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12 Best Cloud Management Tool Shortlist

Many organizations who've been "all-in" on cloud are starting to wonder if that's money well spent. After a thorough evaluation, I've selected the 12 best cloud management tools to help implement your cloud strategy.

  1. IBM Cloud - Best for enterprise-scale operations
  2. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure - Best for robust database management
  3. CloudCheckr - Best for comprehensive cost optimization
  4. Flexera - Best for software asset management
  5. Morpheus - Best for multi-cloud and hybrid IT environments
  6. Snow Software - Best for license compliance management
  7. Cisco Intersight - Best for hardware and software integration
  8. ManageEngine Applications Manager - Best for real-time application performance monitoring
  9. CloudBolt - Best for simplified hybrid cloud automation
  10. CloudAware - Best for multi-factor cloud security
  11. OpenStack - Best for customizable open-source cloud infrastructure
  12. Apptio Cloudability - Best for granular cloud spending analysis

Navigating cloud technologies, especially in public cloud environments, can be complex. Cloud management tools are your allies, acting as a cloud orchestrator to streamline workflows, interface with APIs, and manage the infrastructure of your data centers. I understand the need for robust tools, particularly when you're all-in on cloud deployments.

The following list of tools will simplify allocation, ensure authentication, and provide observability in your systems. From my perspective, the best cloud management software even tackles the intricacies of managing hypervisors, cloud-native applications, and lifecycle management. They give you a clear line of sight into your infrastructure management, easing the critical pain points. So, let's dive into these options and find a management service that best aligns with your needs.

What is a Cloud Management Tool?

Cloud management tools are software designed to monitor and control cloud computing resources and services. These tools are a vital part of managing an organization's cloud infrastructure and are used by IT professionals, developers, system administrators, and business analysts alike.

They offer features such as cost management, security, compliance, performance monitoring, and automation, among others. Essentially, they help streamline and enhance cloud resource management, facilitating a more efficient, secure, and cost-effective operation. Whether it's a small startup scaling its operations or a large corporation managing vast data, cloud management tools provide the functionality and control needed for successful cloud strategy execution.

Overviews of the 12 Best Cloud Management Tools

1. IBM Cloud - Best for enterprise-scale operations

A photo focused on the dashboard of IBM Cloud.
IBM Cloud's dashboard displays features such as resource summaries, maintenance notifications, and an extension tab for easy access to more widgets available.

IBM Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services from IBM, one of the technology industry's stalwarts. Designed to support apps at a large scale, it's my top pick for enterprises that have complex, expansive operations and need robust, reliable infrastructure.

Why I Picked IBM Cloud:

I selected IBM Cloud for its extensive capabilities and proven track record. It stands out in handling enterprise-scale operations due to its robust infrastructure and the breadth of its service offerings. I judged it as best for enterprise operations due to its ability to handle high demand levels and its flexible, customizable solutions.

Standout features & integrations:

IBM Cloud provides a range of solutions, including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, which allows businesses to tailor the service to their needs. Its AI-powered capabilities, such as IBM Watson, offer cutting-edge functionality. The platform also integrates well with various IBM services and third-party applications, offering a well-rounded ecosystem.

Pricing:

IBM Cloud pricing starts from $10/user/month (billed annually). However, the final cost might vary depending on the specific services and capabilities chosen.

Pros:

  • Robust and scalable infrastructure
  • Wide range of service offerings
  • Strong AI and machine learning capabilities

Cons:

  • Can be complex to navigate
  • Customer service could be improved
  • The pricing model can be unclear

2. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure - Best for robust database management

A photo focused on the main page of the tool Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
The main page of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure displays quick actions to access creating VM instances, setting up networks, and more.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) brings Oracle's unparalleled database expertise to the cloud. With a wide array of cloud services and solutions, OCI makes a great choice for organizations prioritizing solid database management.

Why I Picked Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

I chose Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for its exceptional database management capabilities. It's evident that Oracle's wealth of experience in database technology is embedded into OCI, making it stand out among cloud providers. Furthermore, OCI's emphasis on database management solidifies my rationale that it is best for robust database solutions.

Standout features & integrations:

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides high-performance computing capabilities and superior networking speed. Its Autonomous Database stands out for self-repairing and auto-tuning features. OCI also integrates seamlessly with various Oracle applications, third-party software, and numerous developer tools, providing a comprehensive cloud solution.

Pricing:

Pricing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure starts at $25/user/month. The cost can vary based on the specific services selected.

