Multicloud is a cloud approach made up of more than one cloud service, from more than one cloud vendor – public or private. It is becoming the preferred option for organisations, with a recent Logicalis Ireland survey* finding that more than half (57%) of Irish businesses currently employ workloads/apps across multiple cloud providers.
Not only does multicloud offer companies more choice in terms of where workloads sit and how best to manage their data, the single-vendor approach is increasingly considered restrictive and inflexible.
However, while multicloud arguably offers a greater choice and a greater chance of cloud effectiveness and success, it’s vital to have the right strategy in place to ensure the added complexity does not outweigh the benefits attained.
With our research showing that less than a quarter of Irish IT decision-makers believes their cloud strategy is well-defined and enabling business success, it’s evident that this is a gap that needs to be addressed. Putting the right cloud strategy in place when embarking on your multicloud journey will help to ensure that you get the most out of your cloud investments and will drive the future growth of your business.
But, how can you ensure that your cloud strategy is effective across a multicloud environment?
A successful cloud strategy should always begin with a review and evaluation of your organisation’s individual business requirements. By understanding and identifying your business needs and challenges, you can ensure that your strategy has a clear purpose. Choosing the right solution is more important than picking multicloud for the sake of it.
With IT environments – both test and production – spread across providers and locations, you need to ensure that the tools and procedures are in place to effectively control and manage a multicloud environment. In order to maximise the benefits, overcome the complexity and improve efficiency, automation has to be embraced. By automating aspects of multicloud management, you can eliminate manual tasks, increase accuracy and enable staff to focus on more business-critical activities.
With organisations running workloads on more than one cloud from more than one provider, data is becoming more dispersed than ever, making visibility of the entire IT environment a challenge. Not only will this offer a challenge in terms of management, governance and automation, it is likely that issues or changes in the environment that affect performance or security could be missed. Multicloud management tools go a long way towards addressing this.
Having KPIs is the only means of accurately measuring and reporting on the benefits of multicloud. Some of these elements (such as security) will be easy to measure, while others (like agility) may not be as easy to measure. Regardless of what you’re evaluating, the key to making cloud a success is continuous evaluation to see if it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing (and changing it if it’s not).
It’s important to revisit your cloud roadmap once a quarter. As well as reviewing KPIs, consideration should be had for market dynamics and new design models. These roadmaps will also evolve over time, so it’s vital that chosen providers and solutions continue to meet your cloud needs, enable growth and add competitive advantage. By engaging vendors and third-party providers that have prioritised partnerships, you can take advantage of the best operational and technical solutions. Agility is key, not only in order to avoid the challenges associated with vendor lock-in but also to maximise the ability to containerise, orchestrate and automate across multiple cloud stacks.
In order to safeguard your infrastructure and investment, it is imperative that security controls are put in place across all environments from the beginning. A ‘Secure-by-Design’ approach is therefore required, whereby the safeguarding and protection of your systems is a cornerstone of your multicloud strategy as opposed to an afterthought. This will help to reduce the risk to your environments and prevent threats both inside and outside of your company. From effective data recovery to security response training, this is one area that can’t be overlooked.
As well as meeting current requirements, you should think about the future. Map out business applications, current workflows and business processes to highlight where new IT investments or architectural considerations should be placed. Don’t be afraid of change and it’s perfectly acceptable to adapt an approach if it isn’t working. The bigger mistake is to shoehorn cloud into a current workflow approach and have legacy platforms hamper your digital innovation and transformation.
Effective change management is a large part of a successful cloud adoption process and journey. Be transparent by communicating short-term and long-term goals with all stakeholders – IT operations, developers, security professionals and applications teams should all be involved in building a successful multicloud strategy. Establishing the roadmap and reinforcing it will set the tone for the new approach. Moreover, you will need to equip team members with the training, knowledge, tools and skills to manage a multicloud environment. There is no reason for believing that those who can successfully manage on-premise infrastructure cannot successfully manage multicloud infrastructure, as long as they have what they need.
It can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to developing and implementing an impactful and effective multicloud strategy, especially when it comes to identifying which technological solutions can fulfil your business requirements. At Logicalis Ireland, we have extensive experience and expertise in identifying what approach will work best for your individual organisation. Moreover, we are focused on the outcome which means we will work closely with you to ensure your needs are met.
Multicloud offers a range of benefits including greater flexibility, increased productivity, better user experience and effective risk management. However, it has to be understood, well-resourced and adequately managed to be effective. It also relies on a strategy that is well thought out, successfully executed and continually reviewed. By getting all these elements right, you can fulfil both the potential of cloud and the potential of your own organisation.
*The research involving 103 IT decision-makers in Ireland was carried out by TechPro magazine and was commissioned by Logicalis Ireland and IBM.
To find out how Logicalis Ireland can help your organisation overcome these obstacles and identify the right cloud infrastructure, please contact the team today.