By Svitlana Ostnek
Cloud technologies gain more popularity and have become a frequent practice among companies that use and/or provide infrastructure and operations services.
Currently, Cloud technologies market is full of offerings, all providing cloud tools, facilities and approaches that differ from vendor to vendor. So, when buying a cloud solution, one has to select among various options, and it is necessary to know the instruments and the services supported by each of them. The choice is not easy, as it needs deep investigation of the market and all options. This is not an easy challenge, as there is no standard categorization of cloud products that would cover and highlight all the important details.
Forrester Research, one of the leading market research companies, has published an overview covering various private cloud solutions, describing the private cloud reference architecture and introducing the classification that is very convenient for estimating existing market offerings:
- Cloud platforms. These are solutions that provide IaaS services by creating a virtual layer over physical resources and supporting basic resource management and reporting facilities.
- Standalone cloud management tools. These Cloud offerings allow to manage virtual resources basing on different deployment types, support automation and orchestration, have higher management and reporting facilities. They can be used only together with public or private cloud platforms.
- Private cloud suits, which are the combination of the first two that allows to build and manage private cloud environments.
The other important point in cloud product selection is whether the provided solution can both meet the client's business needs and include the latest technology achievements, with the shortest delay.
Cloud technologies are rapidly developing, and business aims to get benefit from this growths to the full. However, the software solutions tend to leg behind the latest features, because vendors need time to implement innovations into the existing offerings. This delay often causes discomfort to business customers, which, in its turn, results into appearance of the big number of offerings.
However, it is very difficult to sort out all of them, and to select the best one. So, one can keep to the following tactics: either buying several solutions that would altogether cover the maximum scope of existing needs, and/or searching for the solutions that introduce updates on the most frequent and regular basis, so that their evolution is as fast as the evolution of the basic technology.
For example, AWS adds new updates once in two weeks. In case you use Cloud management software that is updated twice a year, there quickly appears a big gap between the actual Cloud provider's technology level and the facilities available for you.
With its six-weeks development cycle, EPAM Cloud is a highly effective solution. It reacts quickly on the changes in the supported Cloud platforms and the appearing market requests, thus allowing to minimize the technologies gap. This makes EPAM Cloud remain in the forefront of provisioning of the cloud services of the same class.
Forrester classifies EPAM Cloud as "a standalone cloud management tool that can sit atop AWS, Azure, HPE Helion, OpenStack, and VMware vSphere. It provides public and private deployment, management, and administration capabilities as well as analytics, account activity, billing and quotas, identity and access management (IAM), health dashboards, and support across multiple cloud environments. EPAM supplements its monitoring tools with Logtash and Zabbix. EPAM also offers a long list of various other services, such as cloud networking, block storage, public cloud, and relational database services, along with its own consulting services to help I&O pros transition to cloud."
In the report, EPAM is given among such vendors like Scalr, Dell, Red Hat, and others. It is important, that EPAM Cloud is one of the few offerings, supporting not only OpenStack, but also AWS and Azure (which means it provides hybrid cloud facilities), and being free. Moreover, it includes the features that effectively highlight EPAM Cloud among others, as they are all combined in a single offering: self-service, multi-platform support, costs control and comparison, resource events audit and monitoring, isolated admin tools, API to enable CI/CD processes.
This set is complemented by the feature requesting procedure that allows to quickly gather the users' feedbacks and suggestions, analyze them and implement within the shortest time. It makes EPAM Orchestration a perfect framework for PaaS solutions development (that's why a big number of them is already implemented, and the collection is constantly expanding).
The picture below illustrates the general overview of EPAM Cloud service provisioning:
When a customer selects a solution, they have a number of questions to be answered. And EPAM Cloud can be the best answer for them:
- What services and tools do you need? - Each customer has their own set of goals they want to achieve using cloud. EPAM Cloud provides a wide number of in-built infrastructure management and monitoring tools, PaaS services, activated by request, and gives access to native tools of public platforms with which it is integrated. In many cases, there is more than one way to get the wanted result, which allows to build flexible solutions and optimize them as soon as conditions change.
- Who are the users? - Depending on business needs and goals, different people working for the Customer, can have access to the cloud product. It is essential that the provided tools and facilities correspond to the target users' skills set and expertise. EPAM Cloud provides multi-level access to cloud management tools, which allows users with different expertise and basic knowledge feel comfortable with Cloud. This includes web UI, with wizards that accept either default or customized values, command line interface that provides comprehensible help and requires inputting only necessary parameters, and API that can be used for automation.
How strict are vendor locks? - Often, to avoid vendor locks, customers prefer using several cloud management offerings. This can reduce locks on service level, but as soon as a resource is provisioned, it often becomes locked on a platform. When you use EPAM Private Cloud, you can always get your resources out of it, and further use them outside, or migrate to a public platform, if necessary. When you host your resources on a public platform via EPAM Cloud, it is possible to separate your account and further use it independently of EPAM Orchestrator.
Thus, EPAM Cloud is a modern, highly effective, quickly evolving solution that keeps to the latest trends in cloud area. It is easily customizable, which allows EPAM Cloud to be adjusted to most customers' needs in shortest terms, it provides transparent information on services usage, and is provided on pay-as-you go basis, with no additional fees for public cloud resources management.
It is an offering worth precise attention. Each new update brings EPAM Cloud to the new level of maturity and usability, and the quick growths of users and customers addressing this solution shows that the product development is headed in the right direction.