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No longer a technology buzzword, multicloud has evolved into a nuanced strategy implemented by organizations of all sizes as they embrace the power of cloud.

Simply put, it means they’re using more than one cloud computing service from more than one cloud provider to run their applications – two or more private clouds, public clouds or a combination of these, possibly using colocation cloud services. This approach allows them to quickly spin up additional space, move workloads or scale computing resources up and down as needed, and implement new technologies such as edge computing.

However, many organizations arrive at multicloud almost by default, which leaves them with unforeseen challenges in interoperability, automation and efficiency. That is where service providers like NTT and Dell can step in to ensure multicloud by design.

The changing nature of multicloud

The International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that spending on computing and storage infrastructure products for cloud deployments rose 24.7% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2022, with spending on cloud infrastructure continuing to outgrow the noncloud segment. These figures show cloud is increasingly becoming a central aspect of business planning.

As organizations are fine-tuning their multicloud strategies, multicloud itself is also changing as new technologies emerge:

  • The rise of edge computing is generating a lot of interest in running applications close to users and close to where the data originates.
  • The data itself is now more likely to be generated at the edge. IoT Analytics predicts there will be 27 billion connected IoT devices by 2025, all generating data, which will have a knock-on effect on processing, storage and accessibility. The IDC expects more than 50% of new enterprise IT infrastructure deployed by 2023 to be at the edge, not in corporate data centers.
  • At a time when cyberattacks are on the rise around the world, security in a multicloud environment remains of paramount importance. Beyond just deploying an application in the cloud, that application must be built with security top of mind right from the start.
  • Another factor is containerization – including packaging large legacy applications into a single cloud-native “container” that enables these applications to run reliably and be scalable across different computing environments.

Generative AI is generating benefits

Then, no one can ignore the buzz around generative AI. From a service provider’s point of view, this technology can help service tickets faster, enable personalization, speed up integration in an as-a-service model and support creative problem-solving. It can even speed up application development by generating code and creating data for testing and training machine-learning models.

Many of our clients are deploying AI tools, for various reasons. This creates significant new computing and storage needs, with a big focus on security and compliance, as these tools often require huge proprietary data sets as input.

Both NTT and Dell are already accommodating this transformative development in their multicloud design approach. We’re still in the early chapters of AI, but the opportunities are limitless.

Multicloud is an operating model, not a destination

Amid these developments in the multicloud market, we need a shift in mindset: the cloud is not a place or a destination, but rather a way of delivering services and changing the way organizations and consumers work.

This means a multicloud strategy is not only about the technology but also about deploying the cloud framework around it and considering how best to integrate the various pieces while maintaining a security posture.

Organizations need the right cloud for the right job or workload

No one wants their data sprawled across every cloud provider possible. To find the right cloud model, you need a deep understanding of the organization’s business objectives and desired outcomes. This will help to determine where their data and applications should reside and operate.

This is different from five or so years ago when the trend was very much “public cloud first”. In the past 12 to 18 months, organizations have become more cloud-smart in terms of which workloads go to which clouds for specific reasons.

Some have also learned to be more pragmatic when it comes to cloud because they failed to lift and shift their workloads to the public cloud as fluidly, quickly or cost-effectively as they had hoped.

A boost for sustainability

Moving to the cloud also comes with immediate environmental benefits that include:

  • Energy efficiency: Cloud service providers’ data centers are optimized for cooling, power and server usage, so they are more energy-efficient than many on-premises data centers. Providers are also investing in renewable energy sources and constantly modernizing their hardware to cut back on power, cooling and space requirements.
  • Scalability: Multicloud environments enable better resource use through the on-demand allocation and scaling of resources.
  • Reduced hardware lifecycle management: It’s up to the cloud provider to retire hardware components and manage electronic waste in an environmentally responsible way.
  • Data storage: New technology is dramatically improving data reduction. The effectiveness of data reduction is expressed as a ratio of the original volume of data ingested to the size of the stored data. Dell’s data protection portfolio already delivers a ratio of up to 55:1 – that is, the size of the “reduced” data is one-55th the size of the “original” data – with a ratio of 4:1 or greater in their transactional primary storage portfolio. Reducing an organization’s data storage contributes to a smaller carbon footprint.

