration and APIs.
Weaknesses: Scalr received low scores for its partner ecosystem, number of customers, product revenue and average deal size. The Forrester report noted that it “lacks the enterprise customer base of other evaluated peers.”
Company Description: Best known for its virtualization technology, VMware has become a key provider of solutions that support public and private cloud computing. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, it was founded in 1998. Currently, it is publicly traded under the symbol VMT, but 82 percent of its stock is owned by the privately held Dell Technologies. Dell recently announced a complicated financial transaction that will see it become publicly held once again while VMware remains an independent, publicly traded company.
Products: VMware’s primary hybrid cloud management solution is its vRealize Suite. This cloud management platform includes the company’s vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight and vRealize Business for Cloud products. Together they offer IT automation, intelligent operations and developer tools for accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
Strengths:VMware technology powers many private cloud deployments, which makes the vendor a natural choice for enterprises looking for hybrid cloud management software. Forrester rated it particularly high for its market presence (4.40) and strategy (4.00), while its current offering did not get quite as high of marks (3.44). It received perfect 5.00 ratings for cloud monitoring, product vision, market approach, partner ecosystem, product revenue and average deal size.
Weaknesses: The firm got lower scores for its commercial model, integrations and APIs, and its support services.
Company Description: Another pure-play hybrid cloud management vendor, Embotics is a Canadian firm founded in 2006. It has raised $26 million in funding and has headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, as well as offices in the U.S. Its customers include NASA, Nordstrom, Informatic and others.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Embotics calls its cloud management platform vCommander. It supports multiple hypervisors and multiple clouds, and it promises low-cost installation, easy data export, automated report generation, provisioning automation and orchestration, expense management, cloud governance and more.
Strengths: Embotics earned a 3.24 for its current offering, a 3.40 for its strategy and a 3.00 for its market presence. According to Forrester, its strengths include its market approach and commercial model (both of which received perfect 5.00 ratings), as well as its support services (4.40),
Weaknesses: The analyst firm gave Embotics lower scores for its number of customers (1.00) and product revenue (1.00), as well as its cloud optimization (2.00) and cloud platform resources supported (2.40).
Company Description: Although it specializes in networking technology, Cisco offers a number of other products, including mobility, security, collaboration, data center infrastructure and cloud computing solutions. Founded in 1984, it has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, and is traded on the NASDAQ exchange as CSCO. In 2017, it reported operating income of $48.005 billion.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Cisco offers a suite of multicloud software solutions, including CloudCenter, which is built on technology the company acquired from CliQr in 2016. Its key features include support for more than 20 data center and cloud environments, deployment on demand, centralized governance and security, and scalable architecture.
Strengths: Forrester rated Cisco’s current offering at only a 2.43, but gave it higher marks for strategy (3.70). It got perfect 5.00 scores for execution road map and partner ecosystem, as well as a fairly high score for cloud service administration and governance (3.90).
Weaknesses: Cisco received only a 1.00 in all the market presence categories rated by Forrester. It also had low scores for cloud monitoring (1.00) and support services (1.60).
6. CloudHealth Technologies
Company Description: As you might guess from its name, CloudHealth Technologies focuses on providing cloud management software; it says it offers “the most trusted cloud management platform.” Founded in 2012, this Boston-based startup has raised an impressive $85.7 million in funding, and it counts Amtrak, Dow Jones, Pinterest, Universal Music Group and Yelp among its customers.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: CloudHealth’s platform shares a name with the company. It includes tools for collecting, consolidating, evaluating and reporting cloud data, as well as optimizing costs, governing cloud uses and making automation recommendations based on intelligence.
Strengths:Forrester gave CloudHealth solid rankings across the board for its current offering (3.10), strategy (3.40) and market presence (3.00.) The startup got its best scores in product vision (5.00), number of customers (5.00) and cloud monitoring (4.60).
Weaknesses:The firm received lower ratings for its average deal size (1.00), automation and orchestration (1.80) and integrations and APIs (2.00).
Company Description: Turbonomic, previously known as VMTurbo, now focuses solely on “workload automation for hybrid cloud.” The company originally launched in Boston in 2008 with products centered on virtualization management. According to CrunchBase, it has raised $117.5 million in funding.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Turbonomic’s solution, also called Turbonomic, optimizes hybrid cloud performance, cost and compliance in according with company policies in real time. It is available in three editions — essentials, advanced and premier — all of which can run on premises or in the public cloud. The company claims more than 100 companies from the Fortune 500 list, including Morgan Stanley and ConocoPhilips, use its platform.
Strengths:Forrester gave Turbonomic average ratings in each of the three major categories it assessed: 3.27 for its current offering, 3.00 for its strategy and 3.00 for its market presence. The company got perfect 5.00 ratings in cloud optimization, cloud monitoring and execution road map.
Weaknesses: Turbonomic got its lowest scores for product vision (1.00), cloud service administration and governance (2.10) and cloud platform resources supported (2.40). The Forrester report further noted, “Turbonomic does not provision resources in its portal, nor does it intend to add this feature. Customers must supplement it with native cloud platforms or their choice of third-party orchestration tools. Most of Turbonomic’s weaknesses are a direct result of this.”
