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When is a change to multi-cloud the right resilience move?

A multi-cloud strategy has numerous benefits, including enhanced resilience. However, it can also bring in several technical and organizational hurdles IT teams must handle.

A multi-cloud strategy opens a whole new world of possibilities for business continuity, disaster recovery and resilience. However, guiding an organization into effective multi-cloud use is one of the more difficult tasks facing system administrators today.

Implementing a multi-cloud resilience strategy has many potential benefits. There are also several risks involved with relying on the cloud for something as critical as resilience. Understanding these risks and how they affect operations can significantly impact a business's potential success in the cloud.

Improved resilience, reduced costs and access to a variety of helpful features are just some of the advantages to using multiple cloud providers. A multi-cloud strategy provides resilience thanks to built-in redundancy and reliability. By spreading a workload across multiple cloud providers, companies can minimize the risk of downtime due to provider-specific issues or outages. This added layer of reliability can be a game changer, especially for businesses with a minimal tolerance for downtime.

While the potential benefits of using multi-cloud for resilience are compelling, the journey can be fraught with challenges. IT teams and systems administrators must confront the potential roadblocks in adopting multi-cloud and develop strategies to mitigate those issues.

Benefits of a multi-cloud resilience strategy

There are numerous benefits to moving to multi-cloud. From a resilience standpoint, redundancy and flexibility are the primary advantages of using multiple clouds.

Redundancy. The redundancy achieved through multi-cloud deployment can significantly enhance business continuity and resilience. Even if one cloud provider experiences an outage, a business can continue operations with the other. The use of multiple clouds can turn a disaster scenario into a noticeable but easily mitigated issue.

Flexible services and pricing. Each cloud provider offers unique services and tools. Different cloud providers have distinct pricing structures and offer various discounts and incentives. Using two different services enables organizations to select the best-priced options for specific workloads. IT teams must consider the organization's requirements when choosing a provider.

By taking advantage of the strengths of multiple cloud providers, businesses can optimize costs and potentially reduce their overall cloud spending. This can free up resources for innovation and growth.

Challenges of incorporating multi-cloud for resilience

While multi-cloud offers many resilience benefits, there are still hurdles IT teams must look out for. There are four areas in particular that can cause problems if not handled correctly: complexity, training, compliance and cost.

Complexity. Managing multiple cloud environments can be complex. It might lead to operational inefficiencies and a higher risk of misconfigurations or security breaches. Migrating data between cloud providers can be challenging due to varying data transfer costs and speeds. Additionally, integrating services and applications across clouds requires careful planning and execution.

Training. Expanding to multi-cloud involves a significant learning curve. The company's IT team might need training to acquire the necessary skills to efficiently manage cloud resources. Ensuring that applications and data can seamlessly traverse both clouds often requires significant technical adjustments and staff training. This investment in development is essential for a smooth transition.

Organizations might choose to bring in outside experts, such as system administrators who specialize in multi-cloud. An expert can help guide the company to better understand the differences between providers and make informed architectural choices.

Compliance. Ensuring compliance with data protection and security regulations becomes more complex in a multi-cloud environment. Failing to meet compliance standards can result in legal and reputational risks. Each cloud provider has its own set of security and compliance standards. Ensuring that the company's data remains secure and compliant in multiple clouds can be a daunting task, in addition to working with policies and controls across multiple platforms.

Cost. While cost optimization is a driving force for multi-cloud adoption, it can backfire if not managed properly. To prevent unexpected expenses, IT teams must establish cost monitoring and control mechanisms.

Stuart Burns is a virtualization expert at a Fortune 500 company. He specializes in VMware and system integration with additional expertise in disaster recovery and systems management. Burns received vExpert status in 2015.

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