Pros:

  • Unparalleled database management capabilities
  • High-performance computing
  • Rich ecosystem of integrations

Cons:

  • Steep learning curve for newcomers
  • Pricing can be complex and less transparent
  • Limited geographic coverage in comparison to other cloud providers

3. CloudCheckr - Best for comprehensive cost optimization

A photo highlighting the dashboard of the tool CloudChekr.
The dashboard of CloudChekr displays the charts and graphs for information such as costs by service and computed costs.

CloudCheckr is a multi-functional cloud management platform with a focus on cloud cost optimization. Its capacity to provide detailed insights into cloud spending makes it an exceptional choice for businesses seeking to monitor and control their cloud expenditures effectively.

Why I Picked CloudCheckr:

When I decided to include CloudCheckr in my selection, the tool's robust cost optimization and expenditure visibility features particularly stood out. In my comparison, it clearly excelled in providing comprehensive cost management, making it my top pick for businesses that want to understand and optimize their cloud spending effectively.

Standout features & integrations:

CloudCheckr delivers deep cost and usage reporting features, making it easier to track and optimize expenditures. The platform offers security and compliance functionality as well, providing added value. It integrates with various major cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, enabling users to manage all their cloud assets in one place.

Pricing:

CloudCheckr's pricing starts from $75/user/month (billed annually). But remember, the price can vary based on the scale of your cloud environment and the specific features you require.

Pros:

  • Detailed cost and usage reports
  • Effective security and compliance features
  • Broad cloud provider integration

Cons:

  • Can be complex to set up
  • Some features require technical expertise
  • Limited customer support hours

4. Flexera - Best for software asset management

A photo of the workspaces tab found in Flexera.
As Flexera integrates with multiple cloud providers, it can be further checked on its workspaces tab.

Flexera is a leading cloud management platform, notably strong in software asset management. It provides critical insights and facilitates informed decisions about software licenses, renewals, and expenditures, making it ideal for organizations that prioritize software asset governance.

Why I Picked Flexera:

I chose Flexera for its superior software asset management capabilities. The tool excels in tracking software licenses, ensuring compliance, and managing software renewals. In my evaluation, it distinguished itself as the best option for businesses that want to effectively control and optimize their software assets.

Standout features & integrations:

The tool offers a full suite of IT asset management features, including license optimization and IT spending transparency. It integrates with multiple cloud providers and platforms such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and VMware, simplifying management across various environments.

Pricing:

Flexera's pricing starts from $100/user/month (billed annually). However, the final cost may vary based on the features and services you need.

Pros:

  • Strong software asset management
  • Broad cloud provider integration
  • Excellent license optimization features

Cons:

  • Can be complex for new users
  • Customer support can improve
  • Pricing may be high for small businesses

5. Morpheus - Best for multi-cloud and hybrid IT environments

A screenshot of the cloud cost analysis tab of the tool Morpheus.
This is how cloud cost analysis is processed in Morpheus.

Morpheus is a comprehensive cloud management tool, well-suited for managing hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures. It provides robust orchestration features that offer seamless control across different cloud platforms, earning its place as a leading choice for complex IT environments.

Why I Picked Morpheus:

I selected Morpheus because of its strong performance in multi-cloud and hybrid environments. Its exceptional capability to manage, orchestrate, and automate across numerous cloud platforms set it apart during my evaluation. In my view, Morpheus fits best for organizations grappling with the complexities of multi-cloud and hybrid IT landscapes.

Standout features & integrations:

Morpheus excels with its extensive suite of cloud management features, including orchestration, automation, and provisioning. Its most notable integrations include those with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and VMware, offering wide-ranging compatibility and reducing the challenges of multi-cloud management.

Pricing:

The pricing for Morpheus begins from $15/user/month (billed annually), although the final cost can vary based on the services and integrations required.

Pros:

  • Extensive multi-cloud management capabilities
  • Strong integration with major cloud providers
  • Powerful automation and orchestration features

Cons:

  • Steeper learning curve for new users
  • Pricing could be prohibitive for smaller businesses
  • Initial setup might require technical expertise

6. Snow Software - Best for license compliance management

A screenshot focused on the asset visibility feature of Snow Software.
Take a look at the asset visibility feature of Snow Software.

Snow Software is a leading cloud management solution with a specific focus on license compliance. The platform gives organizations the ability to monitor, manage, and optimize their software licenses, making it an ideal choice for those seeking strong compliance management capabilities.

Why I Picked Snow Software:

Among the tools I assessed, I found Snow Software particularly stands out for its dedicated software license management features. Its strength lies in ensuring that organizations stay compliant while managing their cloud resources. I am confident that Snow Software is the best choice for those in need of robust license compliance management.

