From workloads and applications and splitting workload traffic for redundancy to optimizing feature sets and identifying the best way to manage and track cloud costs, there are a number of areas to consider when moving to a multi-cloud strategy. The combination of benefits that can be achieved has driven up the popularity of a multi-cloud approach over the last few years.
IDC predicts 2021 to be the year of multi-cloud and expects that by 2022, more than 90% of enterprises worldwide will be relying on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs. Despite its growing popularity, moving to a multi-cloud strategy isn’t without complications and risks to consider, given each provider works a bit differently, has a different list of services, different strengths, different pricing, etc.
In this eWEEK Data Points article, Ohad Maislish, CEO and co-founder of self-service cloud orchestration and cost management company env0, outlines five tips to consider when developing a solid multi-cloud strategy.
Data Point No. 1: Understand which workloads and applications work best with each provider.
Not all cloud providers and their features are created equally. For instance, AWS has the widest range of services, Microsoft Azure has a great reputation for its range of deeply integrated DevOps tools, and Google Cloud Platform is known for many of its data processing and analysis tools, such as BigQuery.
By picking and choosing which workloads take advantage of each provider’s strengths, you can save both money and headaches. This process may also make IT hiring easier since different industries and the use cases often have different provider preferences, so if you need a team with expertise with both the cloud provider as well as your application, you may find a bigger pool of candidates with experience using a particular cloud.
Data Point No. 2: Ensure access to experts for each cloud.
Speaking of hiring, make sure you have people on your team who are experts in each of the providers that you are planning on deploying, because each of the cloud providers offer different services, different configurations and generally work differently.
Cloud costs can also be wildly different and play a big factor in choosing the right provider. For example: Zoom recently signed a deal with Oracle Cloud because its transit pricing was 1/10th the cost of AWS and Azure, which in light of the current times, is a key consideration for a video conferencing platform.
This is especially important when it comes to cloud security and policy. A single misconfigured setting could risk exposing your data to the public or allow malicious actors to breach your infrastructure, so a cloud security expert is critical.
Data Point No. 3: Take advantage of the split for redundancy.
One advantage of a multi-cloud setup is that you can use your footprint in one cloud provider to make sure that everything is working correctly in another.
One way is to deploy essential applications into multiple providers and then split traffic between them. Therefore, if one provider goes down, you’ll be able to failover all the traffic to the other one. This can be done using containerization technologies like Docker or Kubernetes and sticking to tested, vendor-neutral protocols for your architecture.
Even if you are only running an application in one cloud provider, you can still use the other to run your monitoring software and status boards to ensure that you always have a clear picture of what is happening in your infrastructure and can communicate it to your users.
Data Point No. 4: Choose management solutions that work across clouds.
While deploying different applications or using different underlying technical frameworks for each cloud provider may be appealing, making sure your management infrastructure works across all clouds can make it easier for your team to collaborate on larger projects.
For instance, while AWS and Azure each have their own proprietary infrastructure-as-code frameworks, choosing an open source solution such as Terraform or Pulumi provides a more flexible way to manage key parts of your cloud deployment.
Data Point No. 5: Look for transparency in cloud costs.
Because each provider uses different pricing structures for different resources, it’s important to understand exactly how much you’re spending for each of your workloads. Since cloud providers don’t know how various resources are being deployed, their bills cannot provide insights into what your team is actually spending on them.
A cost management solution can track individual workloads, research projects and developer initiatives so that you can understand your cloud expenditures, which will help you budget and prioritize critical R&D initiatives while calculating key financial metrics, such as gross margin andcloud benefit analysis.
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