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What is Cloud Management?

Cloud management is the organized management of cloud computing products and services that operate in the cloud. It refers to the processes, strategies, policies, and technology used to help control and maintain public and private cloud, hybrid cloud, or multicloud environments. 

Today, you are likely operating partially or entirely in the cloud. As such, your organization needs a way to evaluate, monitor, and manage cloud computing resources, infrastructure, and services in the most efficient way possible. 

Keeping your cloud environments running smoothly requires many underlying tasks, from provisioning and orchestration of resources to automating cloud consumption and deployment, to lifecycle management of resources, cost optimization, performance monitoring, and security. 

Learn more about how Google Cloud management tools help you streamline your cloud, API, and application management tasks. 

Cloud management defined

Cloud management is the process of maintaining control and oversight of cloud computing infrastructure, resources, and services in public, private, or hybrid cloud environments. With cloud management tools and technologies, IT administrators achieve control, visibility, and scalability while also being able to adapt rapidly to change. 

Challenges of managing a cloud environment

As reliance on cloud computing continues to increase, many organizations are finding it difficult to manage increasingly complex architectures and gain the oversight needed to successfully implement their cloud strategies. 

To fully realize the potential of cloud services and solutions, it’s also essential to understand the challenges with managing cloud environments you may encounter as you migrate to the cloud.


Today’s modern IT environments are increasingly spread out across a mix of on-premises, public and private cloud, hybrid, or even multi cloud environments. Teams must be able to consolidate the management of numerous, heterogeneous systems in a simple way. 

Cloud sprawl

Self-service can boost productivity and development speed, but it can also become unmanageable. You can start to lose track of cloud resources, leaving them to multiply and increase throughout your organization without oversight or control. Cloud sprawl can cause costs to skyrocket, create security risks, and complicate management down the line. 

Cost assessment

While cloud environments enable true cost management, estimating cloud costs to pinpoint waste can still pose many challenges. Calculating the cost of a single service might require gathering details across accounts, regions, and other cloud-based tools and services. This can be complicated further if there are any overlapping resources that must be paid by an individual business unit within your organization. 

Security and privacy

Cloud security remains a top priority for all organizations and cloud service providers, including how to manage access, protect data, and how to secure cloud environments against internal and external threats. Many companies struggle to balance effective use of resources for the highest performance with strong policy and risk mitigation.  

Ultimately, cloud computing resources and services are not useful without cloud management features to control your infrastructure, applications, and data.

Cloud management tools and technologies enable strategies and processes that let you effectively oversee cloud-based assets and applications, facilitate automation workflows, and make informed decisions so your cloud costs and usage are cost-effective. 

Cloud management features

Cloud management tools and technologies enable strategies and processes that let you effectively oversee cloud-based assets and applications, facilitate automation workflows, and make informed decisions so your cloud costs and usage are cost-effective.

Here are some common cloud management features:


Application management can be repetitive, especially if you have a large environment. Cloud management enables programmatic management of resources, providing automated capacity management, continuous integration, and orchestration to reduce operational burden. 

Compliance and governance

Moving to the cloud can mean relinquishing a certain amount of control over your underlying infrastructure and applications, but you’ll still need to have oversight over access and be able to maintain compliance. Cloud management enables you to ensure cloud users and configurations align with regulatory requirements and organizational policies by alerting you to issues so you can address them quickly. 


Since cloud security is a shared responsibility with your cloud service provider, cloud management plays a very active role in protecting your data, applications, and services in cloud environments. Leading cloud management tools offer machine-learning capabilities for robust threat intelligence and detection and help streamline security monitoring and processes. 

Monitoring and logging

Cloud management enables cloud observability with monitoring and logging of events that occur to help you inspect and understand what’s going on across your environments. Being able to aggregate, analyze, and correlate log files can help you to identify errors, automate incident management, and optimize performance. 

Performance and cost reporting

Cloud computing costs can quickly balloon past your budget if you’re not paying close attention from the start. Cloud management provides cost management, reporting, and forecasting to help you gain an accurate picture of what and when resources are being used. This can allow you to allocate resources more effectively, understand if you’re using what you pay for, and eliminate unnecessary costs. 

How does cloud management work?

Cloud management tools provide a way to manage the deployment and operation of your cloud applications and services across public cloud, hybrid cloud, or multicloud environments. A good cloud management platform will also help you track and monitor usage and performance for each part of your cloud infrastructure, enabling you to make informed decisions about the best way to run workloads. 

Traditionally, cloud management tools and software are deployed as virtual machines with their own database and server. Servers use APIs to communicate with resources interacting within your cloud environments. You can capture activity in cloud-based applications, performance data, and other events, which can be analyzed and consolidated into a unified dashboard that can be accessed through a web interface. Similar to your cloud resources, administrators can access cloud management tools from anywhere they are as long as they have a secure connection. 

Most cloud service providers offer cloud management as services in their own platforms, with reporting capabilities across cloud applications to collect performance and usage data, generate insights, and send alerts. However, this can cause problems when companies need to report across multiple providers when operating in a hybrid or multicloud environment. Leading cloud providers will also enable you to unify your cloud management tools with easy integrations and open platforms.

What is the role of cloud management and why is it important?

Cloud management is essential when it comes to managing hundreds, sometimes thousands, of different applications and servers in the cloud. Doing everything manually is not just inefficient—it’s impossible. The move to modern IT environments has enabled organizations to scale their applications and innovate faster, but it has also introduced considerable complexity. 

With cloud management, you can improve overall IT performance, improve security, and ensure your costs stay under control. Here are some of the primary cloud management benefits:

It’s Faster time to value

Cloud management cuts down on the amount of time you spend on routine tasks and maintenance. Self-service access for automated provisioning and deployments helps support agile development across the full application lifecycle to speed up delivery and reduce errors.

Visibility across environments

Stay ahead of cloud sprawl by keeping track of what resources you have, how they’re being used, and who has access with cloud management. It can also help you identify the optimal balance for your workloads and make the most of your cloud capacity.

Centralized management

Cloud management tools allow you to integrate applications, operating systems, storage, cloud security tools, and more. The result is consistent and unified management over resource allocation, compliance, security, and cost management across multiple clouds and environments. 

Improved compliance & security

Cloud management can help you adhere to cloud policies, guidelines, and regulatory requirements. Administrators can also streamline security processes, automatically monitoring usage and configurations across environments to identify violations and other emerging incidents quickly. 

Optimized cloud spend

It’s not always easy to track or predict cloud spend. Cloud management solutions provide detailed reports with chargeback and showback to help you better understand usage, allocate resources more effectively, and accurately forecast spend.

Environmental sustainability

Cloud management can help you to drive and enforce strategies to help reduce wasted resources and lower the energy consumption of your cloud infrastructure. 

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Cloud management strategies

Effectively managing public, private, hybrid, or multicloud environments isn’t just about the technologies and tools but also a strong cloud management strategy. Creating a solid strategy will vary between organizations—you’ll need to find the best processes, technologies, and skill sets that best match your business needs.

A strong cloud management strategy should:

  • Enable consistent control across environments, allowing you to deploy and integrate services where they are best suited. 
  • Allow for agile change management while allowing you to continuously monitor, and analyze capacity, usage, costs, and security. 
  • Create security and compliance guardrails that deliver security control and automated policy enforcement without stifling velocity. 
  • Continuously review cloud resources and services, from costs to changes to users to violations, to spot issues before they become future problems and update business rules and processes accordingly.

While this is by no means exhaustive, these fundamentals are an excellent place to start when starting to form your cloud management strategy.