Standout features & integrations:

Snow Software is lauded for its comprehensive software license tracking, offering features such as license overuse alerts, automated optimization suggestions, and compliance risk indicators. Key integrations include compatibility with major software vendors like Microsoft, Adobe, and IBM, facilitating smooth license management across these platforms.

Pricing:

Pricing for Snow Software starts from $20/user/month. Please note this may vary depending on specific needs and services required.

Pros:

  • Excellent software license compliance features
  • Integrations with major software vendors
  • Comprehensive visibility into software usage

Cons:

  • Potential for complexity in large-scale deployments
  • May be overkill for smaller organizations
  • Pricing may be higher compared to simpler solutions

7. Cisco Intersight - Best for hardware and software integration

A screenshot of the dashboard for the tool Cisco Intersight.
Cisco Intersight's dashboard displays data for your server, making it easier to do day-to-day management.

Cisco Intersight is a cloud-based systems management platform that offers hardware and software integration in complex IT environments. The tool simplifies IT operations by providing comprehensive visibility and control across both on-premises and cloud resources, which makes it excellent for hardware and software integration.

Why I Picked Cisco Intersight:

Among various contenders, I picked Cisco Intersight for its excellent integration capabilities across hardware and software. Its ability to seamlessly unify the management of physical and virtual resources differentiates it from others. In my judgment, Cisco Intersight stands out as the best tool for integrating hardware and software in a diverse IT ecosystem.

Standout features & integrations:

Cisco Intersight boasts several features, such as predictive analytics, automated resource management, and policy-driven infrastructure provisioning. In terms of integrations, it works well with a variety of Cisco hardware and virtualization platforms like VMware, Hyper-V, and Red Hat, supporting consistent management across different environments.

Pricing:

Pricing for Cisco Intersight starts at $50/user/month (billed annually). This includes full-stack visibility and intelligent recommendations for optimizing infrastructure performance.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive hardware and software integration
  • Predictive analytics for proactive issue resolution
  • Policy-driven resource provisioning

Cons:

  • Complexity may be challenging for smaller teams
  • Mostly focused on Cisco hardware environments
  • Higher cost than some other cloud management platforms

8. ManageEngine Applications Manager - Best for real-time application performance monitoring

A photo focused on the default dashboard of the tool ManageEngine Applications Manager.
The default dashboard of ManageEngine Applications Manager displays tabs for monitor groups, alarms, and snapshots for your infrastructures.

ManageEngine Applications Manager is a robust performance monitoring solution that caters to businesses of all sizes. This tool provides in-depth visibility into the performance of various applications in real time, aligning perfectly with its primary use case for real-time application performance monitoring.

Why I Picked ManageEngine Applications Manager:

After a thorough comparison of several performance monitoring tools, I chose ManageEngine Applications Manager for its powerful real-time monitoring capabilities. What makes this tool stand out is its wide range of monitoring capabilities across applications, servers, databases, and more. Given its robust real-time monitoring features, I judged it as the best tool for application performance monitoring.

Standout features & integrations:

ManageEngine Applications Manager brings along features such as application discovery, performance diagnostics, and capacity planning. In terms of integrations, it meshes well with various platforms, including Java, .NET, Ruby, Oracle, MySQL, SAP, and many more, ensuring you can monitor your entire application stack in a holistic manner.

Pricing:

ManageEngine Applications Manager pricing starts from $945/year (billed annually). Please note, the actual price might vary based on the number of monitors required.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive real-time application performance monitoring
  • Supports a wide range of platforms for monitoring
  • In-depth performance analytics for informed decision-making

Cons:

  • Might be overkill for smaller applications
  • User interface can be complex for beginners
  • Advanced features require higher-tier plans

9. CloudBolt - Best for simplified hybrid cloud automation

A screenshot of the home page of the tool CloudBolt.
CloudBolt simplifies communication and centralized activity management across diverse technologies.

CloudBolt is a hybrid cloud management platform that enables enterprises to achieve operational efficiency by automating the deployment and management of resources across hybrid cloud environments. Its capacity to simplify complex cloud automation tasks makes it ideal for hybrid cloud automation.

Why I Picked CloudBolt:

In the process of selecting the most suitable tools, I gravitated towards CloudBolt because of its streamlined approach to hybrid cloud automation. It stands out from the competition by offering extensive cloud management features in one platform. In light of its capabilities to simplify hybrid cloud automation, I determined that CloudBolt was best suited for this task.

Standout features & integrations:

CloudBolt provides features such as self-service IT, resource optimization, and hybrid cloud cost control. It integrates with an array of technologies, including but not limited to VMware, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Kubernetes. This wide range of integrations supports seamless management across multiple platforms.

