By 2022, over 90% of enterprises worldwide will be relying on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs, says analyst firm IDC. All are chasing the dream of added agility, resilience and flexibility. In the UK, 70% of enterprises are already using more than one cloud provider to meet their business needs.
A recent report highlighted the fact that UK enterprises are rapidly adopting multicloud because they see each cloud provider offering specific strengths related to vertical solutions, pricing and so forth.
Multicloud promises significant opportunities to optimize both costs and performance by enabling enterprises to select the best services for their business needs. Adopting multicloud, however, is not as straightforward as it sounds. Organizations investing in multicloud can often lose visibility of the extent of their infrastructures and applications. As a result, they are fast running into significant issues regarding cloud spend, sprawl and security, as well as skills-related challenges.
How to approach multicloud complexity
There are without doubt considerable business benefits to be achieved with multicloud. The approach can help enterprises increase performance, make cost savings and gain a significant competitive advantage. But it is imperative to have a robust strategy and tools to provide visibility on a dynamic multicloud estate or end up losing control along with the benefits. A multicloud strategy is very different from an implementation plan. A multicloud strategy is designed to help you map your business goals to the potential of cloud and outline any challenges in advance. Gartner suggests building your cloud strategy by planning and putting together ingredients as you would in a fine meal. This includes identifying which cloud services suit particular tasks, understanding pricing models and outlining security roles and responsibilities. This is a perfect visualization.
No one size strategy fits all
There is no cookie-cutter for a multicloud strategy because every enterprise is different. To develop an effective multicloud strategy, you must work with stakeholders across the enterprise to understand business needs, objectives and opportunities. These can then be linked to the correct application, data and operational capabilities in the cloud. This way, you can ensure that cloud providers’ platforms and technologies align with current and future business requirements. It also helps you assess how much re-architecting or customization of applications may be required.
This is also the time to look at any specific requirements and obligations you may have with data across the enterprise. This will enable you to look at providers that give you control over the jurisdiction your data is stored, processed and managed in.
The importance of FinOps
As cloud estates grow, managing costs becomes crucial if spend isn’t going to spiral out of control. This is where cloud financial management or FinOps comes in. FinOps is a combination of solutions, best practices and cultural change designed to enable enterprises to understand their cloud spend and better manage budgets and resources. Enterprises have some way to go, however, in optimizing their cloud costs. According to a recent report by the FinOps Foundation, a not-for-profit trade association, nearly half of respondents had little or no automation in managing cloud spend. This is one of the core principles of FinOps.
An ineffective cloud strategy can lead to lack of insight across the multicloud estate, opening up gaping vulnerabilities. It is therefore paramount that security is deeply integrated with the cloud platforms as part of your multicloud strategy. This means choosing security tools specifically designed for a multicloud environment and providing seamless, 360-degree visibility.
Understanding your clouds
Simply shifting everything into clouds is not always the best approach. You need to carefully match your cloud usage with business needs. Multicloud does not work for all workloads, and not all cloud providers are made equally. Pick and choose which workloads will play to each provider’s strengths in your cloud portfolio, for example. This is the road to reaping the most significant rewards in the cloud.
Desperately seeking cloud talents
Having the right cloud experts in place is crucial, especially when it comes to deploying and developing cloud-native applications. A multicloud environment, by its very nature, is complex, and you need people who understand its structures. Given the skills drought, it would be imprudent to not look at a skills-gap assessment as part of your multicloud strategy. One way to overcome this challenge is to partner with a trusted and experienced cloud managed service provider. An MSP such as Orange Business Services can help an enterprise implement an end-to-end multicloud strategy from inception to completion and ongoing management.
Cloud strategy is an ongoing project
Now may be the time to revisit your cloud strategy. With cloud offerings continuously changing and new technologies emerging, the trailblazers are the ones that revise their strategic tactics to handle an unpredictable digital economy.
Find out more about how cloud can support your business needs.
Glenda Brady is Managing Director, UK and Ireland at Orange Business Services and has been with Orange Business Services since 1998. A keen and active coach both internally within Orange Business Services and externally, Glenda also supports various programs that encourage women in STEM and has set up a forum in the European organization for women in sales and pre-sales.
She is an avid rugby supporter (and one-time player) and, when not working or supporting her home team, she likes to run marathons.