The immense pressure for enterprises to deliver new applications and insights that exploit new business opportunities has been a driving force for digital transformation. This, in turn, has led IT leaders to embrace a multi-cloud strategy—whether that’s deploying a combination of cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure and Google, or extending private data centers to the public cloud—to achieve greater agility, optimized performance and cost savings resulting from deploying workloads across multiple cloud platforms.
However, maintaining multiple cloud platforms and services adds complexity and even confusion to enterprise IT environments already crowded with a range of technologies, applications and processes. While a recent Forrester study shows that enterprises are increasing investments in using multi-cloud strategies for business-critical applications and workloads, the majority of these enterprises also report that they experienced issues with deploying and using multi-cloud environments.
The difficulty in managing IT environments made more complex by multiple cloud services involves three major issues: ignoring the importance of cultural transformation, not addressing the widening skill set gap and implementing a DIY approach to cloud management.
Here are three ways to deal with these challenges, so you don’t end up sabotaging your multi-cloud strategy.
Make Culture Change a Priority
The cultural transformation required to support digital transformation and to fully take advantage of multi-cloud’s power is more than shifting the organizational mindset from capex to opex. It’s also more than picking one or a combination of the big three cloud providers and simply saying, “Let’s do this.” It requires building trust and breaking down the silos of technology knowledge—whether vendor, legacy or emerging technologies—across disparate IT teams to achieve the business goal of speedier application development and faster time to market.
Specifically, this culture change requires better collaboration between teams and arming central IT with up-to-date processes and management platforms that are focused less on managing infrastructures and more on achieving a balance between visibility and resource control, the linchpin for IT, and creativity, the true north for developers. It will have parameters in place for provisioning resources while helping developers get the resources they need—compute, storage, network services and more—as quickly as possible.
Culture change also enables the maturing of DevOps processes toward streamlining and bringing order to the clutter and smooth partnerships with other IT teams, especially security and operations. These include processes to eliminate bottlenecks in workflow, to advance automation and self-service, to consolidate resources and to make security integral to—rather than an afterthought in—the development process.
Invest in Building Expertise in Multi-Cloud and Emerging Technologies
The more cloud environments an organization has, the more skills and tools are needed to be able to deploy and optimize these environments efficiently. Despite increasing commoditization in the industry, there are still differentiators between cloud vendors and their services, and ways to leverage these to align with an organization’s specific needs. To do this, it is crucial to train the internal DevOps team or hire experts in multi-cloud environments and in key technologies for advancing multi-cloud such as containerization, microservices and serverless computing.
Additionally, a cloud management platform that provides self-service IT and enables any user to provision, manage and orchestrate IT resources, will allow both end users and admins more time to focus on getting high-quality work done.
Select a Cloud Management Platform that’s Right for You
Cloud management platforms address the complexity of hybrid and multi-cloud environments by providing a central platform that allows a selection of the clouds and services that best fit an organization’s needs. They also enable IT to connect to any third-party resource, whether that’s VMware on-prem, AWS in the public cloud or container orchestrators such as Kubernetes, to gather the inventory of cloud computing resources and to provision new resources to be used by anyone in the organization from one place. Self-service IT can also be enabled when appropriate.
In addition, by ensuring cloud management platforms are built on a single pane of glass, IT can gain a holistic view of hybrid and multi-cloud environments. It also allows effective monitoring of resource utilization across those environments, thus ensuring that cloud spend is not only reined in but also optimized.
Finally, a cloud management platform should connect both legacy and new technologies within cloud environments. Although the complexity will not go away, it gets easier to manage. Instead of having