Opening Eyes to Multi-cloud Deployment

By CIOReview | Monday, June 12, 2017
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The concept of multi-cloud has been gaining traction ever since companies started outsourcing their workload deployments to the cloud, most often to a single cloud vendor. But the market today is replete with numerous options, thanks to the numerous public and private IaaS providers—HP, Amazon, IBM, Rackspace, VMware and OpenStack. These new deployment options enable a mix-and-match of platforms and cloud providers while also facilitating hybrid clouds for users to manage resources in their datacenter or private cloud alongside those migrated to one or more public clouds.

However, the process of deploying and orchestrating multiple clouds is challenging enough. First, to implement multi-cloud, one must have a thorough knowledge of cloud services as well as the aptitude to compare services across different clouds. On top of that, there is very little standardization. Different cloud providers incorporate disparate technologies and competences, from the fundamental building blocks of the main subsystems—compute, storage, network—to the APIs. In keeping with such complexities, the best way out is to separate the workload from the underlying IT infrastructure which in turn initiates agility between different environments. This separation, however, is not feasible in all contexts, particularly in case of enterprise legacy workloads.

In addition, multi-cloud calls for an advanced proficiency in verifying what to move to the cloud, where, when and why. This ensues a rise in overall management overhead, including investments in VPN connections and monitoring. Moreover, the employment of diverse platforms demands strategic expertise and a broader technical skill set. Not to mention, just like any public cloud solution, the issues of security, compliance, and availability must always be reckoned with.

In spite of the many complexities that multi-cloud deployment entails, CIOs and IT teams spanning various industries tend to opt for a multi-cloud strategy. This is so because multi-cloud also brings with it significant cost and flexibility benefits. To begin with, the autonomy to deploy programs on varying cloud vendors represents an added merit over the idea of relying on a single provider. With technologies evolving, the IT ecosystem also needs to change and this transformation is fomented by the endorsement of the multi-cloud approach. The follow-on lower level of lock-in helps users negotiate with vendors freely for better service-level agreement and costs. The ability to easily switch vendors grants increased freedom in decision-making and availing the best offers at any given time.

Next in line is the aspect of hybridity. Users can stockpile some applications on-premises while preserving the rest on one or more clouds, based on performance, security, and cost optimization. What’s more, a hybrid cloud can also be leveraged to render quicker service, especially if the customers are from different nations. Deploying applications on a cloud that is nearer to the customers’ geographic locations can steer better response time and performance.

Cloud service providers offer wide-ranging pricing models and support dynamic packages. While comparing these offerings, IT leaders come across vital discrepancies that might have a powerful impact on the IT environment and its operational cost. At times, they might opt spending more for a specific deployment to acquire special capabilities and better efficiency while at other times, they might continue benefitting from the cheapest option available.

It can, thus, be deduced that a multi-cloud approach comes with unparalleled advantages. For superior results, it is advisable that enterprises start investing in IT training to figure out when and how to extend their datacenter to the cloud, which includes establishing workload mobility, monitoring data residency and comprehending backup and DR implications.