Five ways to prepare for a multicloud future today

The most significant recent evolution in cloud computing is the shift toward multicloud environments. According to research from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 85% of enterprises already operate a multicloud infrastructure and 71% are using more than three types of cloud. By 2021, that percentage is projected to soar to 98% of enterprises planning to embrace multicloud hybrid solutions.

As we expand our offerings and tools to better support clients, IBM’s recent acquisition of Red Hat offers new solutions to our clients. While Red Hat will remain independent and neutral, IBM will be a premier partner and continue expanding our offerings and team to further support enterprise clients on their open source journeys

Preparing for a multicloud future and finding ways to harmonize, optimize, and drive innovation in this environment is one of the key challenges IT and business leaders face. Here are five steps you can take to simplify, streamline and manage your multicloud systems today.

Assess Your Current Multicloud Environment

Managing your multicloud environment starts with understanding what you currently have in place. Many enterprises note that they stumbled into a multicloud environment, rather than proactively planning for it. IBM research found that 59% of organizations report independent cloud adoption by business units created a de facto multicloud environment.

The term multicloud refers to organizations that are operating cloud services from more than one provider. These can include a range of deployments such as public, private and hybrid, and may encompass different service types like IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, FaaS, and Applications-as-a-service. Services and applications can span the entire DevOps lifecycle, which adds a layer of complexity to mapping your existing environment.

Developing a strategy starts with conducting an audit of where you stand. Outline what you already have in place, how different parts are working together, and problem areas for optimization. Now look ahead to your long-term plans. As you develop a multicloud strategy and architecture, an audit is a perfect starting point to evaluate your current level of maturity and create a roadmap and business case for future growth and investment.

Embrace Open Source to Avoid Vendor Lock-In

One of the most significant concerns that clients voice to IBM is the desire to avoid vendor lock-in. This was clear with on-premises solutions and has quickly become the predominant message within cloud as well. Open source solutions like Red Hat’s OpenShift make it easier for enterprises to develop and deploy applications that work in any cloud environment and using contain technologies are easier to move from one cloud platform to another.

IBM’s relationship with Red Hat makes that a little easier for our clients. With OpenShift, you now have the capability to create your applications once and then run them on any cloud without vendor lock-in. In many cases, enterprises struggle to find solutions that offer seamless communication and true interoperability across platforms. IBM and Red Hat provide the framework needed to simplify many of these questions for enterprises navigating their architecture, such as:

  • How do I port workloads between cloud platforms from different providers?
  • What does business resiliency look like in a multicloud environment?
  • How are we managing issues of data synchronization, propagation, and security across clouds?
  • What modernization pathways exist for applications in a multicloud environment?

Multicloud Needs Flexible Cutting-Edge Hybrid Solutions

With multicloud, you’re bringing together multiple cloud providers, platforms, and workloads. Hybrid solutions often factor into the mix. Hybrid cloud is a combination of one or more public and private clouds with at least a degree of workload portability, integration, orchestration, and unified management. The exchange of those workloads can vary from basic interoperability to seamless exchange, but communication is at the core. IBM and Red Hat are working together to address offer the best connectivity between clouds in a strategic way.

Our way of viewing a successful journey to the cloud can provide important guideposts to your enterprise roadmap. IBM’s view on the journey to cloud is anchored around five tenets. Our clients are going hybrid and they’ve embraced multicloud. They’re using AWS, Azure, IBM Cloud, Alibaba, and others and we work with them closely across these solutions. They’re using open source or have invested in that area. By adding Red Hat to our capability portfolio we have expanded our portfolio of capabilities and services to a much larger degree than we have previously offered.

The combination of IBM and Red Hat Security Solutions is industry-leading. Then finally, IBM offers multicloud management capabilities, bringing deeper automation to the hybrid landscape. A flexible, hybrid multicloud stack that leverages open source, embraces cutting edge security, strategically combines clouds for maximum efficiency, and brings in a management layer is the template that enterprises should be aiming for.

Managing Multi-Cloud Can Be Difficult, but Intelligent Workflows Can Help

Whether your enterprise deliberately developed a multicloud infrastructure or you’re working to develop a strategy now to optimize your multicloud architecture, managing these different aspects can be a challenge. IBM Institute for Business Value research found that just 41% of enterprises have multicloud management strategies in place and just 38% have the tools and procedures in place to make the most of multicloud.

One of the benefits that IBM brings to clients through the Red Hat acquisition, and more broadly through IBM services, are multicloud management solutions. Managing multicloud strategically is critical for getting results. The right management solution provides support in three key areas. The first is visibility: it’s important to understand what’s running where, what’s running smoothly, and where there may be issues occurring. The second is security and governance, and management tools give you the capability to develop policies across environments to manage and monitor workloads. Finally, cross-environment automation helps free up your team from routine tasks while ensuring that mission-critical operations like backup or disaster recovery preparedness are always managed.

Choosing the Right Partner is Essential

The right services partner can help make your enterprise multicloud journey a success. At IBM Services, we know that strategy services plays a key role. There are core questions around building the best cloud architecture, prioritizing which applications to move to the cloud and which to sunset, and optimizing for compliance and performance that are crucial to address. The right expertise can help you understand a range of options, and what makes sense to best support your business outcomes, IT goals, and budget considerations.

It’s also important to think through migration support. In many cases, enterprises have moved a significant percentage of their workloads to the cloud. What’s left to move is difficult for a variety of reasons, whether you’re building new applications or modernizing existing solutions. The right support can streamline that, and make the migration to cloud a less painful process.

Developing a finely tuned multicloud strategy is essential, both to optimizing performance for today and laying the foundation for future innovation and development. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re moving toward a more mature strategy, there are better open source solutions, management projects and advisory partners available to support you on your journey.