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With the cloud firmly established as a critical line-of-business (LoB) investment, companies are looking for ways to expand the model and improve their overall return. For many organizations, this means a shift away from traditional single-provider models to a multi-cloud scenario. As noted by Forbes, both hybrid and multi-cloud options are quickly gaining ground as a way to improve total cloud control. Yet with multiple clouds comes the need for better cloud management — how do you make sure you're not overspending on services or underfunding compute resources? Here's a look at critical multi-cloud management best practices.

Think of how long you could manage without a paycheck. Now think how long your company could manage without revenue. Then think about how crippled your business would be if a disaster took your computers off line. Recovering from a computer outage isn't hypothetical. According to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, more than a third of businesses lost at least one critical application, server, or file for several hours in 2014; nearly 20 percent lost a critical application for days; and 25 percent lost a significant part of their data center for at least a few hours.

In spite of the many benefits associated with cloud computing, it is in essence a disruptive phenomenon. Because of cloud computing and other advances, decades old practices are no longer viable in today’s business world. It has even led to what is being termed the Internet of Things (IoT).

When most people think of cloud computing, their frame of reference is generally tied to public cloud services like those offered by Amazon Web Services. This isn’t surprising given that these types of services are utilized widely due to the flexibility provided to the companies that utilize them. However, the reality of modern enterprise level cloud computing is shifting toward solutions that involve a complex cloud environment comprised of a unique combination of public and private cloud systems.

There has been a lot of talk about “the cloud” and “cloud computing” over the last decade. But what is cloud computing? Generally speaking, cloud computing is the delivery of applications and/or IT resources upon demand via the Internet. Rather than hosting software and applications on local machines, they are accessed remotely. The term “the cloud” can be used to refer to either the Internet or the remote servers that host the data you're accessing. Over the last 10 years, the shift from traditional software models to cloud computing has gained steady momentum. As we move forward, more and more of our computing will be done in the cloud. We’ll also see many new ways of collaborating from anywhere in the world using our mobile devices. Businesses are already running many different kinds of software in the cloud: from email to HR, accounting to customer relationship management (CRM).

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