• August 22, 2019
  • Catagory Managed Cloud Services

Ready to mix and match with multi-cloud?

By : Justin Folkerts

Hybrid cloud environments are constantly evolving and today one cloud is no longer enough—diverse workloads mean you must be ready to embrace a multi-cloud model.

Whether it’s one, two or more of the public cloud such as Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle or Google, or turning to a managed IT services provider to help you leverage economies of scale, it’s likely you’re already facing the realities of multi-cloud, including the benefits and the challenges.

What is multi-cloud?

A hybrid cloud brings together an on-premise data center (a private cloud built on cloud technologies) with a public cloud, while multi-cloud brings together multiple cloud services from different providers, both public and private. In the same way organizations might have chosen a best-of-breed approach to their on-premise applications deployment, the multi-cloud paradigm allows for the selection of the best cloud provider for a given workload.

The multi-cloud model is driven in part by open source and the desire for organizations to leverage cloud technologies to best serve customers, suppliers, partners and even employees. Further accelerating the momentum of the multi-cloud is the ability to run services from providers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a private data center thanks to Azure Stack and AWS Outposts. Add the ability to run VMware on AWS, and organizations can mix and match cloud services as much as they want to meet the specific requirements of any given workload.

The right cloud for the right workload

Like the best-of-breed approach to on-premise software applications, multi-cloud offers many benefits, including the ability to pick the right tool for the right job on a case by case basis, rather than just one provider that may excel on one capability while lacking robustness in others.

Similarly, it allows you to avoid being locked into a single cloud provider and take advantage of innovation from a variety of vendors, while also enjoying the flexibility and scalability you need as your business grows and your needs evolve. A multi-cloud strategy also gives you some measure of control, including cost governance, as public cloud strategy can sometimes cost more than a private cloud approach, depending on the workload.

More clouds, more challenges

Running a multi-cloud environment is not without its challenges, however. Not all clouds are equal and not all providers do things the same way. AWS and Microsoft Azure might offer the same service, but have different processes, so what the customer is responsible for on their side may differ depending on the provider.

Using a mix of cloud providers can add even more complexity to compliance and security too. Not only do you have to worry about your own data center being compliant with industry standards and regulatory frameworks such as privacy legislation, but you need to be certain your providers are up to snuff too by understanding all compliance requirements and creating the necessary policies.

While cloud providers may tout their security features, you still need to have the right in-house resources to manage application and workload security in a multi-cloud environment, which makes identifying and containing security threats even more complex. This includes securing connectivity across the multi-cloud environment—after all, data is the lifeblood of your business, and a multi-cloud environment means mean you need to securely and cost-effectively move data between one cloud provider and another, as well as to and from your own data center.

Get help with multi-cloud management

If you’ve already embraced the hybrid cloud, you’re in a good position to take advantage of multi-cloud. But as with all IT infrastructure demands, there’s a lot to be said for tapping the expertise of an experienced managed service provider to help you with some of the heaving lifting. They already have solid track record of managing, securing and optimizing multi-cloud environments, which enables you to focus on strategic initiatives without add more to your plate.