Beware cloud lock-in: BMC CTO

Cloud management tools being used to lock organisations in to specifc hardware, services and virtualisation stacks warns BMC's US CTO Kia Behnia

Cloud management tools may be being used by cloud providers to lock organisations in to specific hardware and services, according to the US chief technology officer (CTO) of BMC, Kia Behnia.

Speaking to Computerworld, Behnia said management was a critical aspect of both public and private clouds, but claimed it was being used as a means of creating vendor-lock-in.

“Right now we see a lot of posturing from vendors who want to lock in the customer and use management, effectively, as a control point,” Behnia said.

“Today we see cloud being purveyed by a lot of vendors as means of selling more hardware, potentially creating lock-ins to their hardware/software/services stack and that’s why the role of management is critical to give customers a lot of choice on what hardware they want to buy, what platforms, operating systems and virtualisation stacks they want to run, and to be able to integrate it with whatever IT process and systems they have.”

According to Behnia, cloud management tools need to be separate from the platform and the hardware in order to enable IT managers to make the right choice as to what specific solution is needed at each layer. From there organisations can make clear decisions on which particular vendors can provide each solution.

“One of the mistakes a lot of vendors make in this space is that they assume cloud will overtake everything else and everything IT has today will go away; but nothing is farther from the truth,” Behnia said. “Virtualisation and cloud needs to live side by side and therefore the management of them needs to be put into the context of the overall data centre.”

For its part, BMC is relatively new to the cloud scene having spent much of the last 18 months with existing customers observing their development of public and private cloud IT environments, then six months ago releasing its own cloud development tools.

Using the tools customers can manage governance and security issues through enforcing policies on what types of company and customer data can be used on public or private clouds. The tools also allow for the creation of an IT services catalogue and portal to manage the provision and procurement of internal and external services based on in-house IT policy.

The company has also recently signed on as partner of Amazon’s EC2 services to develop work flow tools for requesting and provisioning EC2 services.

Despite the obvious interest in pushing its own management tools over those of rival vendors, Behnia said BMC was not trying to establish its own brand of cloud vendor lock-in.

“Because we are not a hardware company – we are a services company – we do not have an agenda which places preferences around technology or platform types. We manage VMware and Microsoft and integrate with public cloud services like Amazon but also support [VMware’s] vCloud initiative as that becomes more prevalent.”


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