By Srinivas Rao, Sr. Director, System Engineering, Dell Technologies
Today, as we move towards a digitally mature world, it has become vitally important for organizations to adopt multi-cloud strategies. This is because multi-cloud environments have proved to be a game changer for organizations by helping them achieve greater efficiencies and enhance the performance of their virtual infrastructure – putting them a step ahead of the competition.
While a multi-cloud strategy lets you take advantage of best-of-breed IT solutions, it also comes with its own set of challenges. It has become imperative for organisations to identify these challenges to improve their business and technical outcomes. Here are four key areas which businesses must focus on to reap the benefits of their multi-cloud strategies.
Migration, Re-platforming and Re-factoring: Protracted and costly professional services are required to fully take advantage of public clouds and that can lead to delays in innovation and cause uncertainty. Most businesses cannot afford downtime so sending multiple virtual machines up to public clouds, hooking them to a database, presenting the relevant data, testing the entire configuration, and only then flipping the switch to shift a production workload to the cloud creates a complex and time-consuming maze to navigate. These can largely be condensed down into a simple lift and shift motion by moving virtual machines and their underlying policies to public clouds. You won’t have a full cloud-native app without re-platforming, but you can take advantage of public cloud features in much the same way. The best part, though, is these applications will be more portable between clouds.
Developer Methodologies and Skill Sets: Agile methodologies and DevOps are the paths many organizations take, but this also means developers need to master skills that were traditionally the realm of IT Operations and Security personnel. In many cases, sidestepping “Ops” leads developers to return to IT operations needing help. Therefore, it’s critical to develop a true “DevOps” practice where there is close collaboration between an organization’s developers and operational leads to ensure the long-term viability and stability of newly developed applications wherever they are hosted.
Day to Day Operations: Cloud simplifies and shifts a lot of IT operations responsibility to the vendor, but that doesn’t mean you can take your eye off the ball. The simplicity of cloud development and perception of lower operational complexity has led to the development of more fragile operating environments that are still plagued by regular outages. Operations (Ops) discipline is critical because there isn’t less to do—there is usually more, and it can be more nuanced than traditional architectures. Additionally, complexity increases greatly as more vendors come on-board. It can be difficult to evaluate costs and service levels across multiple environments as each one of them comes with their own tools.
Security and Regulatory Compliance: With cloud comes a new operational paradigm. Built from the ground up to be open and accessible from anywhere in the world, cloud comes with an increased attack surface as well as added compliance requirements. Existing security approaches often are not portable to public clouds, which means organizations must implement new policies.
There is a much simpler path to multi-cloud, and that is through a consistent hybrid approach. The software-defined data centre, which is the virtualization of compute, network and storage, frees you from the underlying infrastructure, and, if it is a supported configuration by the cloud service providers you wish to use, it can radically change the multi-cloud equation.