Although cloud computing offers enormous benefits to today’s organizations, it also adds to the overall complexity of IT environments.

If the bulk of IT resources and workloads, including IT management and monitoring, were sourced remotely from the cloud, IT environments would, in many ways, be simplified and would focus to a greater extent on the provision of business services and business value to organizations.

However, most IT resources continue to remain on-premise and need to be integrated with and to co-ordinate with resources and services that are sourced from the cloud. This adds to the overall complexity of most enterprise IT environments. Indeed, many of today’s organizations are working with a mix of proprietary mainframe technology, client/server technology, other on-premise resources such as private clouds and public clouds (in which resources reside off-site).

For this reason, there is a much greater need for tools that can manage and monitor integrated cloud and on-premise IT environments. Consequently, many enterprise customers are placing greater emphasis on cloud management software strategies. Organizations are searching for an end to end, top down view of complex business processes and workloads, in order to increase productivity and engender greater business agility. Managing these environments goes way beyond provisioning and VM sprawl reduction. Security management, performance management, utlilization, availability, compliance, and productivity all need to be addressed by management tools.

So, managing and monitoring complex heterogeneous IT environments, in which an increasingly large proportion of IT resources are being delivered from the cloud is critical. Most management and monitoring tools remain on-premise and integrated with legacy infrastructure. Addressing changing needs which are often driven by migration to cloud computing is a major challenge for legacy on-premise implementations of IT management and monitoring software. Therefore, for buyers of IT management software, it increasingly makes logical sense to seek flexible and scalable SaaS versions of IT management software or IT management as a service.

In a recent discussion between myself and some Nimsoft executives, we discussed the SaaS market for IT management and monitoring. Nimsoft combines IT monitoring and service management to provide ITIL based IT Management as a service. It is joined by many small companies such as Spiceworks and Zenoss which have emerged to offer IT management as a service, as well as the larger traditional IT management firms. IT management as a service, offered by companies such as Nimsoft, is much easier to implement and use than traditional on premise IT management and monitoring products. The largest enterprises with the most complex IT environments will continue to express concern about the security, stability and strategic fit of cloud solutions. Nevertheless, IT management as a service offers enormous benefits to small and medium sized businesses and objections from the largest companies can be expected to be steadily overcome.

The ability of IT management as a service products to be integrated with on-premise resources as well as public cloud services, is critical. Organizations now need a console view of their complete IT environments as well as the benefits of cloud computing such as rapid provisioning, agility and scalability. The IT management as a service market, together with other cloud middleware markets, which focus on other forms of cloud computing enablement, will become prominent over the next year. Furthermore, IT management as a service will soon be commonly found in the largest organizations.