How does multicloud work?

Multicloud refers to the distribution of cloud assets, software and applications across several cloud environments. With a typical multicloud architecture utilising two or more public clouds and multiple private clouds, a multicloud environment aims to eliminate reliance on any single cloud provider.

While redundancy and vendor lock-in concerns still drive many multicloud deployments today, they are also deployed in response to an enterprise's broader business or technical goals. Those goals can include the need for price-competitive cloud services or taking advantage of the speed, capacity or features offered by a particular cloud provider in a particular geography.

Greater choice, greater complexity

Cloud computing was originally intended to simplify IT through standardisation, consolidation and centralisation. But today companies are moving into a more fragmented IT landscape in which on-premise is combined with a variety of private and public cloud suppliers. Recent research has shown that almost one-third of organisations work with four or more public cloud providers.

As organisations move to multicloud, they face new challenges. Most striking is the complexity of managing security, agility, performance and costs across different platforms. Amplifying this is the necessity to adhere to consistent compliance, confidentiality and data segregation requirements which inevitably incur more time and cost.

To tackle these problems, companies need to adopt a consistent policy to simplify the cloud landscape, consolidating purchasing power and workloads, managing data and applications and enforcing tight security.

Selecting the right platform

Although multicloud environments are quickly standardised, it is important to be aware that each platform has various advantages and disadvantages. It is therefore essential to formulate a clear policy in advance with a decision tree that compares the needs against selected platforms in order to achieve a quick and problem-free migration.

Achieving agility

When applications go to the cloud, they need differentiated and dynamic services to keep them running smoothly. As a result, various firms use agile development frameworks to speed up time-to-market by combining development, quality assurance (QA) and operational tasks. Microservices and containers can make a big difference in this area.

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Network performance

In order to be able to run, migrate and scale cloud resources at any time, any solution will need to offer quality failover and performance. Today's routing solutions require large computing resources to scale up to the number of tunnels that can hold them in the air at once, which can lead to extreme costs.

Ensure security

Whether it concerns access management, the repression of DDoS attacks, web application firewalls or encryption: cloud computing requires solid, cloud-based security. Cloud providers offer various usage possibilities, with various connection options; a consistent security strategy is therefore critical. It must include far-reaching identity and access management, extensive logging capabilities and stringent monitoring and supervision, throughout the IT landscape.

Cost control

Some cloud providers claim to offer cost-effective virtual machines (VMs), but for network-intensive applications, the price of data transfers in and out of the cloud can quickly increase. Users are often unaware of the amount of data they use and how much it costs to deliver it in the cloud. Whether this results in over-extending the environment or deploying high-performance storage for non-critical data, it remains a challenge to manage costs effectively. Capacity planning and monitoring are therefore vital.

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