As cloud adoption has constantly been on the rise, it is becoming increasingly risky for organizations to host all of their applications and data on one cloud provider. Risk can be mitigated through multicloud deployment, which spreads resources across multiple cloud providers.
What is multicloud deployment?
Multicloud refers to a deployment that depends on cloud services provided by two or more cloud vendors. It involves having workloads in multiple cloud providers.
Multicloud deployments also involve a calculated approach to the design and deployment of resources to ensure application architecture and the strengths of prospective infrastructure providers are complementary.
SEE: Multicloud explained: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
Pros of multicloud deployment
A key benefit of a multicloud deployment approach is that it ensures mission-critical services do not suffer outages when a cloud provider suffers an outage. Such resilience is crucial for systems and applications that need to serve end users around the clock.
Today’s business needs are constantly changing. Multicloud deployments enable organizations to stay flexible and agile in the face of constant and rapid change. It also allows organizations to satisfy different data needs and ensure data is available.
Organizational IT compliance requirements around areas of data privacy and data sovereignty often vary. When dealing with data that involves stringent data security measures, multicloud deployments allow organizations to store sensitive data in a hardened private cloud and control how public cloud environments query them.
Avoiding vendor lock-in
Multicloud deployments provide enterprises with a way out of being tied to one provider, as the alignment between a provider and an enterprise may change with time. Misalignment may yield increased cost and ineffective service delivery. Furthermore, changing providers as a result of this misalignment may be expensive and time-consuming. Multicloud environments limit organizations’ exposure to vendor lock-in.
Multicloud deployments may provide an organization with the means to optimize the costs of cloud technologies and the reliability of workloads. As cloud providers vary in offering and cost, organizations can choose which providers cost-effectively align with their strategic initiatives.
Cons of multicloud deployment
A single cloud provider may introduce a sharp learning curve to teams as a result of the processes and systems IT teams are required to learn in addition to familiarity with the services these providers introduce. Now, consider the impact of the adoption of more providers. It may be challenging to ensure teams remain competent across all environments.
Overall, cost proves to be a challenge for multicloud deployments. An extra cost is generated from the additional traffic and management layer between cloud environments. Unnecessary expenses can arise when organizations fail to grasp the differences in costs between cloud providers.
Also, the cost of hiring and training staff for all of the cloud environments and the cost of unutilized resources that can go unnoticed in complex cloud environments shows that costs can easily spiral out of control without proper management and monitoring.
Considerations for multicloud deployment
There are a number of considerations that need to be made for successful multicloud deployment. These include infrastructure, operations and applications.
A multicloud deployment plan should be specific about the target infrastructure based on the current and future needs of various stakeholders. The plan has to also take into consideration the impact of advanced technologies like software-defined infrastructure, virtualization and more.
The deployment plan needs to consider a multicloud deployment that supports these advanced infrastructure technologies in complex hybrid and multicloud environments. It is also crucial to determine how required data format conversions will be carried out during the movement of data across public cloud and on-premises environments. This consideration still holds for the transit of data between different cloud providers.
It is also important to determine whether a prospective multicloud deployment supports infrastructure self-provisioning as much as it can. These include infrastructure-as-code (IAC) templates, particularly since IAC tools by cloud providers are vendor-specific and often tough to manage in multicloud environments.
Finally, the data that is stored in containerized environments needs to be correctly managed and secured. Containerized environments benefit multicloud environments, as they run code in the same way, regardless of deployment infrastructure.
A multicloud deployment plan ought to address a number of operational issues. There should be an understanding of the impact of the deployment on the IT landscape and where new roles may need to be established.
For example, business relationship management roles may need to be introduced to ensure business needs and IT services work in alignment. These roles should also be created with access control and multicloud security in mind.
One of the greatest challenges plaguing multicloud deployments is cost management. As a result, the deployment plan must incorporate a cost management process to handle both current and future right-sizing.
It should also be easy to move data from one cloud to another when required. Users need to consider multicloud deployment tools that approach data replication and synchronization and multicloud data transfer cost-effectively.
Organizations should also consider multicloud deployment tools that manage and deploy the whole data fabric from a unified dashboard to provide transparency to the whole spectrum of multicloud end users. Such transparency ought to also cover the billing and pricing models for these end users.
For effective multicloud application deployment, teams should evaluate which applications and workloads are best suited for specific cloud platforms. This can be determined by the availability of specialized compute, how simple it is to integrate a cloud provider’s services and resources with other cloud environments, and the geographic locations of the provider’s data centers.
Securing and protecting data must be a priority, as data security stands as one of the top challenges to multicloud deployments. Multicloud application deployment should be augmented by effective authorization and authentication features to secure data.
Encryption of data at rest and data in transit is one of the approaches that could be taken to secure data. Additionally, this data needs to be protected against corruption and loss and has to be a consideration in a multicloud deployment plan.
Furthermore, standardization and coordination of development stacks across clouds have to be considered to ensure consistent and swappable deployments across multiple clouds. Considering continuous integration and delivery solutions for multicloud environments can ease the shift to multicloud environments and make multicloud application deployment more consistent and manageable.
SEE: iCloud vs. OneDrive: Which is best for Mac, iPad and iPhone users? (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Flexera Cloud Management Platform
Flexera is a cloud management tool with a rich array of discovery, operational monitoring, management, governance, template-based provisioning, orchestration and automation, and cost optimization across multicloud environments and virtual and bare-metal servers. It is suitable but not limited to small and medium-sized businesses in need of a potent orchestration engine and workflow automation capabilities.
VMware’s multicloud solutions offer organizations the ability to seamlessly migrate to the cloud without having to recode their applications. They enable them to modernize their infrastructure and consistently operate across multicloud environments, data centers and the edge. VMware offers numerous multicloud products including VMware Cloud Foundation, Tanzu, Cloud on AWS, vRealize Cloud Management, CloudHealth by VMware Suite and more.
Azure Arc extends the Azure platform to enable users to create applications and services that can flexibly run in multicloud environments, at the edge and across data centers. Arc runs on new and legacy hardware, integrated systems, IoT devices, and Kubernetes and virtualization platforms.
Nutanix Cloud Manager Cost Governance
Formerly known as Nutanix Beam, Nutanix Cloud Manager Cost Governance is a cloud management platform that offers organizations visibility into cloud consumption patterns and provides solutions for cost management and security optimization. Nutanix Cloud Manager Cost Governance also simplifies and drives multicloud governance. Cloud teams seeking insight into their expenditures will find great value in this tool.
Mist is an open-source multicloud management platform aiming to simplify multicloud and provide a unified interface for multicloud management. Mist supports all relevant infrastructure technologies such as private and public clouds, containers, bare-metal servers, and hypervisors.
Deciding whether to switch to multicloud
Organizations should keep an eye on multicloud if they seek options that single providers do not provide. If flexibility, resilience and control over applications and data appeal to you, then you should consider multicloud deployment. However, as multicloud deployments are large-scale transformative endeavors for any enterprise, the deployment plan should be executed in an agile manner.