- The evolution of enterprise workloads and the search for the most cost-effective solutions;
- Sprawl resulting from the ease with which departments can migrate systems;
- New offerings not available from current vendors;
- Simply being dissatisfied with a service or vendor and riding out the length of the contract.
Regardless of the underlying factors that led to a multi-vendor cloud environment, its management presents decision-makers and technical support staff with additional layers of complexity. Adopting a set of best practices will help organizations successfully implement a hybrid and multi-vendor computing environment.
The following best practices will assist in the successful management of a multi-cloud environment.
- Use hybrid cloud management tools - Make use of hybrid cloud management tools to address multi-cloud environments. These tools can provide features such as self-service functionality for end users, service aggregation, deployment orchestration, and cost management.
- Optimize costs across vendors - Companies should regularly review the comparative costs of their various vendors and be willing to migrate if a move is dictated by the economics. Cloud service brokers may be able to evaluate resources and suggest ways to optimize spending.
- Focus on disaster recovery and reliability - Recovering a diverse multi-cloud environment in a disaster scenario demands a well-planned and documented strategy. Leveraging cloud vendors may be possible by backing up resources from one to the other.
- Prioritize security and compliance - Ensuring data security and compliance is more challenging in multi-cloud implementations. Identity and access management (IAM) tools are necessary to ensure only authorized users can get to data resources. Customer and vendor roles regarding maintaining regulatory requirements need to be fully understood to avoid gaps and failed audits.
Concentrating on these four areas will help organizations manage their multi-cloud environments.
Using the Right Tools Matters
Commercial and open source software tools are available to assist in the management of multi-cloud environments. These applications focus on big picture items that affect the entire cloud infrastructure and help decision-makers identify the right solution from among the alternatives and keep the complex environment running smoothly.
Morpheus is a commercial product providing integration and automation functionality across multiple clouds and on-premises environments. It is designed to facilitate compliance, cost optimization, and application modernization.
OpenStack is an open source solution that offers a set of software components providing common services for cloud infrastructures. It enables large pools of cloud resources to be managed centrally through dashboards or APIs.
On a more granular scale, dedicated tools can help minimize the strain on technical support teams when systems are spread across multiple on-premises and cloud platforms. A case in point is an application like Idera’s SQL Diagnostic Manager for SQL Server. It employs a unified interface from which to monitor SQL Server performance on physical and virtual machines located on-premises or housed with major cloud vendors.
The potential benefits of multi-cloud environments can outweigh the challenges of dealing with their complexity. Following some basic best practices and deploying the right tools will enable organizations to take advantage of the offerings of multiple cloud vendors without incurring any undue risks.