Many of you are already working in multicloud environments – a combination of public and private clouds (i.e., AWS, Azure, Google, and on-premise IT). In fact, IDC found that 84% of IT executives surveyed expect to use multiple clouds from multiple cloud providers. Organizations are pursuing multicloud for a variety of reasons including increasing revenue, reducing costs, decreasing time to market, or simplifying IT infrastructure. While a mulitcloud approach can deliver tremendous benefits, it can also create complexity, exposing a gap between the business need for digitization and what IT can reliably and confidently support.

This growing complexity has less to do with the value of the individual services and more to do with how to efficiently and effectively manage, secure, deliver, and gain insights across all the cloud services you use. However, there is little to no connective tissue between these vendor-specific clouds; each having their own tools, APIs, configuration requirements, SLAs, analytics, and more. Taking this complexity into account will be critical to connecting the dots when it comes to your cloud strategy and doing more with cloud.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you refine your cloud strategy for the complexities of multicloud:

  • How will you manage these different cloud providers? Managing multiple cloud, SaaS, hosting, network and colocation vendors can be complex and require IT time, resources, and tools to juggle and correlate the multiple infrastructure options. The ability to manage the span of applications, clouds, and users regardless of where they reside will be critical. Do you have the right solutions and infrastructure to manage and maintain these multiple clouds?
  • How will you make sure your users, data, and applications are secure? You want the ability to apply security capabilities in an integrated fashion. A security strategy with lots of seams that are different for every vendor, is not really a best practice. If data and users are now dispersed among multiple cloud providers and services, it is extremely difficult to enforce a strict, uniform security policy everywhere. The ability to secure users, data, and applications everywhere is essential to a successful multicloud strategy.
  • How will you balance what’s on and off prem? Customers tell us they want a common framework that ideally mirrors on and off prem. They don’t really want to have multiple ways of connecting to each of their different cloud providers. Organizations must strike the right balance between control and innovation across their on- and off-premises environments and multiple clouds from various providers. You’ll need ways to securely connect public cloud workloads to your own data centers or to users on prem.

The complexity gap is not going away; it will continue to grow. Making sure your cloud strategy is designed for a multicloud world will help you capitalize on the ever-growing business and digital requirements transformation impacting every industry. What are you doing to address the complexities of multicloud?

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Kip Compton

No longer with Cisco