In a Multicloud setting, a firm relies on more than one provider for cloud services, whether public or private. “That sounds a lot like hybrid cloud?” you might ask. Yes, but only if the different cloud providers’ services are connected by integration or a form of orchestration.
According to the 2021 HashiCorp State of Cloud Strategy Survey, 76% of firms are using a Multicloud strategy and 53% have achieved their business goals. Multicloud has many perks, and they fall into two main categories; advantages associated with having a combination of cloud types (public and private) and advantages of using more than one provider/vendor. Let’s clue you in on what’s special about Multicloud and how you can make it work for you:
Why switch to Multicloud?
Here are some of the more setup-related benefits of multicloud:
With multicloud, you can have a public cloud service like Google Cloud as one of your environments. Remember that such a large organization serves a wider customer base.
This comes with active feedback and passive insights from many users. So when coupled with a massive research and development budget, they constantly refine various aspects of their cloud offering. And since data privacy and overall security are vital to avoiding revenue loss from damage related to cyberattacks, this aspect is continuously fortified.
Say your business data becomes inaccessible or apps malfunction out of the blue. Public cloud providers’ support teams will help you figure it out and get back up. But, the way they serve you may not be very smooth. On the other hand, a private cloud provider with fewer clients could dedicate more time to understanding your firm’s unique cloud usage patterns.
This extra attention strengthens the relationship with your employees, more so those in IT. Together, you can effectively maintain elements that see repeated configuration changes. The provider stays up-to-date on the changes and can anticipate problems through monitoring.
With a multicloud setup using private or public cloud providers, a business can cap its cost on expanding and maintaining hardware for on-premises infrastructure. Instead, they can rent the hardware in a provider’s data center. Public providers like Google Cloud operate larger data centers and are always expanding, so they realize considerable economies of scale.
Since they have lower unit costs in service provision, they can afford to give clients a better price for cloud services. Away from the advantages of combining a public and private cloud service under a multicloud setup, let’s examine the benefits of using different providers:
When relying on a single cloud service, you’ll be constrained by the provider’s capabilities. For example, they may have a limited feature set for businesses in specific industries. Or, they might have solutions for several industries, but they mainly address administrative work, with limited tools for the technical side of other processes like accounting, marketing, and more.
The provider may also focus on popularizing their product suite rather than fitting into the larger IT space. Such a provider will support fewer integrations with other niche software and task-specific tools you already use. Multicloud enables you to incorporate a cloud service that supports a wide range of integrations and then use another cloud service for different tasks.
You can then use additional APIs and orchestration tools to link the disparate services you need in a particular workflow. For instance, the Google Cloud platform has over 100 products spanning numerous sectors like AI, Media and Gaming, Data Analytics, Internet of Things, Healthcare and Life Sciences, among others. And, you can build data pipelines and workflows to link various resources using offerings like the Cloud Data Fusion and Cloud Composer.
Increased uptime and faster recovery
Cyberattacks are everywhere, so having all your applications hosted in one location is not advisable. And don’t forget that issues like power outages and cooling failures can leave the hardware you rely on unavailable. But if you take the mutlicloud route, you’ll have more options to fall back on if such things happen. You’ll also be able to create multiple backups of your data in different locations, simplifying recovery if your main storage is compromised.
Since a multicloud approach involves different service providers, you can further refine the way you limit instances of unavailability. Say your provider hosts most of your apps and data in one data center; if that center faces a problem, you won’t be able to serve your clients.
However, if you add a service like Google Cloud to your setup, you can have your resources distributed across different regions and separate zones under each of those regions.
This is particularly important for firms at the start of their cloud adoption journey and those supplementing an inadequate cloud tool. The major issue here is how to get right to the complete toolset you need without wasting too much time and money on irrelevant features.
If you try Google Cloud, for instance, you can benefit from the pay-as-you-go pricing and avoid provisioning resources that go unused. Start with US$300 in free credits and over 20 free products and do trial runs for your workloads. As you better understand what products speak to your firm’s unique needs, you can look them up on the individual products’ price list.
