6 Multi-Cloud Challenges Solved by a Hybrid IT Environment
The concept of a multi-cloud environment is simple: distribute workloads across two or more clouds to reduce risk and minimize downtime. That often means signing up for services with cloud providers like CenturyLink, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or IBM Cloud, either to replace or supplement an organization’s in-house infrastructure services.
Moving an organization’s infrastructure services to a multi-cloud environment can provide needed flexibility and the potential for cost savings, with applications being one of the most common aspects of the infrastructure earmarked for cloud hosting.
And the advantages of multi-cloud environments are catching on with organizations. According to the Hybrid Cloud Landscape white paper (Frost & Sullivan, 2018), enterprises surveyed plan to increase adoption of multi-cloud environments from 28%(in 2018) to nearly 60% by 2020.
Common IT Challenges with Multi-Cloud Environments
Despite the numerous benefits attached to a multi-cloud environment, IT faces several migration and management challenges.
1. Moving more workloads to the right cloud
Having the right workload in the right cloud environment is essential for optimizing application performance. But determining which cloud is best for each workload requires careful analysis of scalability, availability, licensing and costs, at a minimum. Failing to properly estimate any of these factors can result in a poor user experience, business disruption and expensive cost overruns.
2. Orchestrating and integrating applications across geographies at scale
An important part of application and workload optimization is locating them close to customers, which increases performance, speed and control, while retaining the ability to scale to accommodate customer needs. However, it’s difficult to deliver applications at a consistent, predictable level of quality, and control all of these moving parts when workloads are spread across disparate cloud environments.
3. Complexity in the infrastructure, network and data center
Many IT infrastructures are complex, supporting a mix of operating systems, hardware, protocols and application programming interfaces (APIs). Meeting and matching infrastructure needs across multiple clouds can be difficult, at best.
4. Protecting the business and securing critical data and applications
While strong data and application security is crucial to business today, it’s also a significant pain point for IT. With widely varying workloads across different clouds, loss of control over those workloads and consistent application of security policies are just a few legitimate concerns. IT decision-makers must contemplate whether the security of certain workloads are at risk, especially in a public cloud.
5. Simplifying the management and governance of applications and data
A multi-cloud environment isn’t exactly transparent, and it can be difficult to control. Various cloud environments may each have proprietary management tools that do not easily integrate with the on-premises tools already used by IT staff. And without careful governance and effective controls, a highly scalable environment can quickly result in escalating costs, putting the IT budget at risk.
6. IT staffing and cloud expertise
Lines of business are demanding faster service to remain competitive, putting additional strain on under-resourced IT departments whose staff may lack the necessary skills for managing cloud environments. It is critical for the enterprise to have the right expertise to migrate applications to the right cloud, so applications run at peak performance and efficiency. Also, ongoing management requires more resources than are available. Leveraging a provider who offers managed cloud services will free up staff time that needs to be spent on higher priority tasks and help reduce overall business risk.
Benefits of Hybrid IT Agility
A hybrid environment relies on a mix of on-premises resources along with private and/or public cloud services, which increases flexibility and provides a lot of choices, making the collective environment much more agile. And that agility brings numerous benefits, including:
- Ability to deploy and manage applications on virtually any cloud, anywhere
- Increased speed across the deployment and management of applications
- Security of critical data and applications, and the business
An agile hybrid-cloud environment allows organizations to put the right workload in the best-suited hybrid hosting environment, and to orchestrate workloads across those environments to increase performance. Multi-cloud management capabilities eliminate the need for multiple tools for each type of cloud, enabling IT staff to manage all cloud environments more like a single environment, from a single console.
With a complete view of the environment and real-time performance metrics, staff can more efficiently scale resources to meet demand, as well as react in real-time to proactively address issues. Visibility also helps staff identify where additional security measures may be needed to protect critical data and applications, especially if a hybrid cloud has a public component. In addition, an agile environment with secure, global network connections between its in-house networking environment and a public cloud or remote data center further increases the security of application delivery. Overall, centralized management with end-to-end visibility of data and applications across different clouds simplifies IT efforts and greatly reduces risk, giving IT the control they need for proper governance.
Finally, organizations that lack adequate cloud expertise may want to explore professional services offered by hybrid IT vendors. Leaning on experienced cloud implementation experts can free in-house staff to work on higher priority tasks and potentially save money over the long term.
Find out how to efficiently manage your multi-cloud challenges by reading the full Frost and Sullivan Hybrid Cloud Landscape report:
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