The multi-cloud environment continues to mature and become a mainstream component of today’s IT environment. However, the path to set up a multi-cloud environment is riddled with challenges. There is no single approach for implementing a multi-cloud environment & every company needs to build its own roadmap for its neoteric, and unique business needs.
Multi-Cloud environments offer a range of advantages but are increasingly tedious and complex to manage. Resurrecting problems emerge in such an environment because of inconsistencies between new & old systems.
What Restrains Enterprises from Making the Most Out of their Multi-Cloud Investment?
Several enterprises are shifting their infrastructure on the cloud to keep up with the digital demands. Covid-19 has only worked as a force multiplier of this growth as organizations don’t want to stay behind their competitors in the cloud tech Armageddon.
2019 Data Storage Trend report published by ESG found that 23% of IT enterprises grew data in the cloud at 50% a year or higher.
However, haphazard cloud adoption is causing more harm than good. Therefore, organizations should approach multi-cloud environment in a phased manner.
Many organizations are finding themselves at cross-roads while transitioning to cloud. They are grappling to connect the new & old systems running in parallel. Another big challenge here is balancing workload and reducing downtime.
Adopters usually use some management software to cope with these problems. However, multi-cloud management tools becomes as dynamic and confusing as their surroundings that need to be sponsored.
Usually, a multi-cloud involves a mixture of processing, storage, and other resources. The ecosystem is created by integrating on-site infrastructure resources and private cloud services and orchestrating between different platforms or public-cloud offers.
In a recent study, the IDC research company noted that different clouds could provide different capabilities and pricing options. Because of lack of clarity to these dynamics, organizations grapple with increased complexity which derails their services and slowdown the overall pace. To overcome these challenges, enterprises should clearly outline their cloud preferences, regulatory enforcement requirements, and latency limitations.
Proven Ways for Making the Most out of a Multi-Cloud Environment
Successful multi-cloud implementations do not happen overnight. Enterprises must address several issues concerning integration, workload management, connectivity, etc.
Making decisions about multi-cloud management while understanding the cloud environment can be complex. To cope up with these challenges, organizations need to follow some best practices.
Integrate Hybrid Cloud Concepts
Yes, the prevailing data around multi-cloud and hybrid cloud concepts have been somewhat disjointed. However, you need to consider as many IT delivery models as possible (DCs, public/private cloud. HCI, hyper-scale DCs, and hosting services) for creating a sustainable multi-cloud strategy. There are several moving parts that need to be connected for data exchange. Leveraging API-led integration to connect these parts can be costly and error prone. Enterprises should smackdown silos and establish a single source of truth and intelligently wire islands of automation for seamless data movement.
The complexity levels in a multi-cloud environment increase because of additional integration points between data stores with third-party cloud-based applications and premise systems. Integrating applications on the same cloud infrastructure can make the whole framework whole less complex.
Enterprise multi-cloud strategy should prioritize integration and connectivity. Usually multi-cloud implementations revolve around speed. However, speed should be the ulterior objective. The strategy should sprawl to integrate employees working remotely on distributed resources and deal with shifting workforces. IT teams should think about an intelligent mesh which can help them in transitioning internal workloads on cloud. They should also envision a strategy for disaster recovery and responding swiftly to unforeseen events.
Integrate Hybrid Cloud Concepts
Enterprises which thrived in the new norm were the ones which quickly scaled their hybrid cloud infrastructure for supporting the work from home (WFH) strategy. They fixated on design considerations (around the VPN capacity and systems) to support distributed workforce needs. Enterprises which stayed on top of the pandemic driven change quickly responded with storage strategies like transitioning latency sensitive applications with load balancer, synchronizing on-premise directories, and implementing data tiering. These enduring lessons of the new normal are also relevant for the next normal.
If you want to drive usability and adoption in the dynamic multi-cloud ecosystem then mapping workloads can be the most crucial step in crafting a robust multi-cloud strategy. By preparing a route map around integration, organizations can enable the right infrastructure components and empower IT teams to define effective SLAs.
To build a future-ready multi-cloud strategy, enterprises should closely assess and monitor their IT ecosystem. Doing this can help them in benchmarking best practices. It can also help them in aligning the multi-cloud strategy with the business goals.
Focus On Cloud Storage Caching To Drive Down Latency
Latency occurs when enterprise applications and users are separated from the data. This problem persists in every cloud infrastructure as users traverse through different dimensions for accessing files and databases. The best-fit solution to this problem is cloud-storage caching that copies frequently accessed data from local repositories to centralized locations. A next-generation caching appliance provides conduit to multiple cloud objects or storage services. They can be deployed on locations spread across different locations which are running parallelly.
Cloud storage caching provides hybrid storage gateway to create a distributed storage system spreading across multiple enterprise data centers and IaaS / storage centers. These applications can be harnessed to block object storage, increase cache hit volume, and minimize external traffic.
Enterprises should evaluate their requirements before investing in a storage catching appliance. As a next step, they should look for a tool that supports more than one provider, ensures data security, optimizes WAN, and scales to support multiple nodes.
Implement Levers For Cost Management
Hybrid-cloud bills skyrocket straight into the stratosphere for several reasons i.e., overprovisioned resources, poor visibility into the environment, cloud sprawl, etc. In many cases, enterprises end up paying more for unused elements. Enterprises can cut down on unnecessary spending by monitoring all these factors and planning capacity. With better capacity planning, enterprises can also manage traffic spikes, priortize cost, and improve performance.
Enterprises can also cut down on unnecessary data transfers to minimize the data transfer fees of vendors. They should start with assessing the cloud provider’s fees and try to keep the number of data transfers under control. Another best practice to cut cost is moving those on-premise applications first which frequently require cloud-hosted data.
Cloud sprawl is another factor which balloons cost in the long run. It is a significant and unnecessary increase in cloud resources. When enterprises fail to eliminate the redundant resources, but the cloud vendor continues to charge them. Enterprises should have a closer check on the cloud resources and safely decommission them in case of redundancy.
Test the Security Stance
For several reasons, on-premise infrastructure security models are outmoded in the cloud. 2020 McAfee report revealed that most security breaches that affect enterprise are caused because of the negligence at the user’s end. It is quintessential to ensure that security strategy is ruggedized from all sides.
Any slippages left in the air can become costly in the long run. Enterprises should have a long-range encryption solution to protect data in any environment. They should charter plans and outline where their cloud territory starts and ends.
To prevent security breaches, it is recommended to stress test the environment from different angles and improve the security stance accordingly. Smarter enterprises refer security testing methodologies and production-safe capabilities which simulate hyper-realistic attacks, malware, and application traffic. Unlike, traditional pen-testing methodologies, these advanced security testing methodologies emulate attack behavior in a much more realistic and accurate manner. Continuous testing keeps the hybrid cloud environment ahead of the attackers.
Moreover, the staff should be trained on the cloud security aspects. Users should be trained for ensuring secure access to back-end services, firewall rules, servers, network, etc.
Enterprise planning for transitioning to cloud should factor these best-practices in their multi-cloud strategy. This can help them in gaining new efficiencies and making the most out of their investment.
The Bottom Line
Although hybrid cloud environments present a bewildering range of perks, there is no denying from the fact that in numerous organizations the multi-cloud environment is becoming increasingly intricate and difficult to manage. Undoubtedly, the current multi-cloud environment is immature and evolving, but with constant oversight and intuitive management of network performance, security, workload, etc. the potential of cloud computing can be skilfully utilized by growing enterprises.