With the continued expansion of web-based applications, data storage, and other types of virtual operations, cloud management services have become an important feature in both the public and private sectors of computerized activities. Vendors that offer both the technical know-how and the ability to oversee cloud-based resources help their clientele navigate the complex world of 21st-century computing resources to achieve the most efficient and economical outcomes.
The Virtual Environment
Simply defined, the cloud management services function to help end users maintain and utilize a shared collection of computing resources that can be configured to meet their specific needs. These resources may involve a combination of software and hardware. Data storage applications, network access, and servers, all of which would be extremely expensive if individually owned-become economically feasible when shared among a pool of users.
The term “cloud” was a metaphorical description of how this type of computing environment functioned. To the individual or business entity accessing a network system offered by a vendor or provider, the individual elements that make up this virtual environment are obscured, as if hidden by a cloud. While the exact origin is unclear, popular usage of this description first appeared in the mid-1990s and has gained wide acceptance since that time.
What Is Involved
Cloud management services perform a wide variety of functions for their clients that cover the important aspects of this kind of virtual computing. These functions include:
- Monitoring Network Security – This may be the single most critical task that a vendor provides. With numerous hacking and security breaches being reported almost weekly, ensuring that a network is protected from outside intrusion is of paramount importance.
- Providing Access – A virtual network is of little use if the end users are unable to access its resources. Creating and maintaining secure gateways for clients to be able to log in and perform their desired tasks is a critical mission feature.
- Resource Allocation – As demands on the network increase, both in terms of items such as data transfer, storage, and bandwidth requirements, providers must be flexible and adaptable enough to allocate resources where needed and for how long.
- Manage And Track Both Software And Hardware – Keeping track of the software and hardware required overseeing the network and to maintain the level of functionality expected by end users is another task that providers must undertake. This may include updating and/or replacing programs and equipment that is no longer appropriate for the purposes and functions of the network of its users.
The importance and scope of cloud management services will expand as the number of individuals and business entities that want to incorporate the advantages of shared computing resources continues to grow. This expansion will also bring with it challenges for these managers.
Allocation of resources to meet a growing number of applications, many of which are self-service in nature that can appear without notice consuming bandwidth and space and then disappear at any time is an ongoing challenge for cloud managers. Keeping the balance between the customizable features of the virtual network while not depleting or limiting the resource capability will require new monitoring tools and protocols.
Maintaining cost-effectiveness will also be a major challenge in the future. Affordability for access will have to be measured in terms of the actual expense in managing the virtual network at the level of efficiency that clients expect.
With technology continuing to expand the computing frontier, vendors who will help manage this virtual world will become an important aspect of the information-driven environment of the 21st century.