In the last few years, cloud computing has traversed a long way. Not long ago, the discussions around cloud were limited to whether to board a public or private bus. Cut to today, when multicloud has become the new normal. Enterprises across industries are picking and mixing technologies and services from multiple cloud providers as per their specific business needs.
Industry reports and findings also clearly highlight this rapidly rising trend, recognizing multicloud infrastructure as the future of enterprise IT. As per the findings of 2018 IDG Cloud Computing study, 42% of organizations are using multicloud. Similarly, Frost & Sullivan’s Cloud User Survey of 2018 asserts that the multicloud universe is expanding, with the average number of infrastructure options per business expected to increase from 5.4 in 2018 to 10 by 2020.
So, what has actually made multicloud the order of the day? While avoiding vendor lock-in is the most obvious advantage of choosing cloud platforms from different vendors, the biggest benefit of the multicloud environment is flexibility. A multicloud environment enables organizations to choose from private or public cloud providers, depending on the workload, and negotiate the best-of-the-breed capabilities. They also have the flexibility to modify existing services and develop new ones with the appropriate platform, deployment model or technology stack.
However, with great flexibility of multicloud comes great complexity. Workloads run across cloud providers, each with their own tool sets to maximize the value of the cloud platform. What’s more, data and applications are hosted using various deployment models, including both physical (legacy, on-premise IT) and virtualized (DC or cloud). This results in a highly distributed, siloed environment without any centralized management. Enterprises face the problem of plenty—multiple dashboards from multiple vendors. Given these challenges, enterprises struggle to adequately oversee cloud environment in a way that helps them derive the expected RoI.
Cloud management platforms: providing a single version of truth
As benefits of multicloud far outweigh the challenges, more and more enterprises are looking around for tools that can help them get a single, unified view of the entire ecosystem involved. In this context, Cloud Management Platforms (CMP), which enable the organization to monitor, react and respond to the dynamic world of cloud—all from a single window—are fast gaining relevance. A CMP is a consolidated platform with an extensive set of APIs to deploy, optimize, integrate and scale the enterprise cloud computing ecosystem. An enterprise-grade CMP empowers enterprises by enabling them to view all their applications and workloads from a single dashboard and gain a bird’s eye view of the multicloud infrastructure.
Here’s how a single viewpoint offered by CMPs effectively manages the pain points of the multicloud environment:
Streamlining vendor management
A multicloud environment involves a large number of technology vendors for managing a wide spectrum of areas, including data centers, cloud infrastructure, SaaS applications and colocation services, to name few. In a scattered set-up of multicloud, vendor management becomes a huge challenge. More often than not, it ends up becoming departmentalized which adds to business risks. With the standardized view offered by a CMP, enterprises gain the ability to manage all the vendors involved in the entire multi-cloud spectrum from a single dashboard. Performance of every cloud asset can be tracked from a single place, irrespective of the provider or technology used, enabling a total control over the vendor ecosystem.
Enterprises are under constant pressure to meet the ever-evolving regulatory requirements. When we talk about an environment as diverse as multicloud with disparate data architectures, compute and storage systems, payment systems and reporting tools, complexity in managing compliance increases manifold. IT teams struggle with monitoring regulations and policies across each platform. As security policies are different and specific to every system, applying policies uniformly is a challenge. Further, in absence of standardized data, it’s a cumbersome task to collate and maintain compliance information. A singular view offered by a CMP, where compliance information across all platforms is available in a dashboard, can save considerable man-hours for IT teams. With the ability to generate reports in real time at a click of a button, enterprises can free up a number of resources involved in managing compliance.
Simplifying cloud migration and management
In a fast expanding, diverse environment of multicloud, migration and management of data from one cloud to another is complex. In the absence of integration and connectivity, there is a huge risk of data loss. A CMP allows integration of the complete multicloud environment, right from different cloud infrastructure vendors, architectures and data types. It provides an orchestration layer that allows organizations to get a single picture and help them migrate or replicate workloads seamlessly from one cloud to another.
Keeping costs under check
One of the prime advantages of the pay-as-you-go cloud model is that it enables you to scale up and down rapidly, as per requirement. However, in a multi-cloud environment, where IT teams configure and provision applications across cloud platforms, there is little or no visibility in terms of cost. With a single, consolidated view provided by CMPs, enterprises get the ability to track resources in real time and take informed decisions with respect to resource allocation and expenditure. Using a dashboard, the IT teams can allocate cost and define maximum threshold by project or department across cloud environment. A unified source of data enables IT teams to get a 360-degree view of current usage patterns while enabling them to predict future requirements to help them take calculated decisions around managing costs.
To derive the full business potential of agility and flexibility of a multicloud environment, it’s critical for enterprises to integrate all the environments in a single view that gives a complete control over management and governance. Choosing a provider that offers a combination of a robust CMP and managed services can help organizations optimize their cloud spend in the multicloud world.