Multi-cloud Management In the Current Times

Service providers (SPs), managed service providers (MSPs), and systems integrators (SIs) alike are pursuing an unprecedented opportunity created by the proliferation of cloud services. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), as well as enterprises and government agencies are all experiencing an explosive growth in proliferation of cloud services by their users and customers. Cloud services includes software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or the proverbial anything-as-a-service (XaaS). In fact for IaaS services we are now invariably looking at multi-cloud services.

Cloud adoption is being driven by its business value, its ability to help drive innovation, reduce time to market for new services, and its capability to extend self-service applications and services to lines of business users. Cloud adoption enhances the business’ ability to respond rapidly to ever changing business requirements and priorities, and to innovate; - and thus go to market with enhanced differentiation and competitiveness.

Businesses are increasingly adopting "cloud first" mandates and policies – driving the use of cloud services in an often ad-hoc and uncontrolled basis. This leads to "multi-cloud services sprawl", bringing with it;

  • increased operational complexity and cost
  • lack of visibility related to the spend/cost,
  • risk of security breaches
  • lapses in regulatory and internal policy compliance

Clearly, there is a need for a platform that enables the SPs, MSPs and SIs to manage all types of services across multiple cloud service providers, read multi-cloud. Faced with this unprecedented opportunity, SPs have two high level options: build or buy a multi-cloud platform.

'I can build it'…is not fast enough…nor cost effective
We have seen a number of SPs and SIs spending tens of millions of dollars in an effort to build a platform to meet the demands of their constituents only to look outside for an enablement solution later. The major reason behind this is that technology is changing at such a fast pace that it is next to impossible for SPs to keep up with the vast number of cloud services (XaaS) that are becoming available. Also, newer capabilities are being added continually by the cloud services providers (CSPs): be it public cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or private cloud providers such as VMware, OpenStack, and IBM SoftLayer, not to mention the hybrid cloud services offered by some of the same vendors.

Jamcracker Platform – a multi-cloud management enablement platform – provides the solution
The Jamcracker Platform is a time-tested, standards-based, globalized, multi-tier, multi-tenant, multi-cloud platform that enables SPs, MSPs and SIs alike to get to market faster and in a more cost effective manner. Below is a visual representation of Gartner's view of Cloud Management with focus on Cloud Infrastructure.


Source: Gartner (April 2016)

As defined by Gartner the Access Management component provides the ability to manage users and enable them to access cloud services and perform various activities based on permissions. A cloud management platform needs to have an easy to use user administration, role based privileges, and identity and access management capabilities. The Service Management capabilities include catalog management, service provisioning, billing, charge back, invoicing etc. A strong Cloud Management Platform (CMP) should optimize the usage of cloud resources and should have optimization features such as defining and automation of policies, monitoring of resources, and out-of-box APIs to integrate to external resources.

If you have been thinking about streamlining your multi-cloud services management, then exploring the Jamcracker Cloud Management Platform is a worthwhile endeavor. Jamcracker enables SPs, MSPs and SIs to offer infrastructure services such as Compute, Storage, Application Stacks, and Networks to their customers through a production-ready platform. The Jamcracker Platform enables SPs, MSPs and SIs to provide their customers with a single pane of glass approach for:

  • Cloud Services Brokerage (CSB)
  • Cloud Management Platform(CMP)
  • Cloud Governance
  • Cloud cost management and Operations Management
The Jamcracker platform releases that have happened over last two years provide a very robust set of capabilities including support for:

Multiple CSPs: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, VMware, OpenStack, IBM SoftLayer and others.

Cloud Service Brokerage (CSB): Enabling the brokering of any type of service – SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, XaaS.

Cloud Management Platform (CMP): Compute, Application Stacks, Block Storage, Image Management, and Networks.

Microsoft CSP: CSP Direct and Indirect partner support for Microsoft Azure and Office 365 (40+ services).

Cloud Governance: Metering, Monitoring, Policy Management, Reporting.

Cloud Cost Management: Usage Based Billing, Budgeting, Showback/Chargeback.

Operations Management: Service Orchestration, IT Helpdesk and Ticketing, Delegated user and Catalog administration, User provisioning.


Jamcracker Catalog

IaaS Dashboard

Application Stack Designer

Specifically, what are the key Cloud Management Platform (CMP) capabilities of the Jamcracker Platform?

Some of the specific multi-cloud management capabilities are listed here:

Jamcracker Platform's Application Stack designer helps organizations design, deploy and manage everything from VMs, applications, storage to databases as cloud-based solution stacks. It enables workload automation and provides the flexibility to automate the deployment of multi-cloud servers with the required business processes and applications instantaneously.

You can create VMs or multi-cloud multi-tier Application Stacks using the Designer.

You can track progress of the VMs and Application Stacks as they are being created. After launching, you can modify/resize the configuration details (Flavor, RAM and CPU) of the VMs.

The platform allows you to add/attach new/existing storage volumes (Block Storage) to your VMs. You can create a volume snapshot at any time you want.

You can configure networking i.e. which subnet of which VPC would you like to put the VM or Application Stack under. You can choose from multiple vNICs to configure the network interfaces to the VMs.

The platform supports multiple Policies. You can choose from an event based or scheduled based policy, say, for Monitoring the VMs. You could decide to monitor parameters such as CPU utilization, RAM utilization etc. Policies can be used to automate tasks and actions which might otherwise need user's intervention. You can monitor and apply policies to VMs, volumes, Application Stacks. For example, you can create a policy to resize the instance if your instance's CPU utilization is at the critical level 3 times in 60 seconds.

The platform provides an easy-to-use UI to access all the VMs and Application Stacks you have created.

You can also import existing VMs that you have created in your environment prior to implementing the Jamcracker Platform allowing you to view/manage the VMs from the Instances page

The widget based IaaS Dashboard provides you visibility to your organization's cloud (IaaS) resources. It allows you to view IaaS usage data using a variety of visualizations such as area graphs and bar charts.

You can use the Budgeting module to define and allocate Budgets by creating budget codes. You can input your specific budget codes while creating resources (VMs, Application Stacks etc.). The system will validate and provide alerts if the cost of services you are purchasing is exceeding the allocated if the budget. You could also configure an approval workflow to require admin approval if budget is being exceeded.

Jamcracker Platform provides a Content Management System (CMS) based store front allowing you to have a custom look/feel/layout for your portal. Any Drupal developer can make changes to the CMS based portal. Since the CMS store is based on Drupal, [35000 plug-ins] it inherently supports integration to social media, recommend store or service, rating of services or applications by users of the store etc.

Production platform being used by SPs around the globe

The Jamcracker Platform is a fully-baked, CSB and CMP platform currently supporting SPs, MSPs and SIs around the globe including:
  • SCC - Europe's largest independent Information Technology services business, with over 2,500 customers in more than 50 countries.
  • Telecom Malaysia/VADS Berhad – Malaysia's leading Managed ICT Service provider currently serving more than 500 medium to large businesses. A wholly owned subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia (TM) Berhad.
  • First Distribution – Africa's leading distributor for data center, enterprise and cloud solutions supporting value add resellers across 26 countries.
  • GlobalWeb - Vouclicar – GlobalWeb Group, a leader in cloud computing solutions and outsourcing in Pan America. Providing solutions to SME’s, Enterprises and Government.
  • SITA – The World's Leading multinational information technology company providing IT and managed services to the air transport industry with over 2,800 enterprise clients in 200+ countries.

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