Unlocking the power of multi-cloud: the importance of a cloud management platform

Organisations run the risk of being overwhelmed by the challenges of operating in a multi-cloud environment without a coherent management strategy.

Unlocking the power of multi-cloud: the importance of a cloud management platform

Organisations run the risk of being overwhelmed by the challenges of operating in a multi-cloud environment without a coherent management strategy.

Dushan Ratnam
Dushan RatnamSenior Product Manager, Hybrid Cloud

Managing a multi-cloud environment: navigating the complexity

Organisations are finding themselves in the world of a multi-cloud environment, where they’re using multiple cloud computing and storage services in a single network architecture. In its simplest form, a multi-cloud is where an organisation uses more than one public cloud to deliver business services to its users, for example, using Microsoft Azure for your Office 365 service and Google Cloud Platform for your analytics services.

According to Gartner, 81% of organisations using the public cloud are working with two or more cloud providers to service their business.

While the benefits of a multi-cloud environment are clear, the challenges are equally significant. Detailed migration planning, inclusive of operational strategies post-migration, is the key.

Overlooking the essential elements of people, processes, and cultural shifts can lead to overwhelming challenges, sometimes even prompting a retreat to the private cloud.

The positive dimensions of a multi-cloud environment

Among the complexities, four pivotal factors highlight the advantages of a multi-cloud approach:

  1. Choice: Access to diverse cloud environments grants flexibility and avoids vendor lock-in. 
  2. Disaster avoidance: Redundancy across multiple cloud providers safeguards against service disruption due to a single provider’s issues.
  3. Compliance: Cloud providers assist in meeting Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance (GRC) regulations.
  4. Competitive pricing: The ability to compare providers ensures securing the best rates for specific requirements.

Challenges encountered in multi-cloud realities

1. Governance and compliance

As organisations move to multi-cloud, data becomes more distributed. If you’re a global entity operating across multiple regions, your data will be strewn across different cloud providers and different regions.

Managing compliance like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), and Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) in such an environment becomes complex and, in the worst cases, leads to data breaches with severe consequences.

This situation is likely to deteriorate as newer technologies like edge computing and 5G make processing data at remote locations even simpler.

2. Siloed management tools

Today, each cloud provider offers their native tools to monitor, manage, and operate resources in its environment. This is ideal for organisations locked in with a single cloud service provider, but it doesn’t work when you’re operating in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment because you don’t have a consolidated, holistic view across your clouds.

You’re left dealing with a dizzying number of different tools to manage the cloud platforms you use, each specific to the vendors you’re working with.

3. Spiraling costs

On top of the cost and complexity involved in managing multi-cloud contracts, you can end up with ‘cloud sprawl’ where the costs associated with each service quickly spin out of control, and you don’t have a mechanism to control costs across all your cloud platforms.

4. A shortage of skilled staff

To be successful, organisations operating a mixed cloud model must have people with the right skills managing each of their clouds – and these people are hard to get. The skills usually considered ‘nice to haves’ in a single cloud environment become ‘must-haves’ in a multi-cloud world, so you need to upskill your teams.

5. Connectivity

Under hybrid or multi-cloud models, high latency, packet loss, security exposure, and managing multiple connectivities are common issues. It’s important to consider network bandwidth and latency rates when working with multi-cloud architectures.

The essential role of a cloud management platform (CMP)

A clearly defined, well-researched, and coherent strategy along with planned digital, cultural, and business transformation is critical for successful cloud migration.  However, it’s also vital to get the operational tools, people, and processes right once you’ve moved to a multi-cloud environment.

Cloud management diagram

Investing in the right cloud management platform (CMP) is key to both effective digital transformation and making sure that everything is operating effectively post-transformation. In its simplest form, a CMP can be defined as a suite of integrated tools designed to manage cloud computing resources in a public, private, or hybrid cloud environment in a consistent manner.

A CMP is the foundation an organisation needs to bridge the gap between teams, tools, and processes, independent of where and how applications are deployed.

The right CMP lets you unify the tools you already have and manage your clouds, instead of forcing you to rip and replace existing technologies. Investing in a cloud management solution creates an operating environment that’s rich in automation, orchestration, and cloud brokering.

It delivers security, compliance, cost management, and cloud lifecycle management, all from a unified, fully integrated solution.

Our solution: a unified approach for effective multi-cloud management

We’ve partnered with Morpheus to bring you a powerful self-service engine to provide enterprise agility, control, and efficiency. Our cloud management platform can quickly enable on-prem private clouds, centralise public cloud access, and orchestrate change with cost analytics, governance policy, and automation.