Updated on: 23 February 2023
Public clouds are here to stay. More than that, the cloud computing landscape is shifting towards multicloud, with more than 80% of organizations already utilizing multiple cloud providers.
The vast majority of businesses are evolving into hybrid, multicloud infrastructures for a number of reasons, but that doesn't mean it's the best course of action for your organization. That starts with knowing where your limits are and what people, processes, and technology you need to make a multicloud solutions successful. Here are four tips to help you decide if a multicloud strategy is right for your organization.
When you're ready to dive into building a multicloud strategy, check out our latest ebook, "Road to multicloud" for tips to avoid the biggest pitfalls.
1. Data silos create complexity for multicloud environments
Regardless of what storage choices you make, it’s important to keep an eye out for data silos in your organization. They come in many forms (like standalone regional databases, block storgae, and data warehouses), and they should be taken seriously, as they can really hamper the productivity of your organization. Some leaders fear that by having data stored in multiple locations, they'll have no single source of truth. Another common obstacle for many leaders is keeping your data synced across platforms.
These are valid concerns if you don't have the right technology and processes to mitigate those risks. Two examples of technologies that could mitigate the risks of data silos are ETLs and data lakes.
If you want to let your silos exist, you can connect up the different bits of data using ETL or extract transform load pipelines. This allows you to bring important bits of data together for visualization or analytics.
Azure, AWS and other cloud providers have their own data lake solutions you can use. Data lakes allow you to have a single source of truth, and are great if you’re going with a cloud-first approach where you’re planning to do a one-off migration to the cloud. They hold raw data in all formats—structured, unstructured and semi-structured data—and they're usually built around blob storage such as S3 buckets, Azure blob storage or Google cloud storage buckets.
2. Vendor lock-in limits portability in a multicloud strategy
Vendor lock-in is one of the most common reasons organizations start down the multicloud path. Specifically, it's when organizations are concerned they won't be able to move their solution or data from one cloud to another because of platform-specific capabilities. Sometimes, that decision is made because leaders think it gives them more power in cost negotiations. Other times, it's as strategic move to to protect organizations who cannot be down from cloud outages. Another reason organizations may want to avoid vendor lock in is to offer their cloud solutions or services in regions that aren't supported by the primary cloud provider.
This kind of portability requires some trade-offs, though. For this strategy to work, you'll need to avoid cloud native features or services that would require a full record. For example, you'd want to avoid platform-as-a-service offerings like load balancing, version management, and traffic splitting. While convenient, it can cause issues when migrating solutions from one cloud provider to another. You'd also want to use generic formats and RDBMS engines.
Avoiding vendor lock-in is possible, but it comes with trade offs. You'll want to weigh the pros and cons heavily before making a move.
Why did GE go multicloud?
Only 56% of organizations have a plan to skill up their workforce to prepare for a multicloud future. Learn how GE designed their multicloud strategy and how they upskilled their team in preparation for the launch of that strategy.
3. Understand the the limitations and strengths of your cloud team
There are two types of decision makers: satisficers and maximizers. Satisficers are very decisive and works to find the quickest, most comprehensive solution they can without it having to be perfect. A maximizer spends more time studying and designing a solution that checks all their boxes.
Multicloud technology is still in its infancy. There are a lot of services and features aren't yet dialed in that make communication between the platforms simple and easy. So it requires time, budget, and knowledgeable staff to create those connections and develop a "perfect" multicloud solution.
If you don't have enough time, the right budget, or a staff with the skills to develop that fully-integrated multicloud strategy, finding a solution that checks most of the boxes within your budget and skill constraints is totally fine.
Which certifications are right for your team?
If the only thing stopping you from pursuing a multicloud strategy is that you don't have the right staff, it's time to start developing a cloud skill development program. And that starts with certifications.
4. Evaluate your multicloud security capabilities
Security issues and data breaches occur when little details are overlooked. Cloud-based systems are inherently distributed and replicated horizontally. Scale systems like these are more complex and need more coordination and integration. It’s critical to get the small things right in your multicloud security strategy because each point of coordination and integration is a potential point of failure (and can be very costly).
To stay on top of the entire threat landscape and your attack surface, leaders should talk to analysts, their support team, and engineers often. Once you hear enough stories across the board, you’ll start seeing patterns emerge. Keeping your ear to the ground is an incredibly valuable strategy for protecting your organization.
This is even more important if you start adding more than one cloud provider to the mix. It requires to you be deliberate about your multicloud security strategy: how you plan to find or develop the right talent, which platforms or features provide the best protection for your specific solutions, and the multicloud security tools you need to monitor and alert you to multicloud security incidents before or as they happen.
When it comes to building a successful multicloud strategy, progress isn’t always linear. You may need to experiment for a while before you figure out a really solid system for your organization’s needs. But if you stay focused on your goals, the effort will definitely be worth it.
Developing your cloud strategy? Check out this free, on-demand webinar for more tips to building a multicloud strategy.
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