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Best cloud management software of 2020: CMP's to manage services and costs

Cloud software is fast become an essential component in any business IT environment, with the ability to manage and run applications through a SaaS model, or set up and manage your cloud architecture with a IaaS, or PaaS platform. 

However, for those who need enterprise-level cloud computing services it often pays to work with different cloud services and providers and put them together in a hybrid cloud, run through a cloud management software platform. This makes it easier for general IT management as well as monitor performance and control endpoint security more easily, as well as reduce costs.

This also means having more choice over which cloud services you want to use, not least from AWS, Azure, and others. Additionally, major integrations are usually available with VMware, Citrix, and other often essential computing applications.

Managing so many different services and providers though can become a headache without the right cloud management software or services to help configure different applications and custom IT needs.

Therefore various cloud management solutions have become available, where you can directly aim to manage cloud architecture directly, or else bring in different cloud services under a single third-party for simpler management.

Ultimately, the cloud management software you choose will allow for greater personalization for the demands of your businesses, ensuring that the software fits your needs, rather than the other way around.

Here then are the best in cloud management software, featured in no particular order.

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Best cloud management software - at a glance

  1. Apache CloudStack
  2. OpenStack
  3. CloudHealth
  4. Scalr
  5. Rackspace Cloud Management

(Image credit: Apache CloudStack)

1. Apache CloudStack

Manage your machines with ease thanks to Apache’s free and open source platform

AWS E2 compatible
Free and open source
Not entirely customizable

Apache CloudStack is an open-sourced cloud computing company which creates, manages and deploys infrastructure cloud services.

The software is designed as highly scalable Infrastructure as a Service. The cloud platform is used to deploy and manage large networks of virtual machines. It’s designed for use by companies which offer on-premise cloud or hybrid solutions.

Apache CloudStack supports VMware, KVM and Citrix XenServer amongst others. It is a turnkey solution which includes compute orchestration, Network as a Service, account management, open API and resource accounting.

Users manage their cloud through a user-friendly interface. This gives users access to command line tools and/or RESTful API. Users utilize all compute, networking, software and storage resources from the API.

CloudStack’s API is compatible with AWS EC2 and S3. This is a handy feature for those who wish to deploy hybrid clouds.

The platform controls storage for instances running on hypervisors (primary storage) as well as templates, snapshots and ISO images (secondary storage).

Users have noted that CloudStack is not entirely customizable compared to other open source providers.

(Image credit: OpenStack)

2. OpenStack

For hands-on cloud management

Supports heterogeneous networks
Free and open source
Some documentation issues

OpenStack is a free and open source software platform for cloud computing. It is usually deployed as an infrastructure as a service (Iaas).

The software is designed for creating private and public clouds. Users can control compute, storage and networking resources throughout a datacenter. This is managed from either a dashboard or through OpenStack’s API. 

OpenStack Compute (NOVA) is a cloud computing fabric controller which is designed to manage and automate pools of resources. It works with bare metal configurations, virtual machines and containers. It integrates with legacy systems and third-party technologies.

OpenStack Identity (Keystone) is a directory of users linked to accessible OpenStack services. Keystone supports multiple forms of authentication such as password credentials and web service logins.

OpenStack works with many open source technologies. This makes it suitable for heterogeneous networks. The platform can automate all important processes such as workload provisioning, application lifecycle, networking, storage and container infrastructure.

Some reviewers have complained that OpenStack documentation is not very comprehensible.

(Image credit: VMware)

3. CloudHealth

Hybrid cloud management from vmware

Avoid hidden costs
Plan for budgets
Security and compliance

CloudHealth is virtualization giant vmware's latest software platform aimed at managing hybrid cloud services for enterprises.

The platform covers a number of key areas, such as multi-platform visibility which provides all the reporting and data analytics you need through a customized dashboard. This allows you to see what resources are being used on a department, team, and individual level, so that these can be reallocated to reduce costs as necessary.

You can almost monitor overall costs to identify all costs, as well as discover trends so you can plan ahead to budget according growth models.

