Today, most sizable IT organizations have hundreds, if not thousands, of licenses for software tools that are critical for building and running the databases and applications that power their business. Managing these tools and their associated licenses, including deploying, provisioning and updating them, is time-consuming and incurs many hidden costs. There are also real productivity costs when IT professionals can’t readily access the tools they need at the right time. On the other hand, putting a bunch of tools on a server with no management, provisioning or usage tracking capabilities around them can come at an even higher cost. So then, where should IT professionals or anyone else responsible for setting up and managing a tools infrastructure look for answers? The latest phenomenon sweeping the IT landscape – cloud computing – may hold the most promise to overcome this issue.

The reduced complexity, lower costs and improved scalability afforded by enterprise clouds are growing in appeal to many IT organizations. What many people fail to realize is that cloud-derived advantages such as on-demand access, shared pools and rapid provisioning are not limited to running their databases and applications. These same benefits can also be extended to help reduce the costs and complexities of managing the myriad software tools often used to design, build and manage systems. By employing cloud principles to set up a private cloud infrastructure for tools – a tool cloud, if you will – complete with application virtualization capabilities, organizations can centrally provision and manage licenses across their enterprise. The emerging tool cloud approach can give IT groups within an enterprise instant access to many of the tools they need to solve critical tasks, both improving their productivity and reducing tooling costs by allowing software to be shared.

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