In the initial days of cloud computing, future-gen enterprises used to utilize the services of a single cloud service provider to suffice every business need. Today, enterprises around the world are acknowledging the importance of multi-cloud strategy to propel the growth. Multi-cloud provides freedom to enterprises in availing cloud services from different cloud providers, minimizes the vendor lock-in risks, prevents the downtime or disruptions during outages, and allows to choose the best of what every cloud platform has to offer. Having said that, multi-cloud also demands strategy-driven practices to attain the cloud goals that this approach intends to achieve. Multi-cloud has become a new cloud reality in which creating a set of best practices for managing it is not difficult – applying them can be. In a multi-cloud setup, complexities are even more pronounced, which is why enterprises have to put a lot emphasis on a set of best practices to get the most out of a multi-cloud approach.
Opting for a multi-cloud strategy offers a wide variety of benefits to enterprises in terms of reliability, flexibility and data management. While some enterprises combine public or hybrid cloud, enterprises seek to avoid vendor lock-ins, others try to capitalize on vendors’ unique capabilities like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and serverless computing. A multi-cloud strategy has its own set of challenges as it is more complex than a single cloud, and managing applications that spread across various cloud companies are difficult. Multi-cloud opens up a lot of opportunities for collaboration and productivity that also means there is a lot more to oversee. Here is a list of best practices that enterprises need to take under consideration while creating a multi-cloud management strategy.
Top 10 Best Practices To Manage A Multi-cloud Environment
- Select the Right Cloud Partner – It is imperative to identify the best-in-class multi-cloud providers that have competitive pricing and perfectly fits the business and budget needs to ultimately drive innovation. For enterprises, working with multiple cloud partners requires a deep research to make sure the cloud platforms and tools are compatible. Make a map of features from each cloud service provider to understand how well they are working with one another. Determine the multi-cloud management tools, and open-source tools that may help in tracking expenses, features and resources across various cloud platforms.
- Effectively Manage and Avoid Vendor Lock-in – Enterprises ensure portability through a portable software stack, containers, shunning a siloed approach and exploring the vendor’s services in detail. Enterprises need to choose those technology stacks that are available across different vendors and platforms. OpenShift, Kubernetes, and CloudFoundry are famous as they can run on all cloud stacks. Containers make workloads more portable by easily moving applications from one environment to another. Learn about vendors’ services before finalizing and weigh all the potential advantages and risks before putting the workload on the cloud.
- Optimize the Costs – Enterprises must ensure that the multi-cloud strategy enables the benefits of flexibility and cost savings of moving workloads around as needed to meet unique business requirements. As multiple vendors are included, an effective multi cloud strategy can cut the cost of any cloud provider involved. Deploy microservices architecture, use serverless computing services, match workloads to vendors, identify the right cloud services broker, analyze cost optimization tools, and contact the cloud providers directly to manage cloud costs.
- Aim for a Seamless Experience – If one data center experiences technical glitches or downtime, it will not have any impact on other applications. Make cloud decisions with due diligence, take timely backups, create disaster recovery plans, cater the latency issues and focus on business continuity. Thoroughly understand the service level agreements that have specified the level of commitment during uptime or downtime. For backup and primary systems, use a different cloud vendor to get seamless workflow experience.
- Ensure a Solid Security Posture – Network performance improvements and robust risk management measures and proactive actions can strengthen the multi-cloud security posture. Frequently review the legal policies, industry mandates and security regulations, understand the GDPR guidelines, adhere to applicable compliances, control Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions, encrypt data in motion, and run a private cloud for confidential data and information. Make sure that you have an Agile defense and can detect and mitigate attacks in progress.
- Judiciously Manage the Vendors – It’s always the best to approach every successive cloud project on a case-by-case basis after analyzing the cost benefits of services against vendor lock-in risks. Use automation and orchestration, containers, invest in a multi-cloud management tool, invest in multi-cloud management tools, create API management strategies, consider cloud service brokers to manage the complexities and reevaluate your decisions on a regular basis to manage multiple cloud computing service providers.
- Overcome the Challenges – Managing multi-cloud vendors can be challenging and chaotic at times. Create a detailed plan after assessing the workload, use discovery tools before moving to cloud, deploy automation and orchestration tools, understand every cloud environment with its features, consider multi cloud management tools to speed up the application delivery and enhance uptime by taming multi cloud complexities.
- Focus on Collaboration – To integrate the data and applications in multiple clouds, enterprises frame a powerful API management strategy, and critically select data and application integration tools that suit the business needs. In multi-cloud structures, a middleware is required to bring collaboration that can make applications work together and put data in desirable format.
- Encourage the In-house Teams – Build your in-house team of IT pros, train the existing staff members or hire more experienced people with strong cloud computing skills who can manage multi-cloud architecture. Cloud computing services and experts are in high demand as companies with multi-cloud strategy need professionals who are well versed with the challenges that occur while working with multiple cloud vendors.
- Update the Strategy Regularly – Cloud environment is dynamic as it evolves with every passing moment. Updating a multi-cloud strategy on a regular basis can bolster resilience, agility, flexibility and scalability. Revisit your multi-cloud strategy frequently as what had worked well for you before may not work now. Leave no room for ambiguity and immediately get in touch with cloud vendors if they make any updates in service offerings.
Best practices are quintessential as a multi-cloud environment is inherently challenging!
Multi-cloud brings a new level of efficiency, cost containment and productivity but it can be complicated at times. Enterprises need to set realistic goals, secure the network, collect and consolidate data, evaluate environments as one, right size and optimize, schedule tasks and automate wherever possible. Spend more time selecting cloud partners, learn how all cloud platforms and tools should be used, share the responsibility with the rest of the organization and strengthen the multi-cloud management structure as a multi-cloud approach on its own doesn’t suffice vendor lock-in. Multi-cloud strategies provide results more effectively than merely adding cloud products and hoping for them to come together.
Martin Moyers is a business analyst and an avid tech blogger who is associated with Zymr, Inc. He is obsessed with AI-ML, cloud technologies, and the universe of social media. In his leisure time, he enjoys rafting, sailing, and hiking.