Why a Multi-Cloud Mitigates IT Risk
Your IT infrastructure is vital to your businesses success. Take some steps to ensure your network stays online, even if you’re moving to the cloud.
Every business today is in some significant way, shape, or form is an IT business. As companies’ revenue depends more and more on their digital services, IT outages can not only prevent work from being completed internally, but prevent customers from making purchases, greatly damaging the bottom line. Delta learned this the hard way in September when a five-hour computer outage cost the company $150 million.
Regardless of the specific cost, there’s no denying that IT downtime is expensive and frustrating for those who rely on network stability. And despite the growing adoption of cloud technology — especially public cloud resources — there is no ready-built, foolproof cloud infrastructure solution that is guaranteed to work seamlessly for any enterprise. If exhaustive and serious attention isn’t paid to the specific needs and vulnerabilities of your IT systems, outages will always loom as a serious and significant risk to your profits.
Given that enterprise IT systems have such divergent and varied needs, some companies moving to the cloud have adopted different cloud providers to fulfill different tasks within their departments. This approach is what’s known as a multi-cloud infrastructure, and it’s becoming increasingly popular.
The Benefits of Multi-Cloud
But what exactly is a multi-cloud network? To mitigate the risk of a costly outage, enterprises can deploy redundant, independent systems across a variety of public cloud providers or create a hybrid cloud infrastructure that utilizes both on-premises and private cloud technology. This multi-tiered approach creates backup systems that can take over in the event that a particular cloud provider suffers an outage.
As public cloud services become more mainstream, stability issues no longer top the list of reasons cited by enterprises for not making the switch. However, outage risks are not the only way in which a company can lose money by switching to the cloud: vendor lock-in remains an issue for cloud planners looking to make the shift. Public cloud providers make it difficult to easily transfer processes from their service to another by relying in large part on proprietary technologies that are incompatible with other providers. Other tactics to create lock-in include inefficient processes and contractual restraints.
The multi-cloud approach mitigates the risk of becoming locked into a specific vendor. By deploying different providers to handle specific processes, IT teams can potentially lower costs and improve the performance for certain workloads. "There has definitely been a transition; multicloud today is much less about resilience and hedging bets and more about matching workloads to services," said Research VP at IDC Melanie Posey.
The Challenges of Multi-Cloud
While a multi-cloud infrastructure provides a number of benefits, IT managers should still consider a few risks associated with it before making the leap. First, not all cloud providers offer the same services. While VM instances and storage are fairly standard today, messaging and workflow/administration tools may vary. Utilizing open-source, vendor agnostic tools can help overcome this barrier, however.
Multi-cloud infrastructures also create a more complicated network which can lead to higher costs if left unchecked. Budgeting, maintenance, and monitoring across all providers is nearly impossible when relying on proprietary cloud management software.
To relieve the challenges associated with managing a multi-cloud infrastructure, companies can use vendor agnostic cloud management software. These tools monitor IT resources across the entire network — whether they are on-premises servers, private cloud, or public cloud solutions. By grouping everything under one umbrella monitoring system, IT teams can keep a constant eye on the health of individual processes, find out where they may be overprovisioning, and manage their budget across all resources.
A multi-cloud solution will not completely eliminate the possibility of downtime, but it will certainly go a long way towards ensuring that your infrastructure is as stable as possible.