Today, “multi-cloud environment” is not a new terminology for enterprises. When an organization takes the initiative to adopt infrastructure and services from different cloud vendors, we say that it is leveraging a multi-cloud environment. There are extremely convincing reasons that multi-cloud is providing huge agility and cost efficiency to enterprises with its flexibility to separate different workloads into different environments depending on their specific requirements.
As companies continue to progressively deploy services from multiple providers, business benefits such as increased agility, improved disaster recovery, faster time to market, cost optimization, improved power to negotiate, lower dependency on a single vendor, and product innovation are expected to increase. However, along with these advantages, the multi-cloud journey does introduce a few natural challenges such as difficulty in managing costs, reduced performance (in some instances), increased security risks, difficulty in controlling operation overheads, and management.
Working with leading enterprise customers and cloud vendors, we have identified key pain points, related best practices, and tools and frameworks that can help enterprises to begin or evaluate their multi-cloud journey.
In a similar tone, Gartner says by 2022, 80% of companies leveraging the cloud, will have a multi-cloud approach. Avoiding a multi-cloud approach makes organizations fully dependent on one cloud service provider (CSP) for all their cloud-related services, and in such instances, there is a possibility that a few of the services may not offer the best value or service to address a specific situation. In most cases, either too much or too little is done to fit into the exact requirements of the user. As an example, if an organization is looking at using Azure Function for all client-facing event handling, and then, aims at taking the event data to a robust analytics platform for finding better insights out of the event logs, Azure might not be the best choice. It would be ideal to drain the data to GCP to get the task completed.
Below are a few key reasons that depict why adoption of multi-cloud architecture is becoming a mandate for progressive organizations:
- Choice of Service: No single cloud vendor provides the best set of services for all of an organization’s needs. However, a multi-cloud environment allows enterprises to choose the best service from multiple vendors for specific requirements. For example, MS Azure might be the ideal choice for fully managed (PaaS) runtimes while GCP or IBM Cloud could be the preferred choice for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) services.
- Reduced Vendor Lock-in: A multi-cloud environment empowers organizations to choose services from multiple vendors which eventually help them not only to distribute workloads across multiple providers but also to reduce vendor-specific dependency. Organizations have the necessary controls if they want to migrate to a different provider—when the quality of services degrades, prices go up, etc.
- Low Latency: Latency plays a crucial role while making a decision involving cloud adoption. Choosing a service and infrastructure near to users can lead to better performance due to minimum server hops. When an organization plans for multi-region deployment of an application to provide a uniform and seamless customer experience, a multi-cloud strategy empowers them to choose the closest services and infra from multiple providers.
- Increased Disaster Recovery: Multi-cloud environments help organizations to better manage their disaster recovery by adding the flexibility to choose redundant servers from different cloud providers. A multi-cloud arrangement allows replicas of applications in two or more clouds. In case of downtime in one cloud, all relevant requests can be redirected to the applications hosted in the other cloud. This arrangement can also be extended to multiple regions to achieve greater resiliency.
Happiest Minds guidelines for a smooth journey toward multi-cloud adoption
The industry is definitely treading on the multi-cloud path. Working with enterprise clients and leading cloud vendors, we at Happiest Minds have identified the best practices that help organizations successfully navigate their multi-cloud transformations. Here, we have been rapidly building our capabilities and best practices to not only help our clients map out their strategies for the cloud, but also to help them manage, monitor and secure their applications and data once they are in these highly distributed multi-cloud ecosystems. Here are the three key pillars for multi-cloud adoption:
Building the Right Strategy: Building a right and actionable strategy is a key success factor for multi-cloud adoption. Organizations should prepare for the migration with realistic goals, selecting the right cloud partners, deciding the best-fit tools, choosing the right set of people and competencies to assist with the migration, and strengthening the structure to help manage performance, cost and security. Selecting a suitable multi-cloud management platform/partner can bring resources under a single umbrella while implementing the correct compliance, security, and sue diligence.
Build/Deployment/Migration Approach: When an organization plans to build a new capability, or, migrate or re-engineer existing capabilities, by leveraging best practices, organisations need to streamline the process, delivering faster results and predictable outcomes while managing cost and and analyze cost vs performance while distributing workloads across various clouds. The organizations also need to analyze reliability vs performance and apply the correct strategy for automation of various tasks that reduce human effort and error, allowing you to stay agile.
Visibility and Measurement: The level of visibility plays an important role in deciding the success or failure of a multi-cloud adoption initiative. Cloud services (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), and Microservice-based applications act as the backbone of any business, and requires careful evaluation and performance monitoring of every deployed service on a regular basis—to streamline multi-cloud operations and deliver uninterrupted and superior digital experiences and choose the best cloud monitoring tool.
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About the author:
Ramkrishna Chatterjee is a Senior Architect in Happiest Minds having 16 years of experience in Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Digital Transformation, Multitenant SaaS Platform Development, Microservices , API, Hybrid Integration, SOA, Design Thinking, Technology Maturity, Technology Future Proofing and Architecture Governance activities for large enterprise scale initiatives