Multi-Cloud Management: Best Practices

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.

The Multi-Cloud Approach

What exactly is multi-cloud? It's simple: Instead of purchasing cloud services from a single provider, companies spread out apps and services across multiple cloud vendors. This approach offers a number of key benefits. Limited risk comes first — when cloud providers are one of many rather than your entire IT backbone, untimely vendor collapse or the end of a service agreement doesn't damage your bottom line.

As noted by CloudTech, going multi-cloud also offers the benefit of familiarity — clients get access to a familiar interface such as an on-premise virtualization tool that lets them access a host of services from various providers. This ties into the third key advantage — specificity. Maturing clouds have given rise to niche IT firms that specialize in security, big data analytics, storage and a host of other cloud tasks. Rather than relying on a general provider for all cloud services, companies can now leverage multi-cloud to find the ideal service for their need. This creates a much more efficient process while simultaneously making it easier for the IT staff.

Managing Multiplicity

With so many benefits, why haven't all companies opted for multi-cloud migration? In a word — management. Not every cloud plays nicely with its counterparts, and it's easy for even skilled IT teams to lose track of cloud services accessed across multiple vendors by front-line employees and C-suite members alike. In other words, it's easy for too much choice to become overwhelming and lead to cloud sprawl, in turn reducing total return on investment (ROI). There's also the issue of vendor differential: Every provider has its own way of measuring performance, managing metrics and reporting results. Combating these problems demands a multi-cloud management strategy built on fundamental best practices. By implementing early and ensuring corporatewide adoption, companies can take charge of cloud migration.

Step one? Find the right tools. For example, PuppetLabs lets IT admins automate repetitive tasks, deploy apps and proactively manage infrastructure changes in the cloud. AppDynamics, meanwhile, lets you organize all activities in your system in the form of business transactions and then discover the root cause of performance bottlenecks or service issues — is a particular cloud not playing well with others, or are users overprovisioning a specific service? AppDynamics gives you the critical insight you need. BMC lifecycle management, meanwhile, gives you the ability to balance flexibility and control across your entire cloud infrastructure — from compute to networking to storage and applications.

Beyond The Cloud

While multiple vendors and great tools give companies a head start on multi-cloud management, long-term success depends on another best practice: Finding the right management partner. With so many tools available and oversight of multiple clouds demanding big-time commitments from enterprise IT departments, it's easy for technology professionals to get bogged down in the minutia of management instead of dedicating time to business-critical IT tasks. At Column Technologies, we not only provide a host of leading cloud technologies — for example, we're a BMC elite partner with the proven ability to deploy robust CLM projects — but we've got the expertise necessary to help architect the ideal cloud solution for your company. It all starts with consultation: What does your company hope to gain from leveraging multiple clouds, and what specific needs are most pressing? Once we understand your starting point, we find best-fit cloud solutions from multiple vendors to give you ideal balance of flexibility and control. Our cloud-as-a-service (CaaS) offering lets you quickly spin up necessary resources and services; get from zero to cloud in less than a week.

Why multi-cloud? You get lowered risk, reduced costs, better access, and specificity of service. Tapping these benefits, however, demands best practices driven by tools designed to deliver improved oversight, better automation and critical reporting — all empowered by an expert management partner. Ready to get started? Talk to Column Technologies today and make the move to multi-cloud.