Assembling your cloud orchestra

A field guide to multicloud management

Companies that maintain multiple cloud environments are now the norm. In fact, 85 percent of organizations are already operating in such an environment, according to our recent research.

To find success with their implementations, these companies must bring their multicloud environments into harmony – much like a conductor unites the orchestra in one sound by merging, marrying, and separating out its individual instruments. For organizations, this means constructing and synthesizing the right portfolio of public, private, and hybrid clouds with proprietary IT infrastructures.

The trouble is, relatively few organizations know exactly how to do this. Our survey found that, although 98 percent of organizations expect to operate within a multicloud environment by 2021, only 41 percent of them have a multicloud management strategy in place, and just 38 percent have in place the procedures and tools needed to operate in such an environment. (See Figure 1.)

The potential benefits of orchestrating multiple clouds include reducing operating and infrastructure costs within the key business dimensions of strategy, operations, and infrastructure. Companies without a strategy in place risk missing out on these and other benefits, such as improved customer experience, improved executive insight into operations, and expansion into new markets. They risk falling behind competitively.

In comparison, about 20 percent of our global survey sample are already proficient operators within multicloud architectures. We’ve dubbed these organizations “multicloud maestros.” Even though they had management and technical building blocks in place, however, the maestros also faced many of the same adoption challenges other organizations encountered. By studying multicloud maestros – and their successes and setbacks on the way to adoption – we’ve been able to set out a roadmap for multicloud management that includes five key points for organizations to follow for successful multicloud harmonization.

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Meet the authors

Steve Cowley, General Manager

Sangita Singh, General Manager

Lynn Kesterson-Townes, Global Cloud & Quantum Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value, IBM Consulting

Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President, Cloud and Cognitive Software, IBM

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Originally published 18 October 2018