The enterprise world is one that no longer recognizes physical walls and borders but instead is fluid, dynamic, and mobile. This new paradigm means business mobility is a must for any company that wants to remain competitive. The cloud has emerged to address this borderless business environment, but even the cloud is quickly morphing to accommodate changing enterprise needs.
First there was the concept of the cloud, which divided into two primary environments: the private cloud and the public cloud. Along came the hybrid cloud as enterprises demanded the best features of both cloud worlds. And now the multi-cloud environment is emerging, which gives enterprises even more choice and promises to maximize cloud benefits to enable business mobility.
What is the multi-cloud?
Private and public cloud models each have their own benefits. Private clouds are typically purpose built for one company and designed specifically to meet that company’s needs. This gives companies a high degree of control over the applications, platform, and operating systems, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
Public clouds are more affordable in most cases because they spread the costs among many disparate users. But companies give up some control in a public cloud environment.
Hybrid clouds quickly emerged as companies wanted to extract the best features of each model. But just as the hybrid cloud model was hitting its stride, the multi-cloud idea began to take hold. A step beyond the hybrid model, multi-cloud allows enterprises to build a cloud solution using pieces from multiple vendors. But pulling in pieces from multiple vendors requires strategic planning to ensure data and work processes can move between different vendors and platforms.
Three Keys to Managing a Multi-Cloud Deployment
Business mobility doesn’t just happen. It requires forethought, planning, and strategy to get the right data and targeted work processes to the right platform or environment at the right time. This requires implementation of three key components.
• Containers — A company might want to offload lower priority processes to a public cloud while a private cloud handles an important recurrent work process each month. In this or a variety of other scenarios, the workloads need to be able to move from one environment to another easily. Containers that create small, portable images of workloads make this movement possible.
• Orchestration — The increasing movement of data and workloads to different cloud environments requires orchestration to ensure that the data needed for a workload doesn’t remain in one cloud environment while the workload itself moves to another environment. This could potentially introduce crippling latencies. To keep everything running smoothly, orchestration tools should be used.
• Contract management — In a multi-cloud environment, multiple dynamic contracts with multiple vendors are the name of the game, and enterprises must learn to manage them. Solutions to automate this function are just beginning to emerge and companies should keep an eye on trends in this space.
It is easy to hesitate to embrace a new environment like the multi-cloud when tools to support it are still being developed. But the newly emerging world of the multi-cloud has the potential to introduce many new benefits for enterprises that may make it worthwhile to take the risk.
Future business success is likely to rest in part on a company’s ability to leverage different technology platforms to maximize business mobility. Contact us to learn more about how the multi-cloud can accelerate your company’s business mobility objectives.