After recent outages from major cloud providers affected thousands of businesses in the US, many CIOs and CTOs are thinking hard about their cloud strategies.
Specifically, they’re looking at the risks of having one service provider across their entire cloud environment, which includes the vulnerabilities of internal, on-premises systems. This is very similar to the design approach network engineers have long used: diversify routes and carriers when connecting your data centers.
At a minimum, corporate technology leaders should be looking at the possibility of a multi-cloud strategy. Simply put, it is a way to avoid putting all your IT eggs in one cloud provider’s basket. By using two or more cloud services, an enterprise can avoid data loss and downtime caused by a breakdown in any single component in hardware, software, storage (the cause of the recent US outage), network or other areas.
Beyond reducing outage risks, a multi-cloud strategy can improve IT performance by avoiding vendor lock-in and using different platforms and infrastructures.
It also helps strengthen software vulnerabilities. The application software stack can be independent of an organization’s cloud infrastructure. Not only does this reduce the level of commitment to one vendor, but it also creates interoperability that enables workloads to quickly migrate.
How should you begin? I recommend you start small but have a strategy that addresses areas such as governance, applications and data, and platforms and infrastructure. Look at the deployments and workloads that might be the “pioneers” settling with a second cloud provider. That provider should have expertise in your industry and excellence in technology. Stay attuned to how your strategy is implemented and be ready to adjust quickly if necessary.
Additionally, multi-cloud management tools can help you address the challenges of working with several cloud environments. Such tools can help you to configure, provision and deploy development environments, as well as integrate service management from a single, self-service interface.
By avoiding the “all or nothing’ approach,” IT leaders gain greater control over their different cloud services. They can pick and choose the product, service or platform that best fits the requirement of each process or business unit, then integrate those services, thereby avoiding problems that come when a single provider runs into trouble.
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