Security, compliance, and governance are also built in to ensure you can protect your data and users according to strict and developing policies, to avoid being caught out by a data breach or other leak.

vmware also provide CloudHealth with approved partner cloud services to help build and manage your clouds with exactly what you need, to ensure full compatibility, cost oversight, and security.

(Image credit: Scalr)

4. Scalr

Cloud management platform designed for scale

Avoid vendor lock-in
Simplified self-service
Standardization to reduce costs

Scalr provides a hybrid cloud management platform designed specifically for enterprises that aims to allow you to build a cloud strategy that doesn't compromise on security, cost, or productivity.

This means a self-service approach to cloud management that allows for modular infrastructure with agility while keeping costs down. Cost-effectiveness is driven by automation and standardized application deployments. The aim is to satisfy not just DevOps and security but also finance departments.

Budgeting tools and reports make it easier to manage financial policy and responsibility, and sprawl prevention is built in to prevent spend on unnecessary services. 

However, everything is run through a dashboard that aims to simplify the user experience, with a single user interface and single API all that's required for managing multiple cloud platforms.

Another key point is that Scalr aims to avoid vendor lock-in by encouraging policies that encourages integration with existing systems rather than buying into proprietary software.

(Image credit: Rackspace )

5. Rackspace Cloud Management

For hands-off cloud management

Public and private cloud platforms
Excellent customer support
Little documentation

Rackspace Cloud Management allows you to bundle different cloud services into Rackspace’s platform, but rather than having to manage everything yourself, Rackspace will do that for you. 

The service has partnered with major cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and VMware. The advantage of this system is that you have the scalability of some of the biggest cloud providers around but with the customer support of a smaller company.

Rackspace offers a wide range of cloud services. These include public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud. When it comes to their IaaS solution, Rackspace now builds entirely on open source system. This is because it uses the cloud operating system OpenStack.

The public cloud option provides quick and easy access to the IT resources you need. This reduces the cost of datacentre management. This multi-tenant service offers ‘pay as you go’ scalability which is ideal for users that have heavy or unpredictable traffic.

The private cloud option offers the option of a single tenant environment. This means that servers can run faster due to eliminating the ‘noisy neighbor’ effect. Private cloud offers dedicated servers for maximum security in and out of your data center. With a private server, the user has greater control. These can be hosted on-site or at a service provider’s data center.

Rackspace has also created a hybrid cloud which gives access to a combination of both the private and public clouds. 

You can sign up to Rackspace for free which includes a technical account manager, security guidance and free server monitoring and reporting. Rackspace has an in-depth guide into their prices. This way you can pick the package that best suits your needs.

Other cloud management software to consider

AppFormix is an application management and cloud orchestration platform that aims to simplify operations and make them more effective through visualization of both virtual and physical environments. Users are able to monitor performance baselines to ensure performance optimization through real-time monitoring using the Junos Telemetry Interface and OpenConfig. 

Cloud Lifecycle Management by BMC provides automated provisioning, governance, and management of secure cloud services. The platform provides self-service access to deploy applications tacks across multiple cloud environments. The entire system is intended to be simple to set up, with easy streamlining to run applications in either a test or production environment.

MultiCloud provides a dashboard through a web application for managing files across multiple clouds. MultiCloud offers a directory tree that works like Windows Explorer, making it easy to transfer files into different locations. You can also sync different clouds and leave the process to run automatically. There's a Freeware plan available, and a Premium one with more features that costs $9.90 per month.

DivvyCloud offers a product more focused on managing security, compliance, and governance in cloud environments. It does this through a single interface which allows management and active policy enforcement over multiple clouds, whether public or private, and is compatible with AWS, Azure, Google, Alibaba, and Kubernetes, among others.

Red Hat Cloudforms uses open source technology to provide management tools for virtual and private cloud infrastructure, which allows for automation of standard processes, visualization for analysis, compliance control and user self-service abilities. It also aims to make it easier to manage diverse IT infrastructure with a focus on virtualization, along with deploying containers in the cloud to maximize efficiency.