Today, nearly 90% of organisations have adopted a multi-cloud strategy. As a technology leader exploring cloud options, you may be tempted by the flexibility and innovation promises of multi-cloud. Plunging headfirst into multi-cloud can quickly backfire. From integration headaches to security risks to unexpected costs, I’ve seen many enterprises struggle with haphazard multi-cloud deployments.
However, with careful planning and execution, crafting a multi-cloud strategy can yield major benefits. In this post, I’ll outline key considerations I’ve found critical for developing an effective multi-cloud approach.
Why Enterprises Fail with Multi-Cloud
Multi-cloud environments are inherently more complex. Integrating tools, processes, and policies across cloud providers with disparate platforms is challenging. If you don’t deliberately address these complexities upfront, you are likely to face a multitude of issues down the road:
- Fragmented data and infrastructure. Lacking unified management and governance makes optimising workloads difficult. This drives up costs and hampers agility goals.
- Security gaps and compliance issues. Keeping data, systems, and applications secure across multiple clouds is trickier. It’s easier to expose vulnerabilities or fail audits without consistent controls.
- Siloed cloud operations. No “single pane of glass” fully tackles managing heterogeneous Multi-Cloud environments. Allowing too much divergence in processes and tools ultimately hinders efficiency and increases operational complexity.
- Talent shortages. Your team will require a broader set of cloud and integration skills. Plus, managing complex integrations across cloud platforms strains resources.
- Many enterprises falsely believe multi-cloud will improve resiliency, prevent vendor lock-in, and reduce costs. In reality, the approach often introduces more fragility while increasing expenses and limiting flexibility.
Plotting an Effective Course to Multi-Cloud
When planned deliberately, the multi-cloud strategy can boost innovation and mitigate risk. The key is applying proven architecture patterns and management practices to balance flexibility against complexity.
I suggest a phased implementation approach, aligning cloud efforts to broader business goals. Some best practices that have proven effective include:
- Choose a primary cloud provider. Build most applications and workloads here first, then and only then, add secondary providers incrementally per business needs.
- Standardise policies, processes, and tools where possible. Identify integration points to avoid creating too many divergences.
- Architect select applications for portability. Design components like APIs, data schemas, and modular services to avoid lock-in.
- Train teams on multi-cloud and integration skills. Growing cloud talent takes planning and time to fill skill gaps.
- Decide when to leverage CSP native tools vs. third-party tools. Native tools integrate tightly with the provider’s platforms, but third-party options can work across multiple clouds but often offer less in-depth capabilities. Choose based on capability gaps and requirements.
What Success Looks Like
Taking measured steps toward unified hybrid and multi-cloud management yields tangible rewards:
- Quicker innovation. Standardization and skills investment pays off with faster deployments. Developers can build on proven cloud architecture patterns.
- Improved uptime and performance. With centralized monitoring and governance, issues are caught faster. Teams can fine-tune performance across connected systems.
- Enhanced security and compliance. Uniform policies and controls reduce mistakes that lead to breaches. You demonstrate better cloud governance to auditors.
- Greater efficiency. Shared cloud management tooling and practices prevent too many disjointed processes. Resources go further.
- Cost optimisation. Workload placement decisions leverage economies of scale. Reserved capacity balances cloud vendor pricing pressure.
Architecture Patterns for Multi-Cloud
Implementing an effective multi-cloud environment requires selecting architecture patterns that align with your workloads and requirements. Key patterns include:
Identical workloads run in multiple clouds for failover and disaster recovery. Challenging to achieve redundancy across diverse platforms.
Workloads are distributed based on optimal cloud fit. Eases management of complex applications by targeting specific services to suitable platforms.
Leverage additional cloud capacity to handle spikes in on-premises or primary cloud demand cost-efficiently. Useful for variable workloads.
Intelligently route workloads across optimal clouds based on predefined rules and criteria around performance, cost, compliance, etc.
Cloud Brokerage Model
Mask the complexity of disparate providers by exposing pooled services through a single pane of glass management layer. Streamlines multi-cloud consumer experience.
Navigating multi-cloud complexity requires patience. But the destination can enable scalable, resilient, and innovative IT delivery that drives real business returns in the right use case.
How is your multi-cloud journey? I welcome your perspectives and wish you prosperous cloud journeys ahead!
I hope you found the post informative and thank you for reading and sharing.