The ITAM Review

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Gartner create Cloud Management Platforms Magic Quadrant

January 2019 saw the release of the first Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms.

What have they looked at?

Gartner have focused on platforms that can manage “multi-cloud” environments but interestingly, they seem to have a different view on what the term means.

Gartner say multi-cloud = “private and public cloud” but to me, and I’d expect most people, multi-cloud involves the use of at least 2 different cloud providers, Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure for example.

Sure, on-premises private cloud/s may be involved too, but it isn’t multi-cloud if it’s just 1 cloud provider + private cloud (that’s hybrid cloud) and it can be multi-cloud with 2 public clouds and no private cloud.

Citrix know what I’m talking about:

“A hybrid cloud is not a multi-cloud, though a multi-cloud may include hybridization. Essentially, a hybrid cloud refers to a pairing of a private cloud and public cloud…Multi-cloud strategy can include the use of a hybrid environment but relies on more than one public cloud.”

Who have they chosen?

Gartner have reviewed 9 solutions from:

  • Flexera
  • VMware
  • Embotics
  • Scalr
  • Morpheus Data
  • CloudBolt
  • ServiceNow
  • HyperGrid
  • MicroFocus

3 of those organisations are in this space through acquisitions – Flexera/RightScale, VMware/CloudHealthTech, and Microfocus/HPE – indicating already that this is a market ripe for takeovers.

Inclusion Criteria

Gartner used a range of criteria to decide which companies made the cut for this inaugural Magic Quadrant.

Product Related

7 cloud management functions* were chosen:

  • Provisioning and orchestration
  • Service request
  • Monitoring & analytics
  • Inventory & classification
  • Cost management & resource optimization
  • Cloud migration, backup, & disaster recovery
  • Identity, security, & compliance

and companies needed to “satisfy more than half” of the required capabilities for at least 4 of the functions.

Functionality is required across Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and on-premises at a minimum.

*“Note 1” towards the bottom of the Magic Quadrant document lists out the specific features Gartner tested.

The ranked the participating vendors across 4 “common use case” scenarios:

  • Agile applications
  • Reliable applications
  • Lift-and-shift datacentre
  • Strategic DevOps transformation

Flexera ranked top for the first 3, and second for the final category. More detailed analysis can be seen in Gartner’s “Critical Capabilities” document here.

Non-product related

To be included, companies had to have:

  • Revenue of $3,000,000+ from previous calendar year

Or

  • $25,000,000+ funding during last 12 months
  • Revenue only from the Cloud management product sold only to “enterprise customers”
  • Minimum 50 paying customers
    • 25 of which must use the product in the public cloud AND spend over $25,000,000 on public cloud
  • Sales & support offices on min. of 3 continents including North America and Europe

This has kept the focus on the larger, more established players for now. With the fast-paced nature of the cloud industry, we may well see more entries in future editions from Gartner.

Does it help me?

Interestingly, Gartner say:

“Organizations should not use the Leaders quadrant as a shortlist of appropriate vendors”

Which, I’d wager, is exactly what most organisations would typically use a Gartner Magic Quadrant for.

They also note that the Magic Quadrant:

“is not a direct evaluation of the CMP products that these vendors offer”

Which, again, I’d say would be a surprise to many people.

ITAM and Cloud Management Platforms

I’ve been talking about public cloud for almost 11 years, I’ve spoken about it at all our conferences – and will continue to do so – and am currently working on a public cloud training series for release later this year. All that is to say, cloud isn’t new, it isn’t going anywhere, and it definitely isn’t the end of ITAM.

For ITAM, it’s not so much the managing of licenses etc. being used in the cloud but more the management of the cloud resources being used, particularly with a view to cost management. Public cloud resources can generate almost limitless bills, so a keen eye on what’s happening and why is a must. My focus with cloud tools so far has been primarily in this area – how can these tools help identify and remediate risks as well as ensure ongoing policies are easier to put in place and govern – as it’s where I see the most relevance to ITAM professionals.

To this end, I was initially surprised to see how poorly CloudHealth (now VMware) was rated by Gartner as my own research has placed them pretty much at the top of the list. However, delving deeper it becomes clear it is simply down to the criteria used for this analysis with Gartner focusing on four use cases that are not generally applicable to ITAM. Gartner echo my own thoughts by saying that CloudHealth:

“is the best of all the vendors listed in this research” and “goes beyond to address more-advanced requirements”

With Flexera and Embotics also being seen as leading in the cost management and resource optimisation space.

Operations

The focus of the document appears more around the Operations side of cloud, with Agile and DevOps specifically being part of what was assessed. The provisioning of services and automation/orchestration of tasks were key criteria; as they should be, as hugely important parts of an organisation’s overall cloud strategy – however, those needs sit elsewhere within the business.

How many tools?

This ties nicely into one of the themes of my current conference session re: Cloud – a cloud tool is multi-faceted and different business units need different things. Organisations must decide as soon as possible on their preference – an overarching tool that does most things quite well, or multiple point products with great depth in a specific area.

What does this mean for budget and ownership, who are the stakeholders, what are the metrics for success? In many ways, this cloud management tool question interlinks with all 3 of the “mega trends” we identified late in 2018:

  • New areas of the business to work with
  • Technology sprawl
  • Cloud

Done well, this could absolutely be a positive thing – giving you access to new allies (and budgets) to help get things done to improve your ITAM practice. However, done poorly, it can quickly lead to duplicated functionality, wasted spend, in-fighting, and confusion within a business; it’s certainly a process which must be planned well.

Conclusion

A Gartner Magic Quadrant is often a sign that a particular industry has “made it” and is getting widespread recognition, as with the first SAM Tools release in 2018. From that perspective, it is good to see Cloud Management being focused upon, but I don’t think it adds much to the “Cloud ITAM” conversation – at least for now.

Further Reading

Citrix – https://www.citrix.com/glossary/what-is-multi-cloud.html

Gartner CMP Magic Quadrant – https://www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-62DH8A1&ct=190108

Gartner CMP Critical Capabilities – https://www.gartner.com/doc/reprints?id=1-62DH8A6&ct=190108

Gartner SAM Magic Quadrant – https://www.itassetmanagement.net/2018/04/20/gartner-mq/

ITAM Review Mega Trends – https://www.itassetmanagement.net/2018/11/07/decade/

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About Rich

Rich has been in the world of IT and software licensing since 2003, having been a software sales manager for a VAR, a Microsoft licensing endorsed trainer, and now an ITAM analyst looking at software licensing and cloud.

A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!

Connect with Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.

One Comment

  1. Greg Holmes says:

    Hi Rich – agree with you on multi-cloud meaning working in multiple public clouds, I would expect most companies have some kind of hybrid cloud anyway with a combination of on-prem and cloud based infrastructure. We’d also recommend you look at the Forrester Waves on Cloud Management and Cloud Cost Monitoring and Optimization as they separate out the different functional areas differently, and again you get some different companies in each area.

    It is an exciting area of development, as the spend on cloud is rapidly increasing compared with regular IT, and it will be good to see how companies change the way they manage IT spend to look after cloud spend more precisely.

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