10 Cloud Management Companies to Watch

Managing the cloud is a tricky endeavor. Here are 10 tools and services that can help.

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Managing the cloud is a tricky endeavor. Here are 10 tools and services that can help.

Cloud complexity

10 cloud management companies to watch

5 cool tools for cloud management

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What it offers: PlanningIT, an integrated IT planning and business IT management software suite

How it works: PlanningIT is a suite of modules, each covering a specific aspect of architecture-based strategic IT planning. Application architecture, business demand management, enterprise architecture, program portfolio and value management modules are available, for example.

Why it's worth watching: IT organizations are realizing that traditional IT governance processes, including asset management, inventory, metering and service-level agreements (SLA), apply to the cloud. But as they go through their decision-making processes, many IT organizations are realizing how much they don't know about how they're managing applications and infrastructure internally. And that's where PlanningIT can help.

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What it offers: Apica WebExcellence, a suite of load testing and performance monitoring tools for cloud applications

How it works: Apica uses a four-part, cloud-based methodology to help ensure a Web site performs at its best. For load testing, it simulates real-world load conditions in a cloud-based test environment using scripts to define custom user scenarios aligned with performance and business goals. External cloud agents measure all browsers and geographical profiles, and Apica identifies capacity and load thresholds and pinpoints problem spots. The suite also leverages tuning technology combined with static caching to increase Web throughput by up to 40 times current levels, and an overload function protects performance and systems during unexpected high-load scenarios. With the additional Apica ServerMonitor, IT organizations can compare performance data and integrate system data from behind the firewall with load test data.

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What is offers: V-Commander, private cloud management

How it works: Embotics takes an all-in-one approach with V-Commander, says Jason Cowie, vice president of product management at the company. In less than an hour, IT can install the software and be ready to use its self-service provisioning and service request management functions, as well as the service catalog and wizard-driven rapid provisioning capabilities.

Why it's worth watching: Embotics features enhanced self-service portal features and automation capabilities, as well as integrated IT cost visibility and chargeback and a slew of service request management functions.

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What it offers: Jamcracker Platform, cloud services delivery and life-cycle management

How it works: Using the Jamcracker Platform, enterprise IT can integrate user provisioning, administration and single sign-on functions. Once that's completed, IT can provide users a catalog of services and then centrally and consistently manage provisioning, access, administration, security, audit and chargeback, the company says.

Why it's worth watching: As enterprises pick a cloud services provider over here and another over there, and build up a private cloud or two, IT organizations face the challenge of "managing all this stuff," says Jeff Kaplan, managing director of ThinkStrategies. Increasingly, they'd like that management from a single dashboard, he adds. A variety of third parties, Jamcracker among them, has risen to the challenge of providing a central point of control for cloud services.

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What it offers: Jitterbit 4.0, a data integration suite

How it works: The Jitterbit platform orchestrates integration processes, receives and sends messages, connects to systems, records activities, and validates, cleanses and transforms data. An organization can install Jitterbit Application on multiple user computers for collaborative integration work, the company says.

Why it's worth watching: The data integration challenge is among the most pressing for enterprises using multiple cloud service providers as well as looking to connect legacy and cloud systems. Jitterbit offers point-and-click integration for CRM applications, databases, ERP systems, major SaaS applications, project management applications and XML.

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What it offers: Netuitive, a predictive analytics platform for physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure

How it works: A patented behavior learning engine powers the company's predictive analytics platform. The engine continuously analyzes, correlates and normalizes thousands of simultaneous performance variables from dozens of enterprise sub-systems, and builds a behavior profile for each data stream.

Why it's worth watching: Netuitive has been talking up the benefits of an analytic layer that lies across the entire IT stack, aggregating disparate monitoring data and serving it up a meaningful way to help IT organizations forecast performance. Now as IT gets more cloud friendly and Netuitive's platform more cloud-capable, the company is gaining notice.

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What it offers: Application performance management SaaS, with real user monitoring (RUM)

How it works: Lightweight agents on production servers send data about an application's activity to New Relic's data center for instantaneous processing by analytics and reporting engines. From the New Relic Web application dashboard, IT can customize views, drill into slow transactions and get immediate insight from the end user's behavior down to the line of code.

Why it's worth watching: Assuring end users have a great application experience can be a heavy burden for modern IT operations. But if you are running applications across a cloud infrastructure, using a cloud-based performance management service can help.

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What it offers: Opscode Chef, an open source systems integration framework; Opscode Private Chef, an on-premises cloud infrastructure automation hardware appliance; Opscode Hosted Chef, cloud infrastructure automation software delivered as a service

How it works: Opscode Chef allows infrastructure management via code. It relies on reusable, shareable Recipes and Cookbooks for describing and integrating infrastructure components behind the enterprise firewall or within the hosted Opscode cloud.

Why it's worth watching: With enterprise application developers gravitating toward the use of quick-and-easy cloud resources, IT organizations are adapting by embracing service provider mindsets and building out internal cloud resources.

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What it offers: Strangeloop Site Optimizer Service, software delivered via the cloud and providing scalable, on-demand optimization for cloud- based Web sites; also available as a hardware network device or virtual appliance.

How it works: Strangeloop Site Optimizer is an expert system that learns the resource usage patterns of a site and dynamically applies best practice coding techniques by rewriting pages, without requiring any source code modifications. It analyzes usage patterns and page content, and develops a dynamic repository of rules and cached resources. This technology can reduce the number of roundtrips required to render Web page content, execute client-side code in the most efficient order, preload resources that are likely to be needed for future requests, and tailor behavior to exploit the capabilities of the user's browser, the company says.

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What it offers: UptimeCloud, cloud cost and capacity management SaaS

How it works: Once an IT organization signs up for the service, Uptime begins monitoring its cloud infrastructure. UptimeCloud captures pricing information in real time and feeds it into its rating and pricing engine, says Uptime CTO Alex Bewley.

Why it's worth watching: For many IT organizations, the cloud decision can be fraught with paralyzing uncertainties regarding the monthly infrastructure bill. Uptime aims to eliminate the mystery by providing visibility into how much cloud computing costs in real time, across applications, services, line of business, user location and instance.