By: A Staff Writer
Updated on: Nov 23, 2023
Navigating the Complexity of Multi-Cloud Environments.
The shift to cloud is unequivocal across enterprises today. What’s fast emerging as a complex evolution is the reality of multi-cloud – where organizations leverage more than one public infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider based on unique business needs. Forecasts predict that 98% of companies will adopt multi-cloud architectures by 2023. However, while promising benefits like flexibility and cost savings, the intricacy of heterogeneous environments can cause performance, security and compliance gaps if not managed well.
This article provides a blueprint for CXOs to successfully navigate multi-cloud complexity across ten key dimensions:
The starting point towards developing an effective multi-cloud roadmap is assessing the technology landscape – specifically the application portfolio, infrastructure interdependencies, resource utilization, network patterns and security policies. This analysis provides insights on workload profiles and candidate applications amenable for cloud migration based on readiness factors.
Next, CXOs need to determine multi-cloud migration waves aligned to business priorities – distinguishing systems where agility, scale and availability outweigh risks. Typical dimensions include end-of-life legacy modernization, developer experience improvements, customer experience enhancement and mission-critical future-proofing. This staged prioritization allows managing complexity.
An informed evaluation model encompassing the technical sophistication, commercial flexibility, geographic footprint, ecosystem partnerships and customer service track record across leading IaaS providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM Cloud is key. Robust due diligence allows determining the right cloud platform combinations suited to run specific application workloads based on functional and operational parameters.
Designing integrated cloud architectures ensuring seamless interoperability across providers, rather than siloed connections is pivotal for multi-cloud success. Governance frameworks providing technology building blocks, data models, integration services and policies woven into flexible blueprints can accelerate this shift. Equally crucial is using orchestration middleware allowing deployment portability across clouds.
With data and applications distributed across multi-cloud, secure connectivity allowing reliable, low-latency access often leveraging SD-WAN and SASE models becomes critical. CXOs need to evaluate options from using provider managed backbones or third-party networks to architected hybrid topologies blending MPLS, internet VPNs, 5G and software-defined interconnections to enable alignment with availability, speed and compliance needs of individual workloads, users and locations.
The variable spending models across clouds make continuous cost governance and efficiency a complex imperative in multi-cloud environments constantly balancing changing capacity, bursting needs and data gravity considerations across providers. Robust cost analytics leveraging tagging, automation and cloud native tools like AWS Cost Explorer and Azure Cost Management can provide requisite transparency for smart decisions.
Distributed assets and identities make access management challenging. CXOs need to delegate authentication, enforce universal policies encompassing on-premise systems and implement contextual controls across all layers of multi-cloud architecture for secure, compliant resource access. Technologies like single sign-on, proxy gateways and cloud access security brokers allow centralized visibility and control.
Automating Service Management
The velocity necessitated by multi-cloud makes manual IT operations inefficient. Service integration paired with AIOps blending intelligent automation, analytics and machine learning algorithms can empower cloud teams with tools to automate repetitive management tasks, gain end-to-end visibility for predictive insights and rapid incident remediation leveraging correlation across signals from disparate consoles.
The fragmented observability posed by multi-cloud calls for holistic monitoring providingunified analytics spanning networks, infrastructure, applications, user experience and business KPIs to swiftly diagnose issues. Such visibility allows optimizing collective capacity and continuity. CXOs must enable integration of different native cloud monitoring capabilities using aggregation tools providing a consistent single pane of glass view.
Over reliance on specific cloud providers entails the risk of disproportionate bargaining power and inability to relocate workloads, hence judicious provider mix is key. Architectural portability enabled by containerization, cloud-agnostic platforms and data flow decoupling allows sufficient flexibility to redistribute apps in case of M&A shifts or replacement needs. Multi-cloud management skills and partnerships further help drive leverage in contract negotiations.
Multi-cloud adoption provides tantalizing possibilities for enhanced innovation, scale and availability along with inherent intricacies to harness the heterogeneous potential while navigating solution complexity. Using the strategic planning dimensions above provides CXOs a structured approach to build robust yet agile multi-cloud environments capable of fueling business transformation.