Pricing:

CloudBolt's pricing starts from $750 per month. This price is only a starting point and can vary based on the specifics of your hybrid cloud environment and the number of managed VMs.

Pros:

  • Simplifies complex hybrid cloud automation tasks
  • Comprehensive suite of cloud management features
  • Wide range of integrations with major cloud providers

Cons:

  • Could be complex to set up
  • Pricing might be on the higher side for smaller organizations
  • Some advanced features require additional modules

10. CloudAware - Best for multi-factor cloud security

A photo focused on the backup and drive portion of CloudAware.
You can always back up your data in CloudAware, ensuring that instances and other important cloud data are secured.

CloudAware is a comprehensive cloud management platform with a strong focus on providing robust, multi-factor cloud security solutions. Its functionality ranges from cloud cost management to security, compliance, and configuration analysis. It's especially effective for organizations seeking multi-factor security for their cloud infrastructure.

Why I Picked CloudAware:

I picked CloudAware for this list based on my comparative analysis of multiple cloud management platforms. Its dedicated security components and the wide range of cloud services it supports were the main factors that distinguished CloudAware. In my opinion, it's the superior choice for organizations needing robust, multi-factor cloud security.

Standout features & integrations:

CloudAware offers features like CloudTrail log analysis, multi-factor security checks, and asset tracking. It also includes integrations with a range of platforms, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, allowing it to provide unified security management across multiple cloud environments.

Pricing:

CloudAware's pricing starts at around $16/user/month. However, the final cost may vary depending on the volume and type of cloud resources being managed.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive multi-factor security checks
  • Wide range of integrations for unified security management
  • Provides CloudTrail log analysis and asset tracking

Cons:

  • The user interface could be more intuitive
  • The initial setup might be complex for some users
  • Support response times could be improved

11. OpenStack - Best for customizable open-source cloud infrastructure

A photo focused on the overview tab of the tool OpenStack.
The overview tab of OpenStack provides comprehensive access to limit and usage summary, making it easy access to check your instances and networks.

OpenStack is an open-source cloud computing platform designed to provide flexible and scalable infrastructure as a service (IaaS) solutions. It allows organizations to create and manage large networks of virtual machines, making it an excellent choice for those seeking customizable, open-source cloud infrastructure.

Why I Picked OpenStack:

In my selection process, OpenStack emerged as a unique contender due to its open-source nature and high level of customizability. I judged that OpenStack offers a distinct advantage, especially for organizations that have specific requirements and wish to have full control over their cloud infrastructure. I think it's the best tool for customizable, open-source cloud infrastructure due to its expansive features and community support.

Standout features & integrations:

OpenStack offers a robust set of features including broad networking capabilities, object and block storage, and identity services. It has native integrations with a range of other open-source projects, such as Kubernetes and Ceph, further extending its functionality.

Pricing:

Since OpenStack is an open-source project, it is available for free. However, costs can be incurred for implementation, management, and support services provided by third-party companies.

Pros:

  • High level of customizability
  • Broad set of features, including storage and networking capabilities
  • Strong community support

Cons:

  • Implementation can be complex and requires expertise
  • May require significant resources for maintenance and support
  • Documentation could be improved for ease of understanding

12. Apptio Cloudability - Best for granular cloud spending analysis

A photo of the cloud cost summary dashboard of the tool Apptio Cloudability.
Apptio Cloudability promotes ownership of cloud spend and corresponds this to your business value.

Apptio Cloudability is a comprehensive cloud cost management tool that enables organizations to understand and manage their cloud spending effectively. By providing granular insight into cloud usage and expenses, it empowers businesses to optimize their investment in cloud services.

Why I Picked Apptio Cloudability:

In choosing this tool, I found Apptio Cloudability stood out for its detailed analytics and straightforward cost visualization. In my judgment, this tool provides unparalleled granular insight into cloud spending, making it easier for organizations to identify unnecessary costs and better plan their budget. Therefore, it's my belief that Apptio Cloudability is the best choice for those seeking a detailed analysis of their cloud expenditure.

Standout features & integrations:

Apptio Cloudability offers a range of notable features, including cost reporting, usage analytics, budgeting, and forecasting. Additionally, it integrates seamlessly with many major cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, enabling users to gather and analyze data from diverse sources.

Pricing:

Pricing for Apptio Cloudability starts from $21/user/month. Specific pricing depends on the individual requirements of the organization and the scale of their cloud usage.

