Multi-Cloud Strate­gies: The Recipe for Suc­cess­ful Busi­ness Trans­for­ma­tion

A multi-cloud strat­egy em­pow­ers busi­nesses to re­al­ize the full prom­ise of cloud by of­fer­ing true flex­i­bil­ity to scale, im­prove per­for­mance, and min­i­mize costs

Dataquest - - INTELLIGENT COMPUTING | CLOUD - (The au­thor is Vice Pres­i­dent, Sapi­ent Global Mar­kets)

While the ben­e­fits of­fered by cloud to­day have the po­ten­tial to drive busi­nesses, the tech­nol­ogy also in­tro­duces a set of risks, es­pe­cially for a busi­ness that counts on a sin­gle provider. For most, part­ner­ing with a sin­gle cloud provider may fall short in mit­i­gat­ing risk, op­ti­mally sup­port­ing di­verse sys­tems and data, and ad­dress­ing reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments. 32 www.dqin­dia.com

While build­ing and ex­e­cut­ing a cloud strat­egy, the most im­por­tant task is not se­lect­ing a ser­vice provider, but craft­ing and op­er­a­tional­is­ing a multi-cloud strat­egy around all pos­si­ble needs; this is one of the most im­por­tant fac­tor on which the ul­ti­mate suc­cess shall de­pend. This strat­egy en­ables one to take the best out of what each cloud of­fers, re­duces the ven­dor lock-in and also pro­vides more op­por­tu­ni­ties for op­ti­miza­tion.

A multi-cloud strat­egy em­pow­ers busi­nesses to re­al­ize the full prom­ise of cloud by of­fer­ing true flex­i­bil­ity to scale, im­prove per­for­mance, and min­i­mize costs. As or­gan­i­sa­tions con­tinue em­brac­ing the ben­e­fits of cloud com­put­ing, the im­per­a­tive to work with more than one provider is in­creas­ingly in­evitable. A re­cent study con­ducted by IDC found that 86 per­cent of en­ter­prises will re­quire a multi-cloud strat­egy to sup­port their busi­ness goals within the next two years. Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey of more than 650 IT de­ci­sion-mak­ers, 77% of busi­nesses plan to lever­age multi-cloud strate­gies.

When an or­gan­i­sa­tion re­lies on a sin­gle provider, it loses an op­por­tu­nity to plug into a truly fit-for-pur­pose cloud in­fras­truc­ture, while ham­per­ing agility and flex­i­bil­ity over the long term. Fur­ther, us­ing one provider can also be at odds with the reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments. A multi-cloud strat­egy is trans­for­ma­tive for busi­nesses and the right part­ners can mean a pain-free tran­si­tion so busi­nesses can make the most of the ad­van­tages it of­fers.

A multi cloud strat­egy muse ad­dress the four pil­lars:

PROVIDER SE­LEC­TION

With each cloud plat­form hav­ing dis­tinct strengths, it be­comes im­por­tant to form a clear de­ci­sion mak­ing cri­te­ria for when one can choose a par­tic­u­lar provider. It is im­per­a­tive for each or­gan­i­sa­tion to fig­ure out a plat­form that is fit for a par­tic­u­lar pur­pose — whether com­bin­ing cloud and on-premise host­ing, meet­ing data pro­tec­tion and pri­vacy re­quire­ments of a cer­tain coun­try or lever­ag­ing a mas­sively scal­able plat­form to man­age big data. It is bet­ter to take a long-term view when mi­grat­ing to any provider, since it be­comes hugely dif­fi­cult to move away from a se­lected plat­form post mi­gra­tion.

SOURC­ING

Far from a one-time ex­er­cise, sourc­ing multi-cloud is an on­go­ing jour­ney. Or­gan­i­sa­tions must reg­u­larly work to stay on top of the com­plex­ity, ne­go­ti­ate the best pric­ing and pre­dict costs over time.

With prices that vary not only from provider to provider but also with a sin­gle provider, cloud pric­ing can seem much more com­pli­cated than rocket sci­ence. There is a prob­a­bil­ity that rates can be higher or lower for some data cen­tres, and a grow­ing trend points to time- of- day pric­ing. Those vari­ables pose a big chal­lenge when work­ing with a sin­gle provider and can get even more daunt­ing when man­ag­ing more than one providers. And yet, get­ting con­trol over pric­ing is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary. Other­wise, an or­gan­i­sa­tion might end up spend­ing much more on cloud as com­pared to on- premise so­lu­tions.

DE­PLOY­MENT AND DE­LIV­ERY

Ev­ery cloud plat­form shares some com­mon­al­i­ties but they also dif­fer in sub­tle ways, which must be un­der­stood and ad­dressed. When build­ing a multi-cloud strat­egy, it is ex­tremely im­por­tant to con­sider staffing and train­ing re­quire­ments. A team en­tirely ded­i­cated to de­ploy­ment and de­liv­ery is re­quired for each plat­form. At the same time, a Multi-Cloud Cen­ter of Ex­cel­lence can serve as a com­ple­ment— strength­en­ing ex­per­tise and stan­dard­iz­ing pro­cesses as much as pos­si­ble across all providers.

OP­ER­A­TIONS

Af­ter mi­grat­ing on-prem ap­pli­ca­tion to cloud plat­forms, it is im­per­a­tive that th­ese ap­pli­ca­tion are con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored. For this pur­pose, an or­gan­i­sa­tion can rely on a fed­er­ated model based on each provider’s mon­i­tor­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, or it can cen­tral­ize mon­i­tor­ing us­ing third­party tools that span all of the cloud plat­forms.

Fur­ther, a busi­ness should work to­wards a strat­egy to know till what ex­tent it will be able to in­te­grate across its cloud plat­forms. Again, the key de­ci­sion is cen­tral­iz­ing ver­sus fed­er­at­ing—with most or­gan­i­sa­tions need­ing to do some of each.

Cloud sourc­ing can­not be a set-and-for­get ac­tiv­ity. As part of day-to-day op­er­a­tions, an or­gan­i­sa­tion must en­sure strong, on­go­ing IT-pro­cure­ment col­lab­o­ra­tion on multi-cloud cost op­ti­miza­tion.

IS JUST SWITCH­ING TO MULTI- CLOUD ENOUGH?

Suc­cess comes not merely from mi­grat­ing to cloud or even mi­grat­ing to mul­ti­ple cloud plat­forms. Suc­cess comes through each or­gan­i­sa­tion’s hard work in de­sign­ing and op­er­a­tional­is­ing how it uses each plat­form to ac­cel­er­ate in­no­va­tion, drive op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency and en­able new ser­vices and in­sights—for the busi­ness and for its cus­tomers.

While more and more busi­nesses are switch­ing to multi cloud strate­gies, it is also im­por­tant for th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions to be ready to deal with the ad­di­tional com­plex­i­ties that come along with this tran­si­tion. Be it the lim­ited time, ever-con­tract­ing bud­gets or re­duced staffing lev­els, or­gan­i­sa­tions should start by build­ing a proac­tive and prag­matic multi-cloud strat­egy, so as to make sure that such busi­ness trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives are suc­cess­ful.

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