Here are some services and vendors to keep an eye on
Managing the cloud is a tricky endeavour. Here are 10 tools and services that can help.
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 organisations are realising that traditional IT governance processes, including asset management, inventory, metering and service level agreements, apply to the cloud. But as they go through their decision-making processes, many IT organisations are realising how much they don't know about how they're managing applications and infrastructure internally. And that's where PlanningIT can help.
2. Apica WebExcellence
How it works: Apica uses a four part cloud-based methodology to help ensure a website 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.
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 catalogue 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.
4. Jamcracker Platform
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 catalogue 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 organisations 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.
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 organisation 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.
How it works: A patented behaviour learning engine powers the company's predictive analytics platform. The engine continuously analyses, correlates and normalises thousands of simultaneous performance variables from dozens of enterprise sub-systems, and builds a behaviour 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 organisations forecast performance. Now as IT gets more cloud friendly and Netuitive's platform more cloud-capable, the company is gaining notice.
How it works: Lightweight agents on production servers send data about an application's activity to New Relic's data centre for instantaneous processing by analytics and reporting engines. From the New Relic web application dashboard, IT can customise views, drill into slow transactions and get immediate insight from the end user's behaviour 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.
8. Opscode Chef
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 organisations are adapting by embracing service provider mindsets and building out internal cloud resources.
9. Strangeloop Site Optimiser Service
How it works: Strangeloop Site Optimiser 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 analyses usage patterns and page content, and develops a dynamic repository of rules and cached resources. This technology can reduce the number of round trips required to render web page content, execute clientside code in the most efficient order, pre-load resources that are likely to be needed for future requests, and tailor behaviour to exploit the capabilities of the user's browser, the company says.
How it works: Once an IT organisation 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 organisations, the cloud decision can be fraught with paralysing 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.