Dealing with a multi-cloud strategy
We recently began implementing a cloud-based strategy for one of our customers, and while we’d ideally like to pick a single cloud service provider it’s not always possible. As you move more and more of your organisation to the cloud you may, like we did, find that you have to deal with multiple cloud service providers. With a multi-cloud strategy, there are a few more things you need to think about.
Here are a handful of tips we learnt while creating a multi-cloud strategy.
Research your cloud providers
You may have gone Google for your email, or chosen Microsoft Office 365, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are forced to use them for other parts of your cloud infrastructure. You may need to use a private cloud due to data regulations etc. So make sure you fully understand your requirements, get them documented, create a list of features you’re looking for, as well as an application/workload dependency mapping diagram and pick the most suitable and appropriate cloud providers based on costs and benefits. If you can, bring in a 3rd party organisation to help you map this out.
Most cloud providers offer tools that will migrate your code and infrastructure from on-premise to their specific cloud service. However, once you’re migrated are there the same level of tools to move you elsewhere? Most will provide API’s and basic tools but utilising these to move away could be a costly exercise. So make sure you know how to move away from a cloud provider if significantly better services are available elsewhere.
We spent a lot of time trying to find a product that could provide us with a single central view of our multi-cloud infrastructure, and while we found tools that provided high-level information, we still needed to use the vendors own consoles too. So don’t think that because you’re implementing a multi-cloud strategy you can locate a single management console. Due to the rapid change and innovation of cloud vendors it would be naive to think that a single tool could be found and maintained that gives you the best view and management of your resources. While maintaining multiple interfaces for your multi-cloud infrastructure can be time-consuming, it is definitely worth spending this time in order to get the most out of your investment.
Track your costs
The promise of lower costs is one of the main drivers behind the move to the cloud. However, many organisations who have moved to the cloud rarely review or try to optimise their cloud costs once they have been implemented. One area where a single tool could be implemented is with cost optimisation and analytics. These tools allow you to standardise the view of costs from different cloud platforms. Beyond the cost of the resources, it’s important that you track the costs of managing and maintaining these platforms. It’s obvious, but if a platform requires your team to spend a significant amount of time managing and troubleshooting then these costs should be included as part of the overall cost optimisation and analytics process.
As we’ve already mentioned, cloud providers evolve at a significant rate, and what once provided the best service to your business may change over-time. It is therefore important that you continue to review cost models, emerging technologies and new cloud service offerings.
A multi-cloud strategy can be complex, and time-consuming, however if implemented correctly it can bring significant cost savings, efficiencies and improve over-all company productivity.
We’d recommend that anyone using multiple cloud providers implement a multi-cloud strategy and management process.