As the cloud enables businesses to store data without the need for a secondary data centre, it has revolutionised the way in which businesses conduct their daily operations in more ways than one. From offering real-time updates (the basic) to setting the pace for efficient DevOps (the complex), the cloud has made more things possible than many of us expected. As a result, it’s not surprising to anticipate more in the world of cloud, especially when Amazon web services in Sri Lanka, for example, are service offerings which are catered to by numerous technology agencies in the country.
The cloud, however, is just one component in today’s tech landscape. As multiple providers gear up to present steadfast applications which cover a multitude of deliverables, the multi-cloud concept has long since started to gain momentum. Often confused for hybrid cloud, multi-cloud is simply the usage of multiple cloud applications from multiple providers (while hybrid is a combination of on-premise and external data centres). As routine operations for the average company begin to increase in complexity, multi-cloud infrastructure has significantly accommodated this addition in demand, thereby providing organisations the leverage they need to stay ahead of the competition.
Albeit being the solution of choice for many businesses today, the multi-cloud brings forth its unique set of challenges for IT teams to overcome. As overwhelming as it can be considering the additional working parts i.e. multiple (and competing) cloud providers, adhering to basic guidelines can help you and your team get accustomed to a multi-cloud structure with ease.
Here are three such rules to get you started.
When considering the maintenance of a multi-cloud environment, it’s important to go back to the ABCs of why IT systems are being implemented in the first place – to bring additional value and reduce overall costs to the organisation. Likewise, perceiving every addition and change to your multi-cloud structure from a financial perspective can help keep it all aligned to your eventual business goals. This can eliminate possible financial risk and even deficit, as it will help your organisation stay on par with a set budget, and also combine inter-departmental operations to aim at one common objective.
Doing this becomes increasingly important since the adoption of a multi-cloud structure will involve price coordination with several providers, each of whom may have their own price structures and tariffs. Add to this multiple hosted servers that are based beyond national boundaries, and you have more variables to tackle regarding prices and payments.
Ultimately it all boils down to your IT team doing more than just facilitating technology operations within your organisation – as they now need to embrace roles of a more diverse nature that require expertise in combining several goals which include but aren’t limited to the financial and technological kind.
Asking key questions that focus on current expenditure, budget health and future business goals can go a long way in sparking a discussion which provides insight on how a multi-cloud environment can redefine the way business is conducted.
While IT teams may face the challenges that come from trying to combine multi-cloud operations with the company’s overall business goals, they also face the additional challenge of getting end users of your organisation onboard with the whole idea. Similar to how the industry of software development in Sri Lanka functions, creating an onboarding plan that is more Agile in nature can assist users of the multi-cloud environment to get accustomed to the same. The key challenge here lies in making a smooth transition, while facilitating user autonomy at the same time.
Overwhelming as it is even for IT staff to comprehend and consolidate several cloud service providers, it is crucial to keep end users well informed and supplied with applications of their choice. It is therefore a great idea to create a centralised content resource which provides a lowdown of relevant applications that can then be adopted by end users themselves. This provides a major benefit to users, as they now have the freedom to select an application of their choice (instead of IT having to do it for them) while adhering to predetermined budgets (since a centralised content resource will feature solutions that are based on price standardisation conducted prior, in order to stay on par with capping costs).
How will varying providers be connected so that operations flow seamlessly, and how will it all be protected? Networks between all your providers, including any private data centres need to be integrated such that connections happen without any hiccups, so that processing data and tasks among multiple providers happens smoothly.
Speaking of seamless connections, importing/exporting data as well as user management are integral components of multi-cloud infrastructure too. How will you provide access to the users of your multi-cloud systems? Will they be granted all-round or partial access to every server? This may end up being more challenging than it seems, so doing your due diligence prior can go a long way in ensuring no setbacks occur during the deployment phase.
With multiple components comes the added responsibility (and possible risks) pertaining to security. Therefore, it is essential to also establish stringent security measures to ensure that your data remains protected, as every data centre is dependent on one another.
While the cloud has long since gained traction on a commercial level, its multi-cloud successor has recently been gaining much momentum thanks to its dynamic qualities of accommodating more than one cloud provider under one roof. Although difficult to initially set up, following some basic guidelines can help organisations get a gist of things as well as instil feasibility and security at the same time.
For one, acquiring multi-cloud infrastructure with your organisation’s business (and financial) goals in mind ensures that you don’t stray away from a predetermined budget. Creating a centralised resource that’s full of application options which have been given the IT team’s seal of approval also helps companies stay within budget. Last but not the least, optimising network synchronisation as well as security is also important, as it maintains smooth workflows and safeguards all your data.
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