Multi-cloud strategies have become predominant over the past few years and accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find any enterprise where multi-cloud isn’t the leading model for cloud deployments.
But just because multi-cloud is now pretty much standard operating procedure, it doesn’t mean enterprises are satisfied with their multi-cloud strategies and how well they are optimizing the value of the multi-cloud experience.
In fact, optimizing existing cloud use and costs was the Number One priority of enterprises in 2021, according to the 2021 State of the Cloud Report from Flexera. The study shows that 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy. However, many enterprises realize they have gaps when it comes to truly optimizing the multi-cloud experience. For example, among respondents to the 2021 State of the Cloud Survey:
- 49% of enterprises still silo workloads by cloud, and only 45% are integrating data between clouds. Lack of integration limits the ability to leverage data across the enterprise and can lead to higher storage costs and other operational challenges.
- Only 42% use multi-cloud management tools, even though 77% have a central cloud team or cloud center of excellence. For these teams, this is a missed opportunity to optimize the benefits of having multiple clouds and different types of cloud platforms.
- 61% of organizations plan to optimize cloud costs in 2021, making it the top initiative for the fifth year in a row. More than three quarters of respondents use cost efficiency and savings to measure cloud progress, yet respondents believe that 30% of cloud spend is wasted.
Leveraging the multi-cloud experience
A huge potential advantage of using multiple clouds is that organizations can leverage of the strengths of different cloud services providers, particularly if they can allocate jobs strategically on a per-workload, per application basis. This requires organizations to optimize the multi-cloud experience by focusing on key challenges, specifically:
- How do we bring all our cloud services together so we can manage all those providers as one?
- How do we ensure our environment doesn’t get too complex by using best-of-breed cloud services?
- How do we attain visibility across the environment so we can manage security, data sovereignty and compliance?
- How do we leverage tools for automation, application migration, cloud-native development and other vital IT modernization capabilities across our entire environment?
The four factors
Enterprises that use solutions designed to work across multi-cloud environments are in the strongest position to optimize their clouds because they can achieve a consistent experience across all their service providers and various platforms. To optimize the multi-cloud experience, IT and business decision-makers should be able to clarify their strategies when it comes to these four key factors:
- Flexibility and scalability: You should ensure that your cloud service provider gives you the flexibility to support your goals. The more dynamic your compute and storage needs, the more important it is to configure resources easily. These requirements will vary by application. If you are building a DevOps pipeline that is serving software updates to a fleet of edge computing devices, you will have different flexibility requirements than if you are migrating a legacy app or building custom workflows with Office 365 apps.
- Security and hosting location: The data in the cloud physically resides somewhere. You should consider where your data is stored and evaluate who has access to it. For example:
- Does it make sense from a compliance perspective? Data sovereignty requirements can change based on the legal landscape and operating requirements.
- What about security and cyber resiliency? Can you extend visibility and effectively leverage modern techniques such as Zero Trust, intrinsic security and shared threat intelligence across your multi-cloud environment?
- Cost management: An entire discipline has emerged for managing cloud costs. This practice, called FinOps, is critical for an optimal cloud strategy, including budgeting cloud usage and setting the right alert thresholds to prevent cost overruns. Cloud billing can be extremely complex, so it is important to work with a partner that can help you manage cost control and visibility.
- Access: Access security is an aspect of the cloud that is best managed during the design phase. For example:
- Basic design measures include never using your root administrative account for cloud services.
- Adopting least-privilege perspective will help avoid resources from falling into the wrong hands.
- Managing permissions via roles and groups—rather than tying them to specific users—will keep access controls agile and adaptable to personnel changes.
Taking the next step
As multi-cloud strategies become even more entrenched in all organizations, it becomes increasingly business-critical to make sure you can optimize your multi-cloud strategy, while maximizing and securing your most strategic resources, i.e., your data.
When it comes to optimizing and maximizing the multi-cloud experience, Dell Technologies offers capabilities that other vendors are hard pressed to match. To learn more about how you can optimize your cloud experience, please visit APEX Cloud Services.