Choosing a Cloud Automation Platform: Provider-Native vs. Third-Party

Cloud automation platforms are in high demand. Notwithstanding, it’s still a problem choosing the right one. You see, the best option for your organization largely depends on your goals, both current and future.

Generally, there are two types of cloud automation tools. The common name for these tools is cloud management platforms (CMPs). They include:

  • Provider-native – These are tools provided by public cloud service providers, such as Amazon Web Services and Azure Cloud.
  • Third-party tools — These are tools provided by third-parties, such as CloudBolt.

When evaluating a CMP, you want to examine both the pros and cons. But, in reality, you should focus more on functionality. In light of this, you should start by assessing the functionality of a prospective CMP. Find out whether it meets your current and future needs.

If your organization plans to move to a hybrid cloud setup, you need a tool that supports such a deployment. You want to look for one that has automated data backups. In addition, it should have the ability to scale resources on the fly based on your changing needs.

CLOUD AUTOMATION PLATFORM: NATIVE VERSUS THIRD-PARTY TOOLS

It’s important to evaluate the core functionality of a cloud automation tool. However, there are some general tradeoffs worth considering when choosing between a provider-native tool and a third-party tool.

For example, Azure Resource Manager (ARM) and AWS CloudFormation (both native provisioning tools) cannot compete with other management tools. Their core functionality is to make it easier to consume the resources of Azure and AWS, respectively.

THE RISKS OF CLOUD AUTOMATION TOOLS

Despite the apparent benefits, cloud automation tools do come with some risks. For this reason, organizations need to be careful when implementing them. They must put in place the right processes for reviewing, testing, and development life cycles to realize the full benefits of automation.

Left uncontrolled, automation tools can lead to malicious changes to your IT systems and applications. This can compromise critical business information. For example, cloud-native tools, such as AWS CloudFormation, enable you to create and edit a JavaScript Object Notation file as a template.

It’s easy for third-party cloud automation tools to consume, create, and edit these templates. However, you will need a competent IT team to maintain and expand such templates. This team will need to have a firm grasp of AWS CloudFormation to achieve the desired goal. There is usually no visual interface to help make the job easier.

For third-party cloud automation tools, such as CloudBolt, the IT team requires a more generic architectural knowledge to create complex environments. The team members don’t need to have a firm grasp of any proprietary languages.

Your choice between a cloud-native tool and a third-party tool depends on whether you’re comfortable with your cloud provider. You might want to stay with your current native tools if they meet your current and future. But it’s different if you’re looking to build a hybrid cloud environment where you have a local data center and several public clouds. For this, a third-party cloud automation tool might work better.

THIRD-PARTY CLOUD AUTOMATION PLATFORMS ARE PERFECT FOR MULTI-CLOUD

Cloud-native tools have made a lot of headway when it comes to multi-cloud management. Some are just as good as third-party tools. But third-party tools provide a much better platform for managing multiple clouds from one console.

They give organizations a more consistent look and feel across clouds. On the other hand, you can opt to use native tools in each cloud offering separately.

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