Why Multi-cloud Can Bridge the Gap Between Public and Private Clouds
If you haven’t already started moving there, it’s time to get ready for a multi-cloud world.
Many organizations have already figured out that a multi-cloud environment provides the most efficient and cost effective solution for their current and future needs. Simply put, multi-cloud is the combination of private cloud environments and public cloud services from the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google.
A recent IDC CloudView Survey shows nearly 80 percent of large organizations with 1,000 or more employees already have a multi-cloud strategy in place. The same study also revealed that 51 percent of those same organizations are currently using both public cloud and private cloud infrastructure, with an additional 29 percent of organizations expecting to do so in the next year.
A multi-cloud approach offers numerous benefits, enabling IT departments to provide faster, more flexible and potentially more affordable capabilities for their end customer, the business owners. In companies of every size and industry, the rapid development of new applications and their near constant upgrades has become the most important differentiator for business success.
In most cases, a multi-cloud environment provided by corporate IT enables the application development teams greater flexibility and a faster time to market. As companies invest in public clouds as well as their own private ones, it’s essential to determine which workloads are appropriate for which environment. This can be a complex task in and of itself. No less complex is the effort of managing these multiple environments and their associated workloads once these determinations have been made.
As I alluded to, one of the biggest challenges I see is companies struggling to decide which workflows are best suited for which cloud environment. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to unleash the full potential of a multi-cloud environment before you start moving essential workloads around.
Among the first steps is application discovery. It’s critical to know your overall application portfolio and have a deep understanding of the applications that are interrelated from both a data as well as a hardware standpoint. The configuration management database (CMDB) is a good place to start, although it’s rarely up to date to the point that an IT executive would hang their hat (or career) on them.
The next phase involves turning a more critical eye to each application to understand, whether or not they can effectively exist, or be modified to exist, in a public cloud or should be kept private. The decisions made here should happen through the lens of security, cost analysis and ease of use.Prevailing opinion is that applications like email and test and development environments are well suited to public cloud environments. Full production workloads, meanwhile, are generally still the domain of private clouds. While this line of thinking is beginning to change, as we see more and more companies expanding their footprint in the public cloud, most companies still maintain their ERP and other production environments; the “crown jewels” of their workloads, internally.
From there, it’s a matter of optimizing applications for the right cloud. Need low latency and responsiveness? Private may be the best option. Other uses such as analytics, meanwhile, may be better suited to the public cloud.
One thing is for sure: no matter where your workflows live today, a multi-cloud strategy can deliver the critical flexibility your business will need to remain competitive in today’s world.
In my next post, I’ll share some of the key multi-cloud implementation considerations