This week, we published “The Forrester Wave™: Hybrid Cloud Management, Q4 2020” evaluation to help infrastructure and operations professionals understand the nine most relevant vendors in this space. This is a refresh from our previous evaluation in 2018. You’ll find there’s a number of familiar faces: BMC Software, Flexera (acquired RightScale), Micro Focus, and VMware. But you’ll also find several new entrants: Canonical, IBM, Morpheus Data, Nutanix, and ServiceNow. Note: This is hybrid cloud management — spanning public and private clouds — not multicloud management (solely focused on public cloud management).

Distinct from 2018, we provided more clarity in functionality categories, dividing capabilities into discovery, governance and policies, visibility, orchestration and lifecycle management, optimization and automated operations, and experience. We also focused more on the orchestration layer, finding its ability to implement automation across domains, systems, and teams as key to a successful hybrid cloud management experience.

Other items that stood out in this Wave:

  • Everyone claims artificial intelligence/machine learning that differentiates. In reality, these capabilities rarely impressed or separated vendors from the pack. Instead, we found that depth of automation, particularly a strong orchestration layer (i.e., automated provisioning, service orchestration, configuration management, lifecycle management, and template libraries), was what separated the Wave’s Leaders from the rest.
  • Leaders have a fast innovation pace. Leading vendors had release cycles measured in weeks to a couple months. Those that lagged provided slow releases of six months to a year.
  • Customers want upgrade paths and clear documentation — (not) shocking! In our reference customer interviews, notable positive and negative comments focused around clear upgrade paths and whether documentation could provide clear onboarding. Customers complained of non-user-friendly documentation, steep learning curves, and inability to familiarize with the platform as major pain points.

Use the hybrid cloud management Wave evaluation to help select the vendor that best suits your strategy and needs. As always, keep in mind that the upper-right corners won’t always be the best fit for your business. Forrester clients can read the full report on the Forrester website. Download the Excel spreadsheet to see the specific criteria in order to understand why a vendor received a specific score — and to customize your results.

If you’d like to discuss these findings or the hybrid cloud management landscape at large, please schedule an inquiry ( In the meantime, happy reading.