As cloud computing becomes more widely accepted and deployed in the mainstream, business leaders have started to warm up to the idea of more complex approaches to the technology. In the past the vast majority of companies depended on purely private cloud or public cloud environments, multi-cloud options are now increasingly common. The fact remains that multi-cloud adoption and management constitute a complex task, complete with a variety of challenges. For many, maybe even most, firms, the advantages will easily outweigh the drawbacks, but it is important to navigate these obstacles in order to maximize the value of these approaches.
Before considering these challenges, it is worth examining the value and benefits that multi-cloud deployments have to offer and which make the additional complexity worthwhile.
A multi-cloud deployment enables firms to put their more sensitive or heavily regulated data in a private cloud environment with maximum security while moving other resources into more affordable public clouds. This hybrid approach allows firms to maximize cost-efficiency without any additional or unnecessary risk.
There are other substantial benefits, as well. Writing for InformationWeek, industry expert John Keagy noted that multi-cloud strategies increase resilience among businesses. Notably, a multi-cloud deployment enables multi-cloud backup. Cloud-based backup already adds a significant layer of reliability and disaster recovery capabilities for firms, as their data will remain on off-site cloud servers. With multi-cloud backup, the company becomes even more resilient, as a disaster which debilitates a cloud provider's data center, or even multiple data centers, will not affect all of the various cloud environments involved, along with the organization's own in-house data. Instead, the company can take advantage of cloud data centers based in various geographic regions, ensuring that the firm remains operational even if a catastrophe strikes one of these areas.
"Geographic load balancing lets you direct the traffic for your websites to the servers or data centers closest to visitors based on their geographic location," Keagy wrote. "This approach provides shorter load times because visitors' requests are routed to the closest server or data center."
Given these benefits, it's easy to see why so many companies are eager to embrace multi-cloud deployments these days. Yet there are serious challenges that must be overcome in order for a firm to truly take advantage of this strategy.
Most of these obstacles are logistical. Writing for Information Age, Ben Rossi noted that it can be difficult to ensure that applications maintain their performance while also remaining secure, all while being integrated into systems across different cloud environments.
On a similar note, Rossi pointed out that it can be difficult to perform IT service management across cloud environments from different vendors. Without precise control, though, operational issues will quickly pile up, causing a host of problems.
One of the biggest advantages of embracing the cloud in general and multi-cloud strategies in particular is the potential for cost savings. Yet the complexity of these environments can make it difficult to remain fully aware of how pricing varies among different providers' services.
Fortunately, all of these obstacles can be overcome with the assistance of a managed cloud services provider with extensive experience in the realm of multi-cloud management. By partnering with such an MSP, companies can outsource many of the most challenging and frustrating issues associated with multi-cloud, all while enjoying all of its benefits.