Employing a multi-cloud strategy is not as straightforward as it seems for enterprises due to the huge amounts of data and applications involved. Hence, mistakes are common in multi-cloud implementations. What are these mistakes and what can enterprises do to avoid them?
The Growth of the Multi-Cloud
The multi-cloud is now a staple in most enterprise IT infrastructures. This is a result of companies having to ramp up their data access and management processes to scale with rapid market demand.
A study by data analytics firm, Sumo Logic, showed that multi-cloud usage in enterprises grew 50% each year for the past few years. The market is also expected to hit close to $8 billion with an excellent CAGR of 32.1% from 2017 to 2024.
This accelerated growth is justified by several factors. For starters, multi-cloud environments save businesses from locking into one vendor for cloud solutions—a common issue enterprises face when dealing with providers. The great bang for the buck ROI and exceptional performance of multi-cloud implementations are also two major contributors to its success.
The Impacts of Deploying Multi-Cloud Strategies the Wrong Way
Any tech trend that grows as fast as multi-cloud will come with concerning downsides. Enterprises may not have the skills and resources needed to effectively work with multi-cloud. This can impact performance, increase costs, or worse, create security vulnerabilities that can cripple unprepared organizations.
The average company uses 16 SaaS tools at one time. While SaaS applications have built-in security, organizations are still responsible for securing their environments, especially for dependencies. A vulnerability in one application can affect the entire ecosystem without adequate recovery measures in place.
Nominet’s multi-cloud survey respondents said they faced at least one data breach in 2019—50% more than hybrid and single-cloud users. With data breach penalties reaching millions today, enterprises cannot afford to impact their already tight margins by paying unnecessary fines. This is why multi-cloud strategies need to be approached with extra caution.
Below are the five major mistakes to avoid in enterprise multi-cloud strategies.
Going Multi-Cloud Without the Required Competency
Organizations used to single cloud deployments run the risk of failure if they work with the multi-cloud without the required competency. Experience working with SaaS applications is not enough to warrant complete multi-cloud shifts. Enterprises should at least have the right technical expertise, tools and technologies in place.
Development teams will have to revamp their mentality to work efficiently in multi-cloud environments. Other important business units also need to be reworked to accommodate this change. In other words, your company must establish a multi-cloud-focused culture, not treat it as just another new piece of technology.
Invest in training to get team members up to speed with necessary multi-cloud skills. It can be expensive, but the ROI generated from productive employees far outweighs the cost of training. Your recruitment process should also prioritize candidates with proven experience in the field to make onboarding easier.
Work with industry-standard tools to ease development in areas like pipeline automation, CI/CD and monitoring. This reduces the burden of QA while also giving developers peace of mind when working with the multi-cloud due to reduced deployment anxiety. Ultimately, your team should be able to build, test, deploy and monitor code in the cloud with minimal friction.
Not Addressing Cloud Sprawl
Unless you’re locked in, you will be dealing with various providers and technology stacks in your multi-cloud. Your environment may be overloaded with unnecessary assets and dependencies, leading to cloud sprawl, which negatively impacts budgets and performance.
To overcome cloud sprawl, plan your cloud infrastructure meticulously with respect to organizational goals. Only integrate core applications that fit your requirements to a tee. Nice-to-haves eat up valuable resources and can be postponed for later when your multi-cloud is mature.
Rightsize your environment to make planning easier. Rightsizing matches resource allocation to your multi-cloud workload. It’s often automated or offered as a service by cloud providers. Enterprises can cut as much as 40% of operating costs by rightsizing their infrastructure—a huge advantage in today’s fierce markets.
Not Accounting for Complexity
More assets in your environment means more complexity challenges. Scalability, security and resource optimization are the three key areas where enterprises need to pay close attention. Integration will be tough as well since not all providers offer seamless connections with other tools.
Consider working with popular cloud applications if this is the first time your organization has worked with multi-cloud. Bespoke solutions are best implemented in stable environments and when there is a real need.
Another factor to consider is your infrastructure’s load balancing strategy. Which resources have higher priority and which can be sacrificed when demand peaks? Automation is a must-have for load balancing, especially if your environment consists of thousands of assets—as is common in enterprise systems.
Other complexity factors to consider in your multi-cloud strategy are:
- Asset and data visibility.
- Cost management.
- System design.
Paying Too Much for Unused and Underutilized Resources
Multi-cloud is not as cost-effective as expected if you spend too much on unused and underutilized resources. Fifty-two percent of enterprise cloud resources barely reach their optimal usage while cloud waste hit an all-time high of $14 billion last year.
Thankfully, cost optimization is achieved as a side effect of mitigating cloud sprawl and rightsizing. Doing these two things, combined with best practices such as streamlining unused EBS volumes and snapshots, will significantly reduce your costs.
The number of assets in the average multi-cloud environment requires total visibility for your team to navigate through it. Without visibility, developers will have their work disrupted by intricate dependencies and foreign configurations that ruin the productivity of your organization. This can also result in security breaches should a dependency be compromised—how can your team find the root of the problem if they can’t see architecture?
Map out every asset and dependency with mapping tools. By improving visibility, you bolster the security of your multi-cloud while allowing developers to deploy code with confidence when they have a full overview of your ecosystem. Integrate mapping insights with your organization’s technical documentation to further improve results.
Bolster Your Multi-Cloud Today
The easiest way to generate optimal performance from your multi-cloud is to avoid common pitfalls as early as possible. With the tips mentioned above, you can improve scalability, cost and performance without succumbing to complexity challenges.