Effective Multi-Cloud Implementations Require Managing These 4 Considerations

Given the benefits of cloud infrastructure and computing, it’s no surprise that businesses continue to adopt cloud solutions. The conversation has solidly moved from should our company use the cloud to which cloud strategy is the right one for our business.

Each cloud provider has different strengths and shortcomings, which makes choosing a single cloud source a challenge. A majority of organizations surveyed by Microsoft in 2016 — 79 percent — have decided that leveraging the strengths of each provider, when appropriate, gives their businesses the greatest advantage. Companies combine services from AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, and others to create a solution that meets their exact needs.

But a multi-cloud approach is not without its challenges. While some organizations have purposely chosen this strategy, others have more or less stumbled into a multi-cloud architecture. Adding cloud services is easy but can result in cloud application sprawl and runaway costs. 

Regardless of how a company ended up using multiple cloud providers, they must be mindful of how those providers and services are monitored and managed going forward.

4 Considerations to Improve and Manage Your Multi-Cloud Solutions

Management of Workload Placements

Organizations committed to a multi-cloud architecture need to define guidelines on how and where applications should reside. A decision tree can be helpful with this process, outlining the strengths and weaknesses of a given cloud provider or service, as well as the cost of building, maintaining, and running the solution.

Governance

Governance over a multi-cloud architecture is how companies prevent sprawl, failures, and cost overruns. Organizations should define their policies and procedures for use and provisioning of cloud services to manage risk and understand the dependencies between applications and how the multi-cloud infrastructure can support or may hinder those dependencies. Ideally, organizations should consider their core set of business applications and their alignment to the cloud services on which they are housed, and use those as drivers to establish processes and workflows. Regulatory compliance and security capabilities of the cloud provider must also be taken into consideration. 

 Cost Management

The initial decision to adopt cloud services, for many companies, is driven by potential cost savings. But without a clear understanding of usage or aligning applications appropriately with a solution, a multi-cloud architecture could mean the opposite. Placing a high volume application on a service intended only for spikes or implementing code without optimizing for performance are just a few examples of potential cost overruns. Cost management goes beyond these, however. Even utilization can be an area for savings or an unnecessary overrun. Consider, for example, if development and test environments need to be available during off-hours or on weekends – would minimizing these environments create cost savings? Cost management requires analyzing at a wide swath of data to determine reasonable opportunities for savings or to uncover waste.

Integrations

Silos are a challenge of multi-cloud ecosystems. Modern business demands the ability to share information across applications which, in a multi-cloud environment, may mean solutions housed on a variety of PaaS, public cloud, and on-premise solutions working with any number of SaaS applications. Companies must address how to get these applications integrated in a secure, reliable, and efficient manner that promotes business agility and cross-department collaboration.

A multi-cloud solution is the path most organizations are heading down. To reap the greatest benefits, however, companies must be willing to manage their cloud services as they would on-premise solutions. Taking a measured and systematic approach to solution utilization, management, application and service affinity, and governance will continue to provide an organization with the cost savings, and ease of use companies have come to expect from the cloud.