The evolution of cloud computing
Cloud computing has come a long way.
The concept first took off as companies looked to capitalize on low-hanging fruit such as infrastructure renting or hosting mobile and web content. This strategy proved effective in lowering costs and improving scalability for seasonal changes in the business. Today, the cloud has become as essential as electricity for IT environments. Some of the most valuable companies are being built entirely on sophisticated cloud technologies like deep learning and blockchain.
Meanwhile, the business case for cloud computing services has evolved. More than reducing costs, it’s now paving the way for faster innovation and better customer experience. This, in turn, has given rise to both hybrid and multicloud environments.
In the article below, we’ll explore some of the key benefits and challenges of a multicloud approach.
Multicloud vs. hybrid cloud
The hybrid cloud approach uses some combination of public and private cloud. In a hybrid cloud scenario, applications needing scalability, high availability and geo-redundancy to serve multiple stakeholders worldwide use public cloud. Here, the public cloud also drives better and faster performance from third-party application providers such as Salesforce and Slack. Meanwhile, sensitive or regulated data and applications are most often hosted on a private cloud under a hybrid approach.
On the other hand, multicloud is a tactic wherein any combination of public, private or hybrid clouds exist. These clouds are managed through a central dashboard and are either all connected, partially connected or independent. Multicloud may also include the use of clouds from different cloud service providers, albeit with a consistent security and governance framework.
More than half (58%) of businesses are using a combination of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud to create a multicloud network. — Kentik
Furthermore, different applications may require or benefit from different cloud capabilities. While one may provide the best technology to power data-driven, cloud-based applications or “systems of engagement,” another may be tailored to intelligent AI-driven applications or “systems of intelligence.” Taking a multicloud approach means IT teams are able to capitalize on both, placing each workload in the best cloud to support it.
Benefits of a multicloud approach
A recent study by IBM estimated that 98% of organizations plan to adopt a multicloud architecture by 2021. Organizations are taking this leap because a multicloud approach offers enormous benefits to any business.
By combining cloud providers, organizations benefit from the strengths of each, while mitigating the shortcomings by avoiding vendor lock-in. Using more than one public cloud provider allows for 24×7 uptime and higher resiliency through built-in redundancies. With the right multicloud approach, IT teams also benefit from greater cost efficiencies, simpler regulatory compliance and more robust security.
Key considerations for your multicloud strategy
Hybrid and multicloud strategies are still fresh in most enterprises. Cloud service and third-party application providers have yet to evolve consistent frameworks for integration, data sovereignty and compliance with national and global regulations. An enterprise needs a centralized platform to secure, monitor and deploy workloads in a consistent manner. However, with each vendor having its own proprietary standards many challenges do come up. They include:
- Integration: Connecting applications delivers many benefits from greater efficiency for employees to better insights for executives. However, integration remains a challenge when different applications rest on different clouds with data sometimes residing on-premise.
- Visibility: With clusters in so many environments, monitoring usage presents a challenge. Enterprises need a single dashboard to track the activity in clusters and nodes.
Visibility is a huge problem for multicloud users, with some 59% of respondents reported as using at least two tools for better visibility in cloud applications. — Kentik
- Security and compliance: Setting consistent security and compliance standards across vendor clouds is a key priority. It’s also a challenge for enterprises. Ensuring the appropriate placement for workloads and setting customized configurations also present difficulties.
Organizations must also be wary of developing multicloud environments by mistake. This occurs when lines of business adopt cloud-based applications without IT’s knowledge or approval. The resulting “shadow IT” creates unnecessary cost, complexity and security risks.
Next steps: Finding the right cloud partner
The multicloud approach is fast becoming an integral part of any IT strategy. Taking an open-source route solves many of the problems around integration, security and data sovereignty. IDC predicts that organizations will turn to open-source solutions such as Google Cloud computing as a key element for cloud integration.
Enterprises cannot and should not wait for these challenges to sort themselves out. Instead, they should embrace third-party service providers to handle implementing and maintaining multicloud environments. The elite service providers of today can help optimize cloud costs, navigate and negotiate SLAs while also mentoring internal cloud champions.
Working with Softchoice helps you to simplify your multicloud networking and security requirements, strengthen your disaster recovery and deploy applications faster to meet business – and consumer – expectations. We’ll guide you in choosing the right workloads for migration, choosing the right cloud providers, architecture and procurement methods to ensure you optimize your workload migration and cloud spending.