A roundup of hybrid cloud management software for IT teams

Hybrid cloud management software may still be an emerging market, but there are some vendors and tools that buyers should consider for monitoring, cost accounting and other tasks.

When it comes to choosing hybrid cloud management software, buyers face many options. Some tools are GUI-centric, agile and easy to use, while other, first-generation tools rely on scripting and command-line interfaces, and offer more limited features.

In addition, there are third-party management tools that are native to a cloud provider's platform. This roundup presents the options in the market and the information buyers need to determine how these vendors suit their enterprise.

Third-party options

Abiquo Hybrid Cloud 3.8

With Hybrid Cloud 3.8, Abiquo offers a tool that supports hybrid cloud deployment, as well as Docker containers and VMs. It has Virtual Appliance Specs, a tool that allows admins to create application templates with multiple instances of VMs or containers, network configurations and policy settings for firewalls, storage and so on.

Automated monitoring is another prominent feature and it provides users with the ability to define load-driven or event-based alerts. Abiquo limits application access to the hybrid cloud resource pool, constraining host servers, storage, VLANs or NICs, to help teams create a private cloud within the pool. This is useful to restrict instances to operate only within a private, in-house cloud. A workflow tool controls user request approval for reconfiguration.

Abiquo supports templating, automatic monitoring, an audit trail on changes and secure sharing of cloud accounts. Apps can have dedicated resources attached and there is leading-edge support for Nutanix and Docker containers. Abiquo is still expanding its relatively small installed base.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Rackspace, SoftLayer

Licensing/Pricing: For a licensed version, pricing is available on quotation. Abiquo also offers anyCloud, a software as a service (SaaS) version of the product, starting from $120 a month for 10 VMs and $400 per month for 50 VMs.

BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management

BMC has branched out into hybrid cloud management software in recent years with its Cloud Lifecycle Management offering. This software is tied into a broad set of BMC's other tools, so it has access to a lot of features, such as Remedy and Atrium, but not all of them are available through a single management console.

The tool also offers Docker container support, but according to research from Forrester Research, the tool can be challenging to upgrade.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Rackspace, SoftLayer

Licensing/Pricing: Upon request

CliQr Technologies CloudCenter

CloudCenter offers one of the broadest cloud platforms, in terms of vendor support, of all of the products in this roundup. The template system is cloud-agnostic, and supports cross-cloud migration. Other useful features include quota controls, cost monitoring and APIs.

CliQr has demonstrated generally agile response to customer problems, but has some support issues and API upgrades have been disruptive for admins, according to Forrester Research.

Cisco purchased CliQr last year to expand its hybrid cloud tool set. Though still young with a relatively small base, CliQr usually ranks in the leader group in reviews of hybrid cloud management tools.

CloudCenter's advantages include ease of use and feature breadth, offering a template system, quota controls, governance capabilities, a customizable service library and an application marketplace.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace, SoftLayer and others

Licensing/Pricing: SaaS and on-premises licensed version; annual subscription based on maximum number of concurrent VMs managed; price on quotation.


In contrast to some of the full-service, third-party hybrid cloud management software mentioned above, Cloudability is focused on the accounting issues surrounding hybrid cloud. The tool has the ability to track multiple clouds from different vendors and alert admins if costs approach preset limits. It can group cost reports according to users, project, department or other associations. The tool is sold on a SaaS basis.

Another notable feature is reserved instance planning, which should save considerable costs if admins use it properly. The product could, however, offer broader cloud platform support.

Clouds supported: AWS, Rackspace, SoftLayer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Licensing/Pricing: SaaS model; the Enterprise Edition is $2,000 a month for up to $100,000 of monitored costs


Like Cloudability, Cloudyn is a hybrid cloud management tool primarily focused on costs. It can monitor expenses across a set of cloud platforms, as well as make recommendations and automate pricing model changes across different clouds. The product has a GUI that makes it easier for admins to understand reports.

Cloudyn comes with good cost tracking and reporting, including a very granular reporting system, recommendations and a well-reviewed graphical interface.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform

Licensing/Pricing: SaaS model; $229 a month per $100,000 monitored costs

Hewlett Packard Enterprise -- HPE Helion

Hewlett Packard Enterprise shut down its own public infrastructure as service cloud last year, but remains committed to the hybrid cloud market. The company offers Helion CloudSystem, which provides a set of tools for configuration management, as well as auto-discovery, a templating system and add-on modules.

While HPE provides solid implementation services, Forrester finds that the Helion tool set can be complicated to use due to its module count, and cost accounting lags behind other options in the market, especially in forecasting and modeling. The product naturally centers on mainly HPE products, making it incompatible with some other platforms.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS -- via HPE Eucalyptus

Licensing/Pricing: Upon request

IBM Cloud Orchestrator

IBM Cloud Orchestrator comes in basic and enterprise licensed versions. Both bundle with other tools to make a working set. It combines a strong template and policy features with robust resource discovery. APIs are strong, but the number of modules can complicate use and intermodule integration needs some improvement, according to Forrester Research.

