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James M. Connolly
March 28, 2022
10 Min Read
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The question of whether an individual enterprise should go with a multi-cloud or sole-provider strategy seems to be largely settled. While some are happy having a single cloud service provider, surveys show that as many as 90% of large organizations are opting for a multi-cloud approach.
Now, they just have to make that multi-cloud strategy work.
The original decision to rely on several cloud providers is starting to seem relatively easy given the challenges that pop up as an organization seeks the benefits that their cloud strategy promises. CIOs don't seem to regret their choice, but the move to multi-cloud -- accelerated by a pandemic, work-from-home, and board directors calling for digital transformation -- does raise challenges.
In this updated InformationWeek Enterprise Guide to Multi-Cloud Adoption we share advice and experiences relating to multi-cloud issues.
The two most significant themes tend to be the complexity that use of multiple cloud providers brings and the challenge of data management. Complexity is driven by factors such as IT decision makers keeping track of which applications or units are supported by which provider, different terms of service and billing policies, even different contract language.
Data management may be the greater issue in the long run. Effective data management is crucial to digital transformation as companies struggle to manage increasingly large and diverse data streams. That data -- at least the most valuable data -- is at the heart of efforts to improve the customer experience and drive internal efficiency. Consolidating data sitting in varied applications hosted by multiple cloud providers simply can be challenging.
The articles in this guide delve into what organizations are doing and should be doing to address multi-cloud strategies, and how some companies are succeeding.
Check out these articles and the hundreds of other informative content pieces -- about IT management, careers, analytics, DevOps, AI, and more.
Cloud Evolution and Decisions:
Concerns about identity and access management in the cloud might slow enterprise migration as awareness of gaps in control are realized. IT decision makers may hesitate or at least carefully consider consequences related to identity and access management (IAM) and the cloud, according to research by Forrester. Recently released research conducted by Forrester
Here are some trends revealed from a decade’s worth of research, including steadily growing interest in multi-cloud, with more than 90% of enterprises having a multi-cloud strategy.
Many big enterprises are committed to public cloud, but they may just be getting started with data management efforts in multi-cloud environments. That is key to meeting their goal of leveraging data to provide better customer experiences and internal efficiency.
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When enterprises make long-term plans for the cloud, they face a tough choice early in the process. They could pick only one source for their cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud, to take advantage of all the exclusive features providers offer to their dedicated users. A counterpoint to a “locked-in” approach is to choose agnostic, multi-cloud services cherrypicked from different providers to allow for more freedom. Experts continue to debate the advantages and drawbacks of each path that enterprises can select.
Multi-cloud strategies can lead to greater challenges with factors such as unstructured data, data steaming and IoT. IT leaders need to understand that a problem exists and then think through approaches. Once they do that, the technology to employ is easier to figure out. Here's some guidance.
No doubt, wide adoption of the cloud as a one-size-fits-all solution
brings tons of benefits to the table. However, they come at a cost not everyone can handle. One costly mistake by first-time cloud adopters was their failure to perform analyze the various types of cloud deployment models and juxtapose them with the performance needs of their current and prospective systems.
Like most things in the world of data, creating and maintaining governance policies in a
multi-cloud environment requires constant compromise and negotiation. As you consider cloud providers, look for those with functionalities that make data governance easier, including SAML integration and APIs that extend your role-based access. Look for tools that allow for automated data tagging and archiving to streamline your data lifecycle requirements.
More enterprises are putting their data operations in the cloud, a trend that will continue as AI, machine learning, and other analytics efforts accelerate. CIOs reveal that their organizations are moving to a cloud-first or hybrid cloud strategy for infrastructure projects, including data and analytics efforts.
Multi-Cloud Advice, Best Practices and Drawbacks:
Recognizing the nuances of a true multi-cloud deployment is the first step toward making it happen. From there, CIOs can follow a straightforward plan to actualize value. One starting point is to identify whether they are implementing a true multi-cloud model or just using multiple clouds.
When building out a multi-cloud environment, it’s important to focus on a unified strategy with the proper controls in place to manage applications, security and costs. To maximize on cloud investments, businesses must be strategic.
You’ve just been asked to look at a multi-cloud solution. You might put on a brave face for upper management, but deep down you know this isn’t going to be easy. You’re right. There are five areas that can make multi-cloud adoption difficult to achieve.
It's no secret that the cloud can be a fickle beast. Outages are all too common, and when they happen, they can cause massive disruptions for businesses. So how can you ensure that your business is safe in the cloud?
