To find the right cloud fit, companies need a thoughtful approach. However, the goldilocks fit is possible with the right strategies for multi-cloud.
Most companies today operate in the cloud, whether through a public or private cloud, on-premises (“on-prem”) servers, or some combination. In just the past decade, cloud computing has gained nearly universal adoption – today, 87% of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy in place or underway.
Of all options, the most common is the hybrid cloud strategy, a combination of two or more different types of clouds and/or other on-prem deployments that provide high degrees of flexibility, scalability, and cost savings. Last year, Cisco’s Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report found that 82% of IT leaders said they have adopted the hybrid cloud, a big increase in just the past year, that industry experts equate in part to a rise in remote work and companies optimizing their compute infrastructure by keeping some of their data stored in legacy on-prem infrastructure.
Despite its popularity, a hybrid cloud isn’t always the right fit for every company –management can become complex, and data compatibility and movement can create issues. However, advocates of the hybrid cloud feel like it’s the Goldilocks of data infrastructure, providing IT teams with the “just right” fit for their data needs and one that enables a business to scale its infrastructure to meet business demands.
The Best of Both Worlds? Strategies for Multi-Cloud
As with all IT decisions, defining clear objectives and aligning metrics to specific business outcomes is critical. Which applications provide the greatest benefit when moved to the cloud? How do we integrate the landscape of applications across the enterprise? And perhaps most importantly, how do we ensure our data security? Without a robust security design and operating model, a hybrid cloud environment exposes the cloud to new threats, and many public cloud providers have made it very clear that securing your data is primarily your responsibility.
For those considering embarking on a hybrid cloud journey, here are three strategies to keep in mind:
1. Invest in Data Resilience & Recovery
Data resilience ensures that data remains available and intact despite disruptions (like hardware failure, network demand surges, or natural disasters), while data recovery is necessary to restore data in case of data loss or corruption. Both are critical components of any data security strategy, and hybrid clouds offer a way to hedge your bets on potential disaster scenarios – a combination of on-prem and public cloud mitigates physical risks like water or fire damage. This underscores the importance of analyzing, understanding, and having a complete picture of your data and what makes most sense in terms of where it resides, before making any moves.
You’ll never be 100% protected from threats to your data, but you can be prepared to respond when they appear. By clearly defining your backup/recovery and DR policies and creating redundancies for data that’s on-prem and in the cloud, you’re building resiliency for if/when the worst happens.
2. Make Cost Management a Key to Success
Managing costs and monitoring performance for one cloud can be complicated, but it gets even trickier when different services, workloads, and data are spread across different environments. Effective cost management strategies help companies control expenses, optimize resource utilization, and make informed decisions about their hybrid cloud investments.
The hybrid cloud is chosen to optimize performance, security, and cost, but you must be able to measure and manage your costs to ensure the benefits that were planned are being recognized. Be sure to define the location and expected benefits for each application and associated data. Then, measure the results across all clouds and on-prem to adjust as necessary. This is where partnering with a managed service provider is worthwhile and why multi-cloud FinOps (cloud financial management) is such an important discipline.
3. Embrace Cloud Automation
Automation gets a bad rap when conflated with replacing human jobs, but the reality is that for many tasks, automation frees up resources, allows teams to be more efficient, and enables compliance. For example, an organization can ensure its cloud infrastructure meets security needs, corporate governance, and regulatory requirements during its creation.
Cloud automation can also enable IT self-service portals where authorized users can troubleshoot issues or request resources without burdening the IT team. According to The Digital Group, employee IT self-service improves productivity by 44% and enhances security by preventing avoidable human errors.
The Hybrid Cloud Forecast
The future of hybrid cloud infrastructure will likely be characterized by increased integration, flexibility, and sophistication. IT leaders need to have an honest conversation about whether they will fully transition to a public cloud deployment, have a cloud-first policy, or embrace a long-term hybrid cloud approach to optimize based on the application and data requirements.
The pace of innovation seems to accelerate each week, and companies will need to stay agile if they hope to benefit from emerging technologies. Taking steps now to modernize your infrastructure is an important precursor for accelerating digital transformation. The hybrid cloud enables businesses to adapt to these evolving needs, optimize resources, and maintain control over sensitive data, making it a vital strategy for staying competitive in today’s digital landscape. With the right strategies for multi-cloud, companies can finally create the right solution for their needs.
Nitha Puthran is Senior Vice President, responsible for the Cloud, Infrastructure & Security service lines at Persistent Systems. Nitha has close to two decades of demonstrated success spanning core infrastructure and cloud services, managed data center services and digital transformation. She has been instrumental in leading and implementing complex non-linear initiatives for key clients focused on reducing cost of operations and providing excellent client experience. She is responsible for driving key CXO level business relationships and advisory for Persistent’s clients. Prior to Persistent, Nitha led the Global Infrastructure and Cloud business for BFSI vertical at Wipro. Subsequent to her role at Wipro, Nitha worked at Avanade as a Managed Services Business Executive helping them in transforming engagement models. Nitha has a bachelor’s in Engineering from the University of Mumbai.