How to Embrace Multicloud
by January 25, 2017

Filed under: Cloud Computing, Industry Insights, Performance Monitoring

Just when you thought you’d heard every cloud-related term out there, here’s a new(ish) one: multicloud. This one, at least, is pretty straightforward. It refers to businesses using more than one public cloud provider at a time. Now that there’s more than one mature public cloud option (sorry, AWS), you can actually take a best-of-breed approach to cloud computing. Multicloud has arisen in part because it’s finally possible.

There are plenty of benefits to a multicloud approach. It’s a way to hedge your bets with your cloud strategy, to avoid the kind of vendor lock-in that so many in IT fear. It can prevent data loss and add redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities if you set up failover from one public cloud to another. That, plus the added coverage of another provider, can also lead to less overall cloud downtime and its related impact.

Multicloud, generally, is today’s way for IT to use the best tool for the job, as they’ve always done. Different cloud providers have different strengths, so a business can use a cloud provider to their best advantage. It’s a way to stay flexible, too, and meet the needs of users and departments with the cloud that’s best for their apps and services.

Are you on board yet? Here are a few tips to get you started with multicloud.

1. Come up with a solid plan first.

You have to plan how you’ll manage these multiple cloud deployments before you dive in. Multicloud has a lot of benefits, but it’s also complex. Up-front planning will help you avoid wasting money or looking bad to leadership if there are unexpected costs or other negative effects from badly planned multicloud. Interoperability is one consideration, and it’s easy to get bogged down in setting up networks and interfaces. Computer Weekly recommends not using more than three cloud providers at a time to avoid too much complication.

During the planning stage, outline a clear mission of what you want to accomplish by using multicloud, whether it’s redundancy, better user experience or ending your current vendor lock-in. Also, make sure you’re prepared for SLA negotiations with each provider

2. Prove the business value.

Like most IT projects these days, multicloud deployment should be proven to line up with business goals. A SoftChoice study found that IT leaders without a cloud strategy are much more likely not to have the tools or processes to manage the new procurement model, struggle to get the skills to take advantage of cloud, and exceed their cloud budget.

Cloud computing in general offloads lots of manual tasks from IT to allow for more innovation and big-picture projects and improvements. Multicloud can offer these benefits, plus the promise of reduced downtime and vendor lock-in and, ideally, better user experience. Make sure to choose and document end-user experience metrics before and after multicloud adoption. For best results, consider proactive monitoring that adds visibility to a multicloud deployment, so you can see the performance of various cloud providers and prove the value of your investment.

3. See yourself as the cloud provider.

As you adopt more cloud services and engage with providers, think farther into the tech future. Even business leaders are still scrambling to get ahead in this cloud computing era. According to a recent study by Accenture, only 38% of C-level executives have integrated their business and cloud computing strategies, despite the fact that 95% have a five-year cloud strategy in place.

But it’s time to get on board and use cloud computing to its fullest advantage. As new apps are built for the cloud and data grows, according to IDC’s most recent cloud predictions, most big companies will have more data in the cloud. The pressure will grow for businesses to be truly cloud-run, and that in turn means organizations become cloud providers themselves to the users and customers that depend on them. So tinkering with multicloud likely won’t be a test project. Consider what your infrastructure needs to serve up data, apps and services better, and start down the path of building it.