This approach emphasizes ROI during digital transformation, enabling a gradual necessity-driven transition. You can prioritize processes needing an efficiency boost from cloud tools. While this happens, your IT team suggests more ingenious techniques for achieving efficiency and accuracy, like Machine Learning, Big Data, and Real-time Analytics. The team experiments with cloud products that build advanced solutions as the critical business processes continue.
What should you consider before starting Multicloud?
As you contemplate various multicloud structures, make sure you consider:
If you plan on serving clients outside the country’s borders in a short while, you may want to check a service provider’s data center distribution and networking capacity before you pay. You don’t want the user experience to be smooth in one country and horrible in another.
Data privacy laws are becoming more intricate for international business. For example, you will still be held to GDPR even when serving a European Union citizen outside the EU. Stay on top of the applicable rules in each scenario to ensure your multicloud setup doesn’t handle user data and application traffic in a non-compliant manner causing you problems later on.
Comprehensive IT expertise
If you plan on having a highly interconnected multicloud setup, you need to adjust your in-house IT team. Each cloud provider will have support agents, but you might need more help.
Occasionally, some employees might get confused as you work to converge multiple tools into a single interface. An IT team conversant with every cloud tool in your setup can help with the necessary training to get employees up to speed with all the new changes.
How can one address the complexities of Multicloud?
It’s worth noting that 18% of organizations across the globe do not succeed at multicloud adoption as it can be a fairly bumpy road, with some notable challenges such as:
- Optimizing expenditure
- Avoiding silos and harmonizing tools from different providers
- Achieving full visibility across all cloud applications
- Securing the cloud setup
- Data integration
- Skills shortages
Multicloud maturity will remain elusive for firms that can’t get on top of these issues. If you’re determined to get the most out of multicloud, here’s how you can solve these problems:
Identify and categorize cloud-ready processes
Pinpoint all the cases where you can apply a cloud-based solution. Arrange them according to simplicity of migration. Things like storage are easy, so you can start by performing backups.
You can proceed to the more elaborate processes and differentiate them based on the ability to handle them using only one or multiple cloud providers’ solutions. At this point, policies aren’t yet in the picture and it’s just teams experimenting to find a tool-process fit.
Establish rules and monitor operations
Once you’ve figured out which applications and data you’ll be shifting to the cloud, you need to mirror your organizational structure within your cloud setup. Ascertain who everyone reports to and who has permission to do what. Then, select a tool you can use to see who performed certain actions and how they progressed. Make sure you involve all stakeholders.
By doing so, every concerned stakeholder can weigh in on how the different cloud tools impact the workflows. This conversation will birth feasible policies that you can continuously refine as you monitor the multicloud usage within your organization. At this stage, you establish who’ll have access to specific resources and the context in which they will.
Move your primary workloads
This is the step where you switch from on-premises infrastructure to your provider’s infrastructure. It is also the time when you can move workloads from one provider’s tool to another’s. Monitoring and visibility will now be crucial to gauging the differences in results. The main services are delivered via the providers’ servers and you’re assisted by SaaS.
Delegate management and adopt advanced solutions
Here, you single out the skills gaps exposed by your migration and lean on the provider by opting for offerings like managed databases. At this point, you should also look into each provider’s unique advanced features, such as serverless and scalable schemaless approaches.
This is also the level where you consider building bridges between resources hosted by providers where possible, especially if it improves the end-user experience. You can choose between VPNs, Partner Interconnect, Dedicated Interconnect, and other options.
Commit to the new setup
This is where you determine whether you still need the older infrastructure or service features that were inadequate. It is better to make multicloud mandatory for new processes. In the meantime, you can keep the older infrastructure that is still relevant, say, on grounds of cost, control, or some other reason. When the providers in your multicloud setup meet all those needs, you can then abandon legacy systems and redirect the funds to your new providers.
Wrapping up, adopting a multicloud setup can be a daunting journey, and it also requires continuous assessment and increased harmony between different departments.
Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.