Why Does Your Business Need a Multi-Cloud Strategy?
The discussion around multi-cloud benefits (such as vendor neutrality, cost optimization, business agility, and risk management) has concluded, and business has spoken through actions. According to a report by Forrester and Virtustream in 2018, 86% of companies that were surveyed have a multi cloud strategy. Gartner also says that multi-cloud is a $240 bn market.
It’s evident that depending on a single cloud provider is clearly not the most optimal way to drive IT and staying away from the notion of multi-cloud is no longer an option for businesses. In fact, CIOs now need to answer a new set of questions like:
- Which workloads should move, and to which cloud?
- What is the best combination of cloud vendors and services for my business?
- What’s the optimal number of cloud vendors I should use?
- Do I already have a multi-cloud? Where is it?
- How do I govern this environment?
- How do I address data access and security challenges?
These questions (and many, many more) describe an organization’s multi-cloud strategy. We must also appreciate the difference between ‘using multiple clouds’ and ‘having a multi-cloud strategy’. These are not the same, though are often used synonymously.
Most multi-cloud setups today are more tactical in nature (to meet isolated departmental needs like security, compute, storage, etc.). By adding the strategic angle to the enterprise multi-cloud story, CIOs can take their operational needs to a whole new level altogether. Here are some of the ‘strategic’ aspects that need to be factored while thinking about your multi-cloud plan:
- Transient Workloads: The fast changing nature of business today means that data, compute or network needs face massive spikes on a regular basis. Predicting the time, duration and extent of spikes is nearly impossible for organizations. Multi-cloud setups are better placed to handle such transient needs optimally.
- Big Data Management: Gartner predicts that there will be 25 billion connected devices in use by 2021. According to Cisco, IoT is already generating 5 quintillion bytes of data daily. Areas like AI, machine learning, NLP, edge computing and social analytics will find real applications in industry. Multi-cloud strategies need to factor the enormous data management challenge emerging from these trends.
- Agile Methodologies (CI / CD): With continuous shifts in business needs, technology teams need to build strong Agile and DevOps capabilities. This requires highly flexible development, testing and production environments that can support agile development processes and CI / CD capabilities.
- Microservices and FaaS: Concepts like Microservices and Serverless Computing (of Function-as-a-Service) are emerging as viable ways to connect applications and data across different cloud environments. Microservices allow new business services to be dynamically stitched together, using services across different cloud platforms and vendors.
- Multi-cloud Performance: Lastly, tracking performance and risk is critical to the successful management of multi-cloud environments. Cloud Management Platforms must have the ability to aggregate and analyze network, storage and performance data across various clouds in a consolidated fashion.
A robust and sustainable multi-cloud strategy involves a lot of planning and also needs a clear understanding of departmental objectives, involved users / stakeholders and unique needs of various enterprise workloads. CIOs need to consider working with cloud services partners like Netmagic that can provide the architectural capabilities and multi-cloud management expertise to draw a realistic and actionable implementation roadmap and governance strategy for multi-cloud management.
Nitin Mishra heads the product management and solutions engineering functions at Netmagic Solutions. During his nine years with the company, he has been responsible for conceptualizing and packaging hosting and managed services focused on IT infrastructure requirements of Internet and Enterprise applications.