We have witnessed over the last couple of years since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that migrating to the cloud has accelerated to cater to the social and business dynamics. Those enterprises hesitating to go ahead with cloud adoption will soon face extinction. According to Gartner, Inc., Enterprise IT spending on public cloud computing within addressable market segments, will overtake spending on traditional IT in 2025. Gartner’s ‘cloud shift’ research includes only those enterprise IT categories that can transition to the cloud, within the application software, infrastructure software, business process services, and system infrastructure markets.
Today a significant number of companies are preferring a mix of legacy platforms, on-premise private cloud, and multiple public cloud services in their effort to establish a robust IT infrastructure, services, and operations in the new business models.
Demand for multi-cloud architecture for its numerous benefits
The multi-cloud architecture involves leveraging multiple cloud services from different cloud service providers to cater to various requirements. The architecture can increase availability and enhance performance by enabling organizations to stretch their workloads across different cloud service providers. Depending on their requirement, they can switch between providers. It helps IT teams navigate the complexities of different IT environments and is increasingly used by businesses. According to Grand View Research, the global multi-cloud management market size which was valued at USD 6.37 billion in 2021, is expected to expand at a CAGR of 27.5% from 2022 to 2030. The need for more efficiency, reliable services, flexibility, automation, effective governance, and cost-effectiveness with various platforms and the elimination of vendor lock-in instances are driving the high growth of the multi-cloud market.
A robust multiple-cloud strategy will provide all the business benefits when implemented and managed well. Organizations can mix and match storage, analytics, apps, networking, and other resources that are best suitable for their workloads, without depending on any single provider. Disaster recovery capabilities can also be improved with the distribution of workloads across platforms. Furthermore, by paying only for what they use, businesses can scale as required thereby optimizing cloud costs.
Implementing the most appropriate multi-cloud strategy is key
CIOs and IT teams have the challenge of navigating the complexity of different cloud environments effectively to optimize performance. However, a step-by-step guide will help teams to overcome the constraints and deliver business value.
Teams should at the outset determine the reason for deploying multi-cloud, technical requirements, resources needed, approximate budget, and assignment deadlines. The goals should be defined which could be the expansion to new markets, cost optimization, speedy delivery of apps, and improvising self-service models or automation, among others.
Determine which apps and workloads require which cloud services, ensure high availability and identify the data and processes that require to be safeguarded. Ensure tight integration between clouds, high levels of interoperability, and migration of data between environments. It is equally important to establish how critical the workloads are for the existing business.
Thoroughly research various vendors keeping the workload in mind, besides cost, data storage, and security services offered, and choose those suitable to the requirement and budget. The IT team should be well-versed in optimization techniques, and automation policies and be able to analyze complex cloud discount options. Roles and responsibilities have to be clearly defined based on the team’s skill set. The team members have to be proficient in multi-cloud orchestration, cloud monitoring, and Infrastructure as Code.
Greater visibility of the cloud architecture and usage has to be established with the right tools for managing multiple cloud resources. Choosing a single pane of glass to manage multi-cloud accounts with a suitable Cloud Management Platform is crucial to visual real-time cloud data. Define a spending budget and ensure the team remains within the allocated resources. Post implementation, reviewing the multi-cloud strategy has to be put in place, and finally refining the overall strategy to suit evolving requirements is very vital.
Following best practices ensure strategy success
Identify and select the most appropriate tool which has features and integrations that support multi-cloud infrastructure management. This can help achieve efficiencies to a great extent. It is essential to standardize as much as possible as it is not advisable to establish the multi-cloud architecture based on a specific capability of one of the cloud providers. Standard protocols and formats for storage, computing, virtual machines, containerization, and networking have to be used. They should facilitate the multi-cloud architecture and the solution should work with multiple cloud providers. A third-party monitoring strategy is required to oversee the entire multi-cloud infrastructure.
With clarity in modularization, modules and configurations can be shifted from cloud to cloud without any kind of rework. This speeds up and streamlines the processes, while significantly reducing the workload on the team.
Containers have to be leveraged for migrating workloads between different cloud environments as they provide better portability of sub-components and app management becomes far simpler. Implementing a comprehensive, unified security protocol is much required as it provides complete control of the application.
The multi-cloud era is certainly becoming the new normal for organizations across industry verticals as it improves performance and drives future growth. Understanding the different cloud environments, taking the right decision, and implementing the right multi-cloud strategy is imperative to business success.
By Rahul S Kurkure, Founder and Director of Cloud.in.