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An enterprise might turn to a multicloud strategy for a variety of reasons. In addition to expanding the business, an enterprise’s CTO or CIO might want to maintain control of the enterprise’s data or utilize different infrastructures and applications for specific business needs. Or they may want to take a cost-effective approach to avoiding downtime or data loss. Maybe the organization wants to circumvent being wholly dependent on a single provider. Perhaps all these reasons and more apply to the decision-making process.
I relate buying IT services in the cloud like buying gasoline for your car. Do you always buy gas from the same gas company, or might you switch to a gas station across the street that offers a slightly better price? Some gas companies advertise their brand of gasoline is different. Some add detergents to help clean the valves and fuel injectors. Others add ethanol or other ingredients to reduce air pollution. For the most part, these differences are not enough to keep most drivers from shopping for the lowest price.
A recent survey of cloud computing trends by RightScale showed that thus far in 2017, 85 percent of enterprises have a multicloud strategy, an increase of 3 percent from 2016. Cloud users are running applications in an average of 1.8 public clouds and 2.3 private clouds. Why are multicloud strategies continuing to trend upward? More importantly, how are they paying off for CTOs, CIOs and other IT leaders?
By definition, multicloud environments rely on a combination of cloud-based technologies. A multicloud strategy helps organizations accelerate innovation by adopting next-generation applications and running them where they perform best. For example, one workload might need a cloud platform that offers maximum scalability, while another might perform optimally on one with large pools of storage.
Accelerating digital transformation
Getting the most from applications is essential for IT leaders seeking to dramatically improve the performance and reach of their enterprise through digital transformation. Providing exceptional user experiences across devices, whenever customers or partners want them, is key to this transformation. Fast, flexible digital businesses implement multicloud ecosystems that place enhanced customer experience front and center in their strategy.
For example, a multicloud approach helps an organization minimize the time necessary to load pages for all types of content on various devices, including mobile. One cloud platform might be optimized for handling large numbers of small data transfers, but a different cloud platform might be better suited for content requiring limited numbers of large transfers.
An organization can also leverage multiple clouds to gain greater insights from analysis of data, mixing the organization’s private data with open data resources. Adding new cloud-based cognitive capabilities to the analysis helps drive transformation through enhanced decision-making and personalization of customer interactions.
Mitigating risk and avoiding vendor lock-in
Reliability and uptime are essential elements of the customer experience, and organizations can minimize the risk of downtime using multiple clouds to create redundancy. If one cloud platform does not respond or is performing poorly over a period of time, the same application can be run on another cloud platform. Reducing risk in this way can enhance the overall productivity and performance of the enterprise.
Fellow blogger Alastair Cooke has a post Amazon Web Services outage provides disaster recovery lessons which warns that those who limit themselves to a single Cloud should determine an appropriate disaster recovery strategy to compensate.
A multicloud strategy can also pay off by allowing the organization to avoid vendor lock-in. Cloud services providers frequently innovate, offering new services or enhanced price/performance. Multicloud enterprises are in a great position to take advantage of new capabilities or reduce costs and shift the right workloads to the right vendors in an agile way.
Efficiently managing multiple clouds
Organizations planning on a multicloud or hybrid cloud strategy expect to provide services to their users from both cloud and non-cloud sources. Enterprise cloud environments may include multiple public cloud platforms along with on-premises private clouds. To support their cloud strategy, enterprises need to establish secure data center extension into a public cloud, remove error-prone manual processes and provide a self-service user experience. In addition, efficient management is an essential part of any multicloud strategy for CTOs and IT leaders.
To maximize efficiency and control costs, many IT leaders look for solutions that can provide these capabilities using familiar tools and technologies and extend existing solutions. For example, the VersaStack solution from IBM and Cisco offers the ability to add hybrid and multicloud capabilities to scalable and automated VersaStack infrastructure.
The solution can include Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite, which features CloudCenter Manager to automate self-service application deployment to user’s choice of on-premises or public cloud environments. Combining Cisco ONE Enterprise Cloud Suite and IBM Spectrum Copy Data Management technologies in VersaStack creates a cloud management layer enabling orchestration, deployment, management and migration of applications across data center, public cloud and private cloud environments.
With this kind of solution, enterprises can improve business agility by deploying applications now and moving them to the optimal cloud platform later. Organizations have the flexibility to choose the best deployment option for a wide variety of enterprise IT workloads, including next-generation applications and cognitive workloads that are at the core of their digital transformation strategy.
Multicloud solutions such as these give CTOs and IT leaders the capability to drive the pace of change and deliver on multicloud strategies that ultimately pay off in increased competitiveness and business performance for their organizations. Learn more about the benefits and management of multicloud implementation by reading VersaStack for Hybrid Cloud.