Overall, this is a fitting tool set for developers due to integration with tools such as Tivoli and IBM Business Process Manager.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS

Licensing/Pricing: Upon request

Red Hat CloudForms

CloudForms is an open source product with autodiscovery and provisioning features. CloudForms comes with an intuitive GUI and offers configurable dashboards, a well-received API structure and a stable orchestration platform. Extensive integration of external tools is helpful to developers, along with Red Hat support.

Recently, Red Hat has added tools to speed and simplify installation, overcoming one recurring problem for users. Like the other tools in this group, it offers broad cloud support and a strong feature set, coupled with good autodiscovery and templating systems. Typical of Red Hat, implementation services and support are very effective.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Azure, VMware

Licensing/Pricing: Upon request

RightScale Cloud Management Platform

Offered as a SaaS product, the RightScale Cloud Management Platform has prominent management features, including Jenkins support and best practices guides, and a cost optimization tool that provides forecasting and tracking. RightScale's template system is also considered a market leader. RightScale supports cross-cloud operations, with templates that can migrate across multiple cloud types, as well as portable governance capabilities and APIs, according to 451 Research.

It comes with mature governance, good APIs and solid support, but some work needs to be done to refresh the GUI, according to reports from Forrester Research.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, Azure, Rackspace, VMware

Licensing/Pricing: SaaS model; pricing by quotation


Scalr offers both SaaS and on-premises hybrid cloud management tools. Its code base is open source and the company focuses heavily on developer needs. Scalr supports a wide base of public clouds. Some of its more robust features include auto scaling, quotas, configuration management, APIs and app lifecycle control.

Scalr is a newcomer and still has a relatively small installed base, but a strong partner ecosystem. It rates well for auto scaling, quotas, app lifecycle management, upgrades and APIs. The company is also working effectively to build an ecosystem of other tools and resources around the product, according to 451 Research.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace, Eucalyptus, Nebula

Licensing/Pricing: SaaS and on-premises licenses are available; SaaS starts at $99 a month; Enterprise Scalr pricing is by quotation.

VMware vCloud Suite

A late entry to the hybrid cloud management software market, VMware is playing to its huge virtualized server base. Having pulled back from its own public cloud, its concentration is on connectivity to other public clouds and integration with virtualization tools such as vSphere, which is bundled in vCloud Suite The vCloud Suite offers multivendor, hybrid cloud management features, including policy-base provisioning, app lifecycle management, cost accounting and cross-cloud usage monitors.

While VMware is at an advantage due to its huge installed base and vSphere's maturity, the vCloud Suite offers limited cloud support, making it appear more as a VMware bridging product than a mainstream cloud management tool.

Clouds supported: OpenStack, AWS

Licensing/Pricing: Upon request

Cloud provider-native tools


Although Amazon has stated it believes in a public cloud-only model, there are some specialized AWS-based private clouds in the market. There is also the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, which consists of an isolated, dedicated portion of its public cloud.

It is possible that AWS will move into the hybrid space more aggressively. If it does, the offering, with a great many services already available, could be a strong one. AWS has the broadest set of service modules in the cloud industry, including CloudWatch, a comprehensive monitoring system; CloudFormation for provisioning with templates and catalogs; OpsWorks for app and patch installation; Config and CloudTrail for governance; and Trusted Advisor for cost and performance tuning.

Clouds Supported: Information not yet released

Licensing/Pricing: Information not yet released

Microsoft Azure Stack

For the Microsoft-centric user, Azure Stack will offer a way to deploy and manage hybrid cloud, though currently only with Azure public and private cloud segments. It provides a unified management scheme for an Azure-based hybrid cloud, simplifying use -- but this ease of use comes at the price of vendor lock-in, since Azure Stack will only be available through select Microsoft OEM partners, including Dell EMC, HPE and Lenovo.

The product won't reach full market availability until the second half of 2017, so features may change significantly prior to that point. Microsoft is planning early release as a software package preloaded on a restricted set of hardware from the three OEM vendors mentioned above.

Azure Stack, despite efforts to handle containers and Linux instances, is a Microsoft-centric platform. It comes with strong autodiscovery and a good template system. Since Azure Stack has not yet been generally released it has to play catch-up against more established competition. Still, the homogeneous nature of an all-Azure product is very enticing for Microsoft environments.

Clouds supported: Azure

Licensing/Pricing: Not yet available


Since hybrid cloud management software is still a relatively new area in IT, the tool capabilities evolve quickly. Advanced tools include more robust capabilities for APIs, automation and orchestration. Customers must pay as close attention to the hybrid cloud market as they do to their enterprise hybrid cloud needs.

Next Steps

The purpose of hybrid cloud management software in the modern enterprise

Learn the features to look for in a hybrid cloud management platform

How buyers can select the proper hybrid cloud management tools

Dig Deeper on Building and maintaining a hybrid cloud