A Multi-Cloud future

Hybrid cloud strategies are high on the IT agenda at the moment, with many businesses reaping the benefits of the cost-effective, scalable and flexible advantages they offer. But what should be considered, and how do you know if hybrid cloud is right for your business? Here, Adam Binks, CEO of SysGroup, explains the factors and challenges to address during the journey to a hybrid cloud.

Multi-cloud is an approach to cloud computing that uses more than one cloud service from a number of different vendors – public or private. It allows businesses to mix and match services to create a blend most suited to them, while avoiding depends on a single cloud provider.

Outlying the benefits
The benefits of hybrid cloud have been clear for some time, including improved speed, reliability, flexibility, scalability, security and control.

Many businesses have historically overlooked these benefits in favour of a single, more simple cloud technology, but that’s far from true today. With the majority opting for the flexibility that multi- occupancy models offer, the future of the cloud appears to be centred around hybrid.

The decentralisation of the cloud has bucked this trend, with different teams across a business often having conflicting ways of working and platforms of choice. Some will be using Microsoft for example, while others prefer Amazon Web Services. This expansion of the breadth of expertise within organisations is also pushing the multi-cloud offer, with different vendors specialising in a number of areas and services that businesses simply don’t want to miss out on.

Selecting the cloud
There are considerations to note when deciding which cloud, whether it be public, private or hybrid, is right for your business. The technical and commercial objectives must first be taken into account and then translated into clear technical requirements.

As it is best suited to a dynamic workload situation, most organisations will find hybrid environments the most practical way to approach a journey to cloud hosting in order to connect a public cloud to an in-house ‘private’ data centre.

In situ, the private cloud service can run normal business conditions, while the public cloud can be used during peak times when the resources of private cloud is exceeded to ensure things run smoothly without any interruption.

Tackling the challenges
While the benefits are there, no technology comes without its challenges and that is true of multi- cloud hosting, too. The 2018 State of Cloud report cited spend and security as the two top challenges cloud users are facing today, with respondents admitting to wasting an estimated 30 per cent of the money they spend in the cloud.

These cost implications are sometimes due to the time it takes training the team to ensure they are up to speed with multiple cloud solutions. Becoming an expert on one cloud environment takes a while, so bringing multiple clouds into the mix requires more focus and often investment in new staff to support it. Working with experienced external teams can help to plug that gap by providing the necessary training and resources without the full cost implications.

Some businesses cite integration as a significant challenge when migrating to a hybrid cloud environment, largely around getting legacy systems connected. However, this is rarely the case. Hybrid cloud often gives users the opportunity to build on existing infrastructure, enabling seamless transition to a cloud environment with reassurance of secure communications between different parts of the business’ cloud environments.

Futureproofing
With the benefits clear to see, there is no doubt that the future of the cloud will be centred around hybrid platforms.

Digital transformation and IoT will continue to transform the industry for the better, but with this will come increased security risk around data protection and associated costs. However, given a hybrid approach picks up different components from public and private cloud, these models are among the quickest developing cloud reception models available today and the challenges are minor in comparison.

In reality, most growing businesses will find multi-hosting environments the most practical method in the long run, especially when moving to the cloud, given the ease of integration with existing infrastructure.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine