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What to do when virtualization management tools go cloud

As more tools transition to the cloud, SMBs that keep workloads on-premises must make a decision about how they'll manage their virtual environments going forward.

Many virtualization management tools have become cloud-focused. SMBs that can't or won't move certain workloads to the cloud face a challenge in finding vendors that are committed to the growth of their on-premises management tools. Depending on your business needs, the answer might be purchasing something new, adapting to these refocused tools or using multiple management tools.

Vendors often market their virtualization management tools -- such as monitoring; log; and general OS management tools, including those for backup and protection -- from the perspective of what workloads they manage and where those workloads reside.

Some vendors bypass on-premises tools and focus strictly on cloud-based workloads. This means that some of the vendors that supply the tools you currently use might start to depreciate their on-premises offerings. These tools are pretty easy to spot because they're typically branded or rebranded with a cloud-type name. The updated version of the tool gets all of the new bells and whistles, and the older version often slowly enters maintenance mode and receives limited updates. 

Purchase something new

If a vendor that supplies one of your tools is doing this, start shopping as soon as possible. The vendor might try to assure you that the tool will stick around, but the writing is on the wall. Find an alternative while you still have support from the vendor and enough lead time to make a smooth transition. This might not be popular with vendors, but if they focus solely on the cloud, some migration away from the tool in question is bound to happen. 

Other vendors might argue that the tool in question will continue to work for your on-site data center even though it's based in the cloud. Many monitoring-as-a-service log aggregation tools are becoming cloud-based rather than on premises. In this situation, your data isn't in the cloud, but your logs and the monitoring details of your data are. 

Adapt to refocused tools

SMBs that can't or won't move certain workloads to the cloud face a challenge in finding vendors that are committed to the growth of their on-premises management tools.

SMBs might be tempted to refuse to use such tools, but using these services does have some additional benefits. Cloud-based tools often take advantage of machine learning at a larger scale than most on-premises tools can, which can translate to improved issue prevention and problem resolution. This alone might be enough for SMBs to allow some cloud use, so long as the data itself remains on premises. 

Many third-party vendors have chosen to focus solely on cloud technology. The cloud will never go away, but neither will the on-site data center. Most companies can find a middle ground with their workloads, moving some to the cloud and keeping some in the data center.

Use multiple management tools

The next test is to find the tools that can support both cloud-based and on-premises workloads. Using two different tools to monitor both environments isn't ideal, but it's unavoidable for some SMBs.

The cloud has brought a lot of change to the third-party market of tools. You must balance certain needs and practices, but also be flexible and open to change. As new tools arrive, you might find they do things just as well as -- or maybe even better than -- your older tools. 

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