8. Micro Focus
Company Description: Headquartered in Newbury, Berkshire, England, Micro Focus offers a wide range of different enterprise applications. In 2017, it merged with HPE Software, dramatically expanding its product line. It is traded on the NYSE under the symbol MFGP and in London under the symbol MCRO. Last year, it reported revenue of $1.38 billion.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Designed for DevOps teams, the Micro Focus Hybrid Cloud Management solution offers cloud brokering and governance, self-service hybrid IT delivery, cloud-agnostic service designs, IT process orchestration, continuous delivery and deployment capabilities, and container-based architecture. According to a study cited on its website, the solution reduces time to satisfy development resource requests by 95 percent and leads to 59 percent higher productivity for fulfillment teams.
Strengths: Micro Focus received average scores for its current offering (3.01) and strategy (3.00) but ranked very high for its market presence (4.40). It got perfect scores for its partner ecosystem, product revenue and average deal size, as well as a very high score (4.50) for its integrations and APIs. The reported added, “Micro Focus Hybrid Cloud Management isn’t a light-weight product. In fact, it’s designed for highly complex enterprises.”
Weaknesses:The vendor earned its lowest scores for its cloud optimization (1.00), commercial model (1.00) and support services (1.60).
Company Description: Founded in 2016, HyperGrid is a young startup that offers solutions for what it terms the “software-defined cloud.” It is based in San Jose, California, and has raised $24 million in venture funding.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: HyperGrid’s HyperCloud intelligent cloud management platform promises cost savings, improved productivity, faster time to market, risk reduction and business transformation. It offers standard pricing (based on VMs or cores) or enterprise pricing (flat rate), as well as custom pricing options for MSPs who use HyperCloud to create their own solutions.
Strengths: HyperGrid received its best category score for its current offering (3.59) but lower scores for its strategy (2.70) and market presence (1.60). Only its commercial model received a perfect 5.00 rating, but its integrations and APIs (4.50) and cloud platform resources supported (4.40) also scored highly.
Weaknesses: Forrester gave the company 1.00 ratings for its market approach, number of customers and product revenue.
10. Red Hat
Company Description: Best known for its Linux distribution, Red Hat offers many different kinds of open source enterprise software. Recently, it has been increasing its efforts in the cloud computing space, emphasizing its OpenShift and OpenStack products. It is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is traded on the NYSE under the symbol RHT. In 2017, it generated revenue of $2.9 billion.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Red Hat’s hybrid cloud management software is known as CloudForms. According to the company website, it ” allows IT departments to control users’ self-service abilities to provision, manage, and ensure compliance across virtual machines, clouds, containers, and even physical infrastructure.”
Strengths: Forrester gave Red Hat lower than average marks for its current offering (2.80), strategy (2.10) and market presence (1.60). Its best scores were for support services (3.60) and cloud service administration and governance (3.10). The report also said that Red Hat is a “natural choice” for companies that also use other Red Hat tools like Ansible, OpenStack or OpenShift.
Weaknesses: Red Hat received 1.0 scores for its cloud optimization, execution road map, number of customers and product revenue.
11. BMC Software
Company Description: Founded in 1980, BMC Software has a long history of providing many different kinds of enterprise software. However, it is currently branding itself primarily as a “multi-cloud management company.” Its website claims that “92 of the Forbes Global 100 rely on BMC to accelerate their digital initiatives.” It’s headquarters is located in Houston, Texas, and it is privately held.
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: BMC doesn’t offer one all-in-one hybrid cloud management solution; rather, it has nearly a dozen different integrated tools that offer cost management, performance management, monitoring, security, automation and migration capabilities.
Strengths: BMC got above average scores from Forrester for its current offering (3.15) and market presence (3.80), but a below average score for strategy (2.30). It got its highest marks for product revenue (5.00), integrations and APIs (4.50) and cloud monitoring (4.40).
Weaknesses: Forrester gave BMC lower scores for its execution road map (1.00), commercial model (1.00) and support services (1.60).
Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Comparison Chart
|Vendor||Hybrid Cloud Management Software||Strengths||Weaknesses|
|RightScale||Cloud Management Platform||• Cloud platform resources supported
• product vision
• Execution road map
• Partner ecosystem
• Commercial model
• Number of customers
|• Cloud optimization
|Scalr||Scalr Enterprise Cloud Management Platform||• Execution road map
• Market approach
• Automation and orchestration
• Cloud service administration and governance
• Integration and APIs
|• Partner ecosystem
• Number of customers
• Product revenue
• Average deal size.
|VMware||vRealize Suite||• Cloud monitoring
• Product vision
• Market approach
• Partner ecosystem
• Product revenue
• Average deal size
|• Commercial model
• Integrations and APIs
• Support services
|Embotics||vCommander||• Market approach
• Commercial model
• Support services
|• Cloud optimization
• Cloud platform resources supported