Pros:

  • Detailed cost reporting and analytics
  • Seamless integrations with major cloud providers
  • Budgeting and forecasting capabilities

Cons:

  • Pricing can be high for smaller businesses
  • Steep learning curve for new users
  • Customization options could be better

Other Noteworthy Cloud Management Tools

Below is a list of additional cloud management tools that I shortlisted but did not make it to the top 12. Definitely worth checking them out.

  1. Turbonomic - Good for optimizing cloud performance and cost efficiency
  2. Abiquo - Good for multi-cloud management and flexibility
  3. Dell Technologies Cloud - Good for integrating public and private cloud infrastructure
  4. Nutanix - Good for automating and orchestrating multi-cloud environments
  5. Densify - Good for intelligent cloud resource management
  6. Red Hat - Good for deploying and managing containerized applications

Selection Criteria for Choosing Cloud Management Tools

When it comes to choosing cloud management software, there are certain elements I consider crucial. Having tested and researched numerous tools in this space, I have concluded that not all software is created equal. During my evaluation, I focused specifically on the capabilities of each tool in relation to hybrid and multi-cloud management, which I'll go into more detail about below.

Core Functionality

  • Ability to manage multiple cloud services: The tool should be capable of managing AWS, Azure, GCP, and other popular cloud platforms in a unified manner.
  • Auto-scaling and load balancing: The software should automatically scale resources up and down based on demand and distribute workload effectively across the infrastructure.
  • Compliance and security management: It should allow for the setting up of security protocols and audit trails and ensure regulatory compliance.

Key Features

  • Cost tracking and optimization: The tool should help identify cost-saving opportunities, give clear insights into spending patterns and predict future expenses.
  • Automation: This should be available for common tasks such as provisioning and de-provisioning of resources, updates, and backups.
  • Disaster recovery: The tool should ensure that there are adequate disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place.

Usability

  • Clear dashboard: The software needs to present complex data visually in a way that makes it easy for users to understand the status and performance of their cloud resources.
  • Role-based access control: A good cloud management tool should allow administrators to specify who has access to what information.
  • Responsive customer support: Given the critical nature of cloud infrastructure, it's important to have access to timely and effective customer support for troubleshooting and problem resolution.

Most Common Questions Regarding Cloud Management Tools (FAQs)

What are the benefits of using cloud management tools?

Using cloud management tools offers several advantages. They provide a unified view of your entire cloud infrastructure across different service providers, which simplifies management and enhances visibility. They enable cost optimization by identifying wasteful expenditures

and suggesting more cost-effective configurations. Automation of routine tasks, such as provisioning and backups, improves operational efficiency and reduces the scope for human error. The tools also ensure compliance with regulatory standards and help in maintaining security by managing access controls. Lastly, they provide disaster recovery and business continuity solutions to protect your business operations.

How much do these tools typically cost?

Pricing for cloud management tools varies widely based on the feature set, the size of the cloud environment, and the vendor. A basic tool could start from as low as $20 per user per month, while a more comprehensive solution could run into thousands of dollars per month.

What are the typical pricing models for cloud management tools?

Cloud management tools typically follow a subscription pricing model, often on a per-user or per-resource basis. The pricing could be tiered based on the number of features, the number of managed cloud accounts, or the amount of managed spend. Some vendors may also charge for premium features or additional support.

What is the cheapest and most expensive software?

The cheapest options tend to be open-source tools like OpenStack, which are essentially free but may involve costs related to implementation and support. On the expensive side, comprehensive solutions from major vendors like IBM or Dell could run into several thousand dollars per month, depending on the scale of operations.

Are there any free options available?

Yes, there are open-source cloud management tools available for free, such as OpenStack and CloudStack. While these tools themselves are free, they may require significant technical expertise to set up and manage, and support or additional features may come at a cost.

Other Cloud Management Tool Reviews

Summary

In conclusion, the realm of cloud management tools is expansive and diverse, catering to a broad spectrum of use cases. Whether your organization is looking for comprehensive security, granular spending analysis, or customizable infrastructure, there's a tool on this list designed to meet those needs.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Remember that the best tool for you depends on your unique needs and use cases. Factors such as your security requirements, your budget, and your need for customization or simplicity will dictate which tool is the most suitable.
  2. Take time to thoroughly evaluate the tool's core functionality and key features. How a tool performs its core tasks and the unique features it offers can greatly impact its usefulness to your organization.
  3. Pay close attention to usability. No matter how powerful a tool is, if it's not user-friendly or if it doesn't provide good customer support, it may create more problems than it solves. Consider the design, ease of onboarding, interface, and quality of customer support when making your choice.

By understanding these factors, you're better equipped to choose the best cloud management tool that suits your organization's requirements and goals. I'll continue to explore and evaluate cloud management tools based on industry trends.

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By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.