By Armelle Tallec
When it comes to managing a multi-cloud environment, some fortunate souls may describe their current environment as “Nirvana”- and to you we say “Namaste.” But the reality is many users are still on that journey. The goal for those not currently in the ideal state of cloud nirvana is to move in that direction. That is the premise of a recent IDG webinar with Howard Holton, CTO at Hitachi Vantara and Justin Ciaccio, Director of Sales at ViON Corporation: “Building a Multi Cloud Management Strategy”.
According to 451 Research, cloud environments will represent 68% of workloads in 2020 compared to just 45% in 2018. Additionally, according to IDG’s 2019 CIO Tech Priority Study, 71% of respondents are operating a cloud either in production in a business unit, enterprise-wide, or upgrading their existing cloud technology. In this cloud environment, a new reality is emerging and rising – multi-cloud. According to 451 Research 27% of organizations have adopted a multi-cloud strategy.
Moving to Multi-Cloud Minimizes Risk
There are three main reasons why IT organizations adopt cloud: speed, agility and cost management. These three factors help IT leaders more effectively manage capabilities, and scale resources as needed. Because there is no one-size-fits-all for cloud, organizations are leveraging different cloud environments for various requirements, driving the need for a multi-cloud strategy. Centralizing on a single platform brings a level of risk. With the advent of more complex applications and varying workloads with different requirements, customers have been forced to adopt a multi-cloud approach as there isn’t a single cloud environment that can handle these various workloads in the most efficient manner. Often, multiple vendors are supporting the organization’s IT infrastructure.
What to Consider Before “Going Multi-Cloud”
As with any new approach, challenges will arise and multi-cloud management is no exception. IT organizations find themselves burdened managing security, governance, compliance and enterprise information management (EIM). Moving to the cloud can exacerbate these issues not only in terms of knowing where the data is, but how to take advantage of it for analytics, to integrate with other data sources, as well as to ensure compliance policies are in place to meet legal requirements. The question of security is paramount – how to take the standard security procedures that are in place for on-prem data and apply them to a multi-cloud world to provide that same level of confidence.
Many organizations find themselves running Office 365 for Windows applications. In addition, they may also be running one or several instances of AWS plus on-prem VMware. On top of that many businesses could be running Salesforce. Each of these operates independently with their own management tools, which requires additional levels of cost accounting and planning that didn’t exist before. Without a unifying management platform, multi-cloud can present a new layer of complexity. So, how do we get to Nirvana? There are two critical components: a solid multi-cloud strategy and the right cloud management platform (CMP).
How to Define a Solid Multi-Cloud Strategy
One of the most critical tasks that should be considered before deploying anything is identifying where the applications and information should reside. Answering this question will develop orchestration between the public cloud, private cloud and existing on-prem data center resources. You must do the analysis to determine the application dependencies. And as part of your planning and strategy, you need to ask, “How do I manage this, how do I ensure governance and how do I audit usage – as a SINGLE entity?” This is the first step in developing a sound multi-cloud strategy. It must also encompass working with a provider who has a proven history of delivering as-a-service, understands the criticality of your applications and can help you navigate the complexities with a portfolio of professional services.
To have a cloud, you have to have a cloud management portal (CMP). The problem that many IT leaders run into is that all clouds have a CMP that provides the ability to procure services, scale services up or down, track usage, make payments, etc. For each cloud, you have a CMP and the added complexity of managing each cloud independently. To alleviate these management challenges, centralizing all management functions across all clouds on the proverbial “one pane of glass” is the state that every IT manager should seek to achieve. The right CMP can orchestrate the right workload to the right cloud, provide governance to limit cloud sprawl and effectively orchestrate IT service management and business management to follow ITIL governance processes and pass audits.
Control, Governance & Agility – The Makings of Cloud Nirvana
At the end of the day, approaching your multi-cloud environment with a holistic strategy and leveraging a cloud management platform that streamlines operations through that “single pane of glass” will move you along the path toward cloud success and cloud nirvana. And working with a partner that understands the complexities of multi-cloud and can help you achieve the control, governance, agility and cost structure that are right for your organization will bring peace not only to your state of mind, but to your entire organization. ViON and Hitachi Vantara have a long history of delivering and managing cloud and as-a-service solutions to do just that. You can learn more from our recent webinar by clicking on this link.