Then, from the perspective of economic sustainability, a well-designed multicloud ecosystem will reduce costs, and in terms of cultural sustainability, it enables staff to collaborate more easily with each other or third parties, among other benefits.

5 tips to make the most of the cloud

If you want to embrace a cloud strategy in your organization, focus on multicloud by design rather than multicloud by default. You should incorporate multiple clouds only when you’ve made well-founded strategic decisions based on the attributes of private and public cloud. To make the most of multicloud:

  1. Understand what you’re really trying to solve. What is the problem? Start with the problem, not with the solution.
  2. Be aware that the public cloud is not all plain sailing. Like any other platform, it has pros and cons. It’s easy to see only the benefits of public cloud, such as automation and a focus on innovation, but overlook cost management, security and compliance challenges. In essence, you can’t have the best of both private and public cloud without some trade-offs.
  3. Design your multicloud solution with security in mind. It must hit the ground being secure by design, with integrated security.
  4. Use cloud-native tools as much as possible. This makes it much simpler to automate and deploy workloads through code.
  5. Work with an experienced service provider. They know how to uncover efficiencies, cost savings and constant innovation.

Multicloud is a balancing act: get the expertise to get it right

Increasingly, newly deployed storage capacity is being sold as a service or on a subscription basis.

We’re likely to see the pendulum swing from public cloud to the middle, where more data and applications revert to on-premises, private clouds or the edge, especially as organizations grapple with spiraling costs, massive complexity and security challenges.

A broader multicloud strategy calls for a refined and ongoing balancing act – and specific skills to build highly automated, orchestrated and more integrated IT processes.

The good news is that organizations don’t have to go it alone. Working with expert service providers and integrators like NTT or Dell Technologies means they don’t need the in-house skills to design, implement and manage their cloud operations.

By working with service partners, you can worry less about the technology and focus more on strategic business outcomes instead. Your IT resources can explore new business opportunities involving AI, automation and machine learning, rather than getting their hands dirty in the guts of their infrastructure

The benefits of a partnership: NTT and Dell

NTT and Dell have been partners for more than 15 years, and our products and services complement each other especially well in the multicloud environment.

Dell’s integrated platform offering – which includes the APEX services portfolio – is aimed at putting together disparate pieces of clients’ computing, networks, storage and other technology in a new, consumption-oriented model.

The APEX portfolio helps clients optimize their public-cloud environments, connect multiple clouds and recalibrate their workloads where necessary to move from public to private cloud. They are also more rapidly deploying Dell’s PowerFlex software-defined infrastructure technology, as it allows for simple, consolidated and highly automated full-stack infrastructure as a service.

NTT has extensive and global expertise in integrating, delivering and – importantly for efficiency and consistency – automating the deployment of such a platform.

We ask new clients: what are your goals, what is your business trying to achieve, and what are the expected outcomes? If we don’t understand what our clients are trying to achieve, we won’t be able to determine how the multicloud ecosystem can be tailored to their needs.

Then we develop a solution that supports those business outcomes and addresses the challenges instead of just inserting technology. We follow a lifecycle approach that continually optimises a client’s environment, manages costs and reduces complexity.

Accessing the depth and breadth of Dell’s portfolio of services combined with NTT’s global expertise in everything from servers and storage to multicloud is a power move for small businesses, mega-sized enterprises, organizations in the public sector and all those in between.

This article includes contributions by Kyle Leciejewski, Senior Vice President: Global Specialty Sales at Dell Technologies.


Read more about NTT’s Multicloud Services to see how we can make multicloud work for you.