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Cloud is dominating. That much is clear. The vast majority of companies are using cloud of some type, according to a study from 451 Research. The same analysis found that by 2019, nearly three-quarters of organizations (69%) will have launched hybrid cloud or multicloud environments. In fact, IDC has noted that multicloud plans are needed “urgently” as the number of organizations using various clouds for their applications has grown.

What is multicloud, and why is this tactic becoming prominent?

Multicloud computing, as its name suggests, involves the use of more than one cloud provider for that part of your infrastructure. Multicloud typically is a strategy that involves public cloud providers, but private clouds may also be included, whether they are run remotely or on-premises. There also may be hybrid clouds integrated into multicloud ecosystems.

Multicloud is chosen from a technical perspective because it represents built-in redundancies: more than one provider means you are diversifying the data centers in which your data is stored and processed. Each individual cloud vendor will have multiple redundancies in its own right, so you are adding another layer of protection with multicloud. If everything is within one cloud provider and its systems fail (especially a concern if the organization is not certified to meet a key control standard such as SSAE 18/16), your environment will go completely down.

When you build a multicloud system, you may be able to access different capabilities. A chief reason that multicloud is a key technology right now is simply that it delivers better freedom to organizations to access the specific services and features that they want. You can potentially reduce your costs with multicloud, since you will assumedly be able to compare pricing of different plans. However, you lose potential volume savings of exclusively using one vendor.

Chris Evans recently discussed some benefits of multicloud related to cost: you can often get better prices because you are simple making these cost comparisons, setting all else aside. While public cloud hosting industry-wide has remained relatively level over the last few years, you can sometimes cut your expenses on a virtual machine by virtual machine basis. You can bring up a lot of data very rapidly with public cloud, allowing you to have your applications immediately available.

Related to features, you may be able to access different functions within some cloud systems that simply aren’t possible to get elsewhere. You should be able to find systems that are increasingly adept with machine learning and AI protections, for instance – key as the threat landscape itself is beginning to integrate AI into its algorithms.

Challenge of cost tracking

Now, there are certainly pros of multicloud, but there are also cons – or at the very least challenges to adoption. One is cost tracking. You want to be prepared for the complexities of managing the much more diverse set of costs. If you go with multicloud, you will not be as easily able to manage your expenses simply due to the complexities. You are also exposed to greater risk. You can end up pouring a lot of money into cloud usage monitoring, ROI analysis, and general oversight of your environment.

Figuring out the money of your multicloud may be one of your greatest obstacles to success, so approach the project with sufficient focus. After all, you will run into different frameworks with different CSPs. They each have their own ways they price, bill, the payment options they have available, and other aspects; because of this variance, you will not have a straightforward time integrating and managing your costs. A good way to start is by creating a team to assess cost related to the entire environment, as well as in terms of specific key applications.

Challenge of infrastructure management

You certainly can benefit from multicloud; but since management inevitably becomes more complex given the additional pieces, it is essential to be ready upfront for the management difficulties. Prior to your multicloud launch, it can be a good idea to connect the things that you want in cloud services to plans that provide those elements. Multicloud is such an increasingly popular choice that providers are always improving their management environments so that multicloud customers are properly treated. Additionally, it is wise from a development standpoint and a scalability standpoint to build your applications with portability in mind so you can move them at will.

To handle cloud, virtualized or hardware-centered networking solutions are often being set aside in favor of software-defined cloud. When you have multicloud deployed at your company, you will additionally benefit from a cloud networking approach that brings together all the routing and networking challenges of your cloud data centers to resolve them centrally. That way you have the DevOps and cloud in place to troubleshoot, oversee, and manage multicloud as intelligently as possible. By optimizing your multicloud via the cloud, you move away from virtualized to software-defined networking.

Challenge of connectivity

When you are developing systems that are secure and that allow you to move data rapidly, you will often simply not be able to use one-to-one connections. You will likely run into challenges with connectivity when you are building hybrid or multicloud environments. Integrating the private and public pieces of a hybrid cloud is tricky, but blending different public clouds within your multicloud has its own hurdles.

Challenge of workability

A core issue with multicloud is that organizations typically do not want it to be easy to use their systems with those created by market rivals. You do not want to have to connect everything manually if you are trying to scale your cloud and assume rapid growth. You want the networking to be abstracted so that you get the same performance throughout your entire system.

Challenge of security

You see how much data privacy of consumers is central with the EU’s implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation earlier in the year. Privacy and security are often discussed together: people want privacy of their information, and security makes that possible. You will have more risks in a multicloud setting – so, in turn, you will need to pay greater attention to tools and strategies that mitigate risk.

You cloud provider will generally use strong protective measures. Nonetheless, you will need to take the lead in confirming the protections for your customer data. You should be discussing security regularly, continually, within your organization, what you can do to continue to safeguard information and how you would respond if a breach occurred today.

Question of hiring a chief integration officer

The complexity of multicloud environments and IT in general is highlighted by the prevalence of hiring chief integration officers to help firms pull together all their digital systems. The chief integration officer is often much broader than simply handling cloud. They are advocated by Clinton Lee, who noted that “this is a vital role in any acquisitive company” – notable since Lee is a mergers and acquisitions consultant.

Challenge of finding high-quality providers

The benefits created by a muticloud approach make it compelling to a growing number of firms, but the strategy certainly has its challenges. Much of the process of building a multicloud system is assessing what different providers have to offer. At Total Server Solutions, you can trust the cloud with guaranteed performance. Spin it up.