Microsoft this week launched a tool that initially is best for managing its public and private clouds but that the company says will soon enable enterprises to control hybrid clouds based on Amazon Web Services and VMware clouds, too.
"[The Operations Management Suite] helps simplify management of your datacenter assets wherever they live," wrote Jeremy Winter, a product manager at Microsoft, in a blog post. "That means any instance in any cloud, including your data center, Azure, AWS, Windows Server, Linux, VMware, and OpenStack."
Microsoft, which revealed OMS at its inaugural Ignite Conference in Chicago, is attempting to fill a void in the market for management tools that work across clouds. Winter says about three quarters of Microsoft Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) customers want to use private or public cloud resources. OMS is meant to be a "top of stack, manage across infrastructures" tool, he says.
The biggest takeaway from Microsoft's Ignite demo is that there's still a lot of development to do on OMS support for other vendors' clouds isn't baked in yet.
What OMS does include are features for analytics (such as monitoring logs to show how cloud resources are being used), automation (for creating and running automated tasks), availability (to manage automatic backup and recovery) and security (to define role-based access controls for cloud resources).
The pressure is on for vendors to deliver multi-cloud, multi-vendor management tools. At the Interop conference last week, software vendor ActiveState's Vice President of Strategy Bernard Golden spoke about the need for a management platform (not specifically from Microsoft) that can span public and private clouds and handle workloads from multiple vendors.
There actually are some options available for multi-vendor hybrid cloud management. Companies like RightScale and Dell (through its acquisition of Enstratius) do this type of work already.
Other vendors are enabling such functionality as well. Amazon Web Services, for example, has a VMware vSphere plugin that allows VMware's management software to launch and manage AWS virtual machines. VMware's vRealize Suite allows management of AWS resources, too.
All of those are fairly lightweight management tools though, meaning they do not provide deep integration with offerings from competing vendors. It's a tricky line that providers like Microsoft, VMware and Amazon have to tread: They want to encourage use of their clouds as much as possible, but customers want to be able to use and manage offerings from competing vendors. Just how deeply Microsoft supports hybrid cloud workloads from competing vendors will be an intriguing topic to watch in the coming months.
A free preview of OMS is available now; pricing for the full product starts at $2.30 per GB of operational insights, $0.02 per minute of automation and $5 per VM per month. Full pricing details can be found here.