Multi-Cloud Management Platforms

Everything
you need to know about
multi-cloud management platforms

Your complete guide to multi-cloud management platforms, how they work, and how they can be vital to bringing modern cloud environments under control.

What is a multi-cloud management platform?

A multi-cloud strategy is where an organization uses cloud computing services from multiple vendors to meet their business needs. In the cloud computing model, businesses are effectively renting IT resources on-demand —  be it servers, data storage, software, or something else. 

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are the three largest cloud service providers (CSPs). In an example multi-cloud deployment, an organization might opt to use AWS for its data storage, GCP for machine learning workloads, and Azure for security. By spreading these services between multiple vendors, businesses can leverage the strengths of each one while optimizing costs and reducing dependencies on a single provider. 

For all their potential benefits, multi-cloud environments pose challenges in areas like visibility, security, and portability. Multi-cloud management platforms (MCMPs) alleviate some of these difficulties by providing a centralized solution for monitoring and optimizing resources across different cloud providers, helping IT teams enforce consistent security policies, automate resource provisioning, and reduce management overhead.

The challenges of managing assets in multi-cloud environments

Naturally, any cloud architecture comes with its own difficulties — but there are several that are more prominent with a multi-cloud strategy. Here are the key challenges to consider:

  • Observability and monitoring – Maintaining a holistic view of your cloud services, costs, and security configurations across different platforms can be hard. There may be separate management tools and consoles for each provider, along with differing security, performance, and utilization metrics. 
  • Compliance – Ensuring your various cloud services remain compliant with relevant geographic or industry regulations can be challenging. The more complex your cloud architecture, the more work there is in maintaining consistent security policies across vendors. 
  • Increased risk – Multi-cloud environments naturally increase your exposure to security risks like data breaches. A greater cloud footprint means there are more potential vectors for malicious actors to exploit, especially when combined with the increased difficulties of monitoring your stack. 
  • Management complexity – Running multi-cloud IT operations requires specialist knowledge and training for your staff, as they’ll need experience and skills across multiple cloud platforms. Inconsistent processes between services can lead to errors and security vulnerabilities.
  • Migration and portability – Moving workloads between different cloud platforms can be complex due to proprietary technologies and vendor lock-in. Some providers make it difficult to migrate data or apps to alternative platforms.
  • Greater costs – Employing services from different cloud providers is often going to cost more anyway, but the increased complexity can multiply your IT expense due to the need for things like more staff, specialist knowledge, and increased administrative burden.

The benefits of multi-cloud management platforms

Implementing a multi-cloud management platform is one way you can mitigate the challenges of such an environment. Not only that, but it can help you unlock the maximum value of your multi-cloud deployment through increased operational efficiency, lower costs, and other benefits explained below: 

  • Centralized management and monitoring – MCMPs provide a unified interface for viewing and managing your cloud resources, from contracts and costs to configurations and settings. This eliminates the need to log into separate consoles for each provider, streamlining your workflow and simplifying control of your stack. Likewise, performance and utilization data across all your cloud environments can be consolidated for easier analysis, helping you optimize your multi-cloud deployment. 
  • Automation and standardization – Multi-cloud management platforms can standardize processes across the entire lifecycle of your cloud resources, from provisioning and configuration to scaling and termination. Many MCMPs can automate repetitive workflows, minimizing the chance for errors, improving efficiency, and freeing up your staff for more strategic tasks. 
  • Enhanced security – By leveraging an MCMP, it’s easier to enforce consistent security policies and compliance standards across your cloud environments, reducing cybersecurity risks and simplifying audits. Some platforms offer centralized threat detection capabilities, easing the burden on your staff while protecting your services through real-time monitoring.
  • Improved flexibility – As most multi-cloud management providers are designed to be vendor-agnostic, you can choose the best cloud service provider for each workload based on its specific needs. Furthermore, some MCMPs offer migration tools to facilitate transferring workloads between CSPs.
  • Reduced management costs – The automation and standardization capabilities of MCMPs can make management of your cloud resources more efficient, translating into reduced IT staff workload and potentially lower management costs. The best multi-cloud management platforms also offer tools for cloud cost optimization, helping you eliminate idle resources and identify areas where you could save money.

The 5 best multi-cloud management platforms

Identifying the best multi-cloud management platforms is no easy task — nor is it objective. There’s no one size that fits all, especially when you consider the inherent flexibility and complexity of a multi-cloud strategy. When choosing an MCMP, it’s important to think about your organization’s goals, budget, and IT infrastructure in order to pick a solution that aligns with your business. 

With that said, here are our picks for five of the best multi-cloud management platforms. 

Nutanix

Nutanix is known for pioneering ‘hyperconverged architecture’, a hybrid multi-cloud approach that reduces complexity by unifying the entire data center stack under a software-defined model. 

Its multi-cloud management platform offers capabilities like self-service provisioning and application blueprints, and automated lifecycle management for infrastructure resources. There’s also a strong focus on disaster recovery. 

Nutanix pricing varies depending on the deployment model and features you need, but its multi-cloud management solution is suitable for organizations of all sizes, especially if you’re already invested in the Nutanix ecosystem. It also includes cloud spend management features that support AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

CloudBolt

CloudBolt offers a range of features to reduce complexity in multi-cloud deployments, unifying various public and private cloud platforms in a single interface. With its user-friendly platform, it’s easy for users to request and manage cloud resources with the self-service portal. 

The philosophy underpinning the CloudBolt management platform is cloud FinOps, an operational framework that aims to maximize the value of the cloud within an organization. As such, it’s a strong solution for optimizing cloud spending as well. 

As with many MCMPs, CloudBolt pricing is not directly published, but there are various tiers to suit your organization’s needs. Generally speaking, it’s a cost-effective option that’s suitable for businesses of all sizes.

Morpheus

One of the best multi-cloud management platforms when it comes to ease of use is Morpheus. The solution is no-code, offering a drag-and-drop interface for easy provisioning and workflow automation across more than 20 private and public cloud platforms, including on-premises and hosted. It also integrates with various DevOps tools and IaC solutions. 

Morpheus pricing is based on ‘workload elements’, granular measurement units associated with an application — a single VM or cluster of VMs, a container deployment, or a PaaS service for example. It’s not directly published, but it follows a tier-based structure with price per workload element decreasing with greater volume. 

Ultimately, Morpheus’ codeless solution will appeal to organizations from small to large, especially those with complex infrastructure management needs across hybrid or multi-cloud environments. 

Tanzu CloudHealth by VMware

CloudHealth is another management solution with an emphasis on FinOps, helping organizations derive cost savings across their cloud operations through tools like resource monitoring, forecasting, showback, and intelligent suggestions. It also helps streamline your stack across multiple public cloud providers including AWS, GCP, and Azure. 

Although Tanzu CloudHealth is a valuable tool for any organization running a complex multi-cloud environment, it’s of particular benefit to larger businesses looking to save money while increasing operational efficiency. CloudHealth pricing is not directly published.

Flexera One

Flexera One offers a comprehensive multi-cloud management platform, with core functionalities around cloud optimization, IT asset management (ITAM) and cloud visibility, FinOps, and SecOps. It can also assist with planning and execution of cloud migrations across hybrid and multi-cloud environments. 

The tool is best-suited to organizations with complex IT environments, offering visibility into the entire IT estate from on-prem to containers to SaaS. Another unique selling point is its integration with Technopedia, an all-encompassing technology reference catalog that provides easy access to valuable industry intelligence. As with many other MCMPs, Flexera One pricing is not available directly.

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