Driving this to full potential requires planning, a commitment to standardization and compatible management tools. Here are steps to take to reach these goals, starting with untangling a multi-cloud environment’s inherent complexity.
Facing an increasingly complex environment, companies often try to abstract their enterprise architecture, using a single set of high-level tools and interfaces that (theoretically) make all their applications and operations "cloud agnostic."
As enterprise IT infrastructures evolve, so must your skills. Here’s a look at the most coveted infrastructure skills you should be considering today. Think about some of the skills that are crucial for a multi-cloud environment, such as advanced cloud networking, containers and AIOps.
The pandemic caused a rapid acceleration of organizations shifting to the cloud. Now is the time to take a step back to review your move to the cloud to ensure its strategic and effective. A proper plan, collaboration with all stakeholders, and automation of day-to-day tasks will allow CIOs to increase agility and prevent overspending on unnecessary capacity.
A true multi-cloud strategy takes far more planning than you may think. It must include well thought-out and actionable steps regarding business need for multi-cloud as well as details on how private and public clouds can most efficiently be stitched together to create a singular network.
The rapid migration to the cloud has only accelerated as organizations embrace the benefits of the cloud and adapt to the new security, performance and scale paradigm. Amid such advances and success (and failures), why introduce yet one more cloud catch phrase: integrated cloud architecture (ICA)? The answer is because illumination is needed in how organizations are blending multiple cloud platforms to provide an orchestrated collection of services.
As enterprises move to private clouds, hybrid clouds, and now multi-cloud, the number of platforms, databases, devices, network, and end points continues to explode. While there are no easy answers or magical tools to address the complexity issues, some fundamental architectural planning can be done.
IT leaders who will survive in the hybrid multi-cloud world are fostering the skills they already have in-house, while embracing some shifts toward new ideas.
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The global supply chain shortage is massively impacting the entire technology industry, proving critical that CIOs find ways to leverage cloud resources efficiently. The cloud presents an attractive solution to this widespread problem in IT. However, most CIOs will encounter significant hurdles when looking to transition their IT infrastructure.
Bringing a major real estate services company with multiple brands in its portfolio to the cloud required a multifaceted strategy that continues to evolve. Learn more about the cloud strategy for the parent company of Coldwell Banker, Century 21 Real Estate, ERA Real Estate, and Sotheby’s International Real Estate.
AIOps is a trending buzzword in the cloud sector. CIOs are skeptical now, but that won't last. AIOps (artificial intelligence operations) should be ideal in IT environments that are arguably too complex for humans to manage.
A global manufacturer opts for a unifying platform rather than a 'Frankenstein' approach to its digital transformation. That unifying approach was based largely on Dell's VMware Cloud offering.
Research by Gartner shows several key trends becoming prominent as enterprises continue to scale up with and make new demands of cloud providers. They include the pace of cloud ubiquity, a demand for regional cloud ecosystems, the reduction of carbon footprints, and a rise in automation in cloud services.
Switching cloud providers is never a decision to be taken lightly, yet change is often unavoidable. Knowing exactly when it's time to switch cloud providers can be an agonizing process, but one signal is that the IT group's jobs are now harder rather than easier.
When AWS bounced Parler from its servers, it raised questions about continuity of service other companies may need to consider. Experts offer some perspective on possible steps organizations might take if a cloud provider drops a service.
Now might be the right time to expand your horizons and take a second look at a best-of-breed technology adoption approach. A look at why multi-vendor infrastructures may give businesses exactly the equipment they need with far less headache than ever before.
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About the Author(s)
Contributing Editor and Writer
Jim Connolly is a versatile and experienced freelance technology journalist who has reported on IT trends for more than three decades. He was previously editorial director of InformationWeek and Network Computing, where he oversaw the day-to-day planning and editing on the sites. He has written about enterprise computing, data analytics, the PC revolution, the evolution of the Internet, networking, IT management, and the ongoing shift to cloud-based services and mobility. He has covered breaking industry news and has led teams focused on product reviews and technology trends. He has concentrated on serving the information needs of IT decision-makers in large organizations and has worked with those managers to help them learn from their peers and share their experiences in implementing leading-edge technologies through such publications as Computerworld. Jim also has helped to launch a technology-focused startup, as one of the founding editors at TechTarget, and has served as editor of an established news organization focused on technology startups at MassHighTech.
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