When it comes to cloud and cloud services, supply chain and the service providers are at the cutting edge of the business of cloud, which makes the role of the technology vendor in this case crucial. The digital transformation of the service provider, how it brings newer advancements on board, is closely linked to the business models in their transformational journey on to the new cloud service opportunity. The International Data Corporation – IDC, a global provider of market predicts that more than 80% of companies today use at least two cloud architectures. The business drivers behind this are simple – avoiding a Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, vendor lock-in, costs, performance, and reliability being the most obvious factors.
What exactly is multi-cloud?
Multi-cloud, like the name simply suggests is the use of multiple cloud computing and storage services in a single network architecture- which essentially refers to the distribution of cloud assets, software, applications, and more across several cloud environments.
Any enterprise that uses of two or more cloud computing services from any number of different cloud vendors is on the multi-cloud, the environment of which could be all-private, all-public or a combination of both.
Many adopters of cloud computing use the public cloud where the application is outsourced to a service provider (while there are many cloud infrastructure service providers, AWS, Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Openstack (private cloud), Rackspace, VMware Cloud are the most popular and credible), a more ‘private’ model is where dedicated in-house cloud environment could also be deployed.
Though used interchangeably, the terms hybrid cloud and multi cloud differ in more ways than one. In a multi–cloud solution, an organization uses multiple public cloud services, each different, often from multiple different providers. Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, combines private and public clouds toward the same purpose.
The most enticing benefits that a multi cloud environment offers to organisations is a vendor lock-in. It gives the enterprise a distinct leverage, where the organisation can distribute workloads between service providers, application development can be developed to work across different vendors, making it easy to work between cloud service providers.
A multi-cloud strategy offers flexibility to the company to select between different cloud services from different vendors because not all vendors provide the same services, in the same departments. The mix and match approach gives the enterprise a clear advantage in terms of choice, avoiding disasters like DDoS, better adherence to regulatory and other compliances etc.
Another central factor that comes into play is the enterprise’s ability to take advantage of running workloads on different clouds, which has direct benefits in terms of cost savings and performance optimisation.
Why is this important?
Every provider without an exception has distinct strengths and weaknesses to its credit, and in the digitally competitive world today, it is smart to leverage what each vendor offers. Consider an enterprise using cloud services across multiple geographies. Identifying one cloud infrastructure provider is a huge challenge which makes the decision to use a multi cloud strategy abundantly clear. Similarly, in case of a DDoS attack, the effect of the attack is significantly mitigated by reducing downtimes through instant load shifting onto other clouds.
The big decision:
Although the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy are obvious, while moving from an on-premises model to a cloud-based environment, it is wise not to take a direct leap. Starting with a single vendor, acquainting in-house staff to the new environment in terms of skills development and management while a gradual progression is made later on to a multi cloud deployment is a smart approach.
Here are 10 thrust areas that companies should include in their risk management strategies, with no compromise while considering multi/hybrid cloud solutions:
1: IT architecture design : A hybrid cloud is a highly complex IT architecture that involves varying combinations of public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises IT; It would therefore play a vital role in IR architecture design.
2: Coordination of cloud procurement with end business users: While deploying a hybrid or multi cloud strategy is great on many levels, it works only when a systematic, structured approach is followed.
3: Data management: As data gets richer, the cloud gets bigger. So do the number of companies that are using cutting edge technology like AI, ML and other storage automation in their data centres that route data. It automatically implies that while deploying a multi/hybrid solution, data management should cater across cloud domains.
4: Security and privacy: Though security and data privacy are improving in the cloud, it does not change the fact that it is a zero tolerance area for breach, and while considering deployment across different clouds, concepts of security and privacy connote different meanings.
5: Bandwidth and latency: Access to the cloud could be via a secure, private network or most often, over internet.
6: Disaster recovery and failover: Companies moving data and applications to the cloud should consider disaster recovery plans and DR/failover commitments of the cloud providers, which is pivotal.
7: Switching vendors: Switching between vendors is always tricky, and unless a smooth plan is in place, it could get complicated from a contractual or a inter-cooperative standpoint.
8: On-premise licenses and contract management: While migrating applications from on-premises to the cloud, optimal resource management takes place while the transition happens when the on-premises software licenses are expiring – in terms of better coordination and costs.
9: Vendor SLAs: A much overlooked, yet important aspect is the service level agreement, which cloud vendors do not publish or include in their contracts, but needs to be emphasised on.
10: Vendor liability and risk management: When it comes to setting boundaries for vendor liabilities, the enterprise should identify vendors based how their solutions fit into the following three questions:
What is the vendor’s liability in response to a disaster (or downtime) in service that harms the business?
Does the vendor have control over the circumstances leading to the problem?
How effectively can a security breach to data in the cloud be handled?
Explore how YASH Technologies’ Multi-Cloud Management helps optimize your business performance while keeping tabs on a efficient, effective transition onto cloud services that suit your requirement. Visit https://www.yash.com/digital-transformation/
Sr. Technical Architect (DevOps)