There is no denying that a digital transformation is taking place across businesses of all industries. With this transformation, multi-cloud management is a hot topic of conversation, but there is confusion about what multi-cloud means exactly and where it fits in your broader IT transformation strategy.
Multi-cloud is about leveraging the most appropriate environment for your infrastructure and applications to meet the needs of your organization, by utilizing a combination of cloud solutions often from different cloud providers. This ultimately establishes a flexible and customized architectural foundation for your enterprise. From public cloud to private cloud and, even, service provider clouds, multi-cloud strategies give enterprises flexibility to choose the right environment to support the unique requirements of different applications. Beyond flexibility and scalability, multi-cloud strategies are also being employed as a disaster recovery solution.
Yes, there are many pros to a multi-cloud approach, but the operational challenges of working across different environments and managing such environments can also be overwhelming. Many find that reality doesn’t always align with expectations for multi-cloud management and that establishing a practical cloud strategy can be a challenge.
Here are some tips on how to succeed with multi-cloud management:
- It’s not one size fits all. Each company or business unit or even application has their own unique set of requirements so what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for all. The race to the cloud doesn’t mean that you should move everything to the cloud today. Evaluate which infrastructure is right for your requirements right now and make sure it is flexible enough to allow you to change your strategy without disruption in the future. This means avoiding getting locked into one vendor or one platform. It’s not about adopting 100% cloud, but consuming cloud services when and where it makes sense to augment your current investments.
- Maximize efficiency and keep costs low. Understanding that the purpose of cloud is to maximize efficiency means that as you deploy applications across different platforms, it should not be at the expense of efficient processes and workload management. Ensuring governance across your ecosystem must be a priority to reduce risks.
- Drive governance through automation policies. Streamlining cloud service management and applying tools that automate application lifecycle management, monitoring, patching and other tasks means less manual oversight and coordination. This will ensure that applications are deployed and managed according to company policies, allowing the IT department to spend their time more wisely.
- Collect and track performance data. Potential network issues need to be monitored and addressed, which makes working with a cloud management provider essential for some companies. When tools are tracking data on all the cloud services, vendors and solutions, companies can target issues and their cause.
- Keep an eye on utilization and costs. As your company deploys incremental applications and services to various clouds, it becomes harder to predict and control usage which can drive your costs up especially with pay-as-you-use pricing. It’s important to have visibility of what is being used and by whom to keep costs in check using unified management tools that enable you to monitor and manage usage across all platforms for billing internal user groups for their usage.
In order for companies to keep on top of it all, it’s important to also incorporate a comprehensive multi-cloud management platform into your strategy. These solutions are designed to help you unify your disparate environments so you can automate and manage workloads across any cloud or infrastructure. When evaluating multi-cloud management tools, consider platforms and providers that can also deliver integrated managed services. By outsourcing some of the IT management functions whether it be short-term during transformation periods or ongoing, it allows you to focus your team on the other core areas of your business.
If a business’s multi-cloud solutions aren’t functioning smoothly and cohesively, then the desired efficiencies of cloud computing are a wash. And with the predictions that most companies will adopt a multi-cloud approach over the next few years, no one wants to be left behind.
Check out CenturyLink for more information on multi-cloud management and our Cloud Application Manager platform and attend our upcoming webinar on Five Steps to Drive Digital Transformation with Hybrid Cloud with Forrester Research on March 16.