In an attempt to gain the benefits of cloud while minimizing the risks, many companies end up with multiple clouds. This can be due to a desire to avoid vendor lock in and minimize the risks of downtime if a vendor has an outage; leverage special services offered by one cloud provider; or using a hybrid cloud configuration to assure appropriate security to confidential data.
No matter whether your multi-cloud environment is built on multiple public clouds or a hybrid public/private cloud combination, a multi-cloud environment should be the result of design decisions rather than happenstance. Be sure you consider the following when you plan a multi-cloud environment:
- Complexity. With more components, there's simply more to keep an eye on. Management and monitoring become more complicated, so making sure you have good tools increases in importance. You'll also need to make sure that each separate cloud environment is justified and that you aren't unnecessarily duplicating effort. Keeping track of which applications are deployed to which environment is necessary to maintain control.
- Workload management. If your plan calls for moving workloads between platforms, whether to balance the load or to adjust to other factors, you'll need tools that ensure workloads can be easily deployed and started. This may mean investing in containerizing your application environments so they'll easily run anywhere. It also means investing in automation and orchestration to easily deploy and manage running applications.
- Self-service controls. Self-service capability reduces the need for data center staff to get involved in routine operations, but in a multi-cloud environment, it can result in sprawl and growth that doesn't adhere to the strategic plan.
- Security, compliance, and governance. It's challenging to ensure the same policies are implemented and enforced in each of your cloud environments. It's even tougher if the different cloud providers don't support the same tools and aren't easily federated into a single system for identify management. If you have workloads that need to meet special compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, you'll also need a way to ensure that they are deployed only to environments that meet those standards.
- Financial controls. Multi-cloud environments mean multiple bills for cloud services. Think about how you'll manage payment processing to ensure that bills are correct, and how you'll charge back expenses to departments. You'll also want a process to review whether environments should shrink, grow, or remain stable in order to manage costs.
- Incident management. You will need to define a process for recognizing and responding to incidents in each environment. It may not be possible to have a single process across all environments, adding to the complexity and difficulty of your response.
dcVAST has experience with a number of cloud environments, including Amazon Web Services, infrastructure as a service based on Oracle cloud, and hybrid or private cloud configurations using Nutanix and NetApp. Our team can help you understand your reasons for choosing multi-cloud and design, implement, and support the clouds running your key business processes. Contact us to learn more about using a multi-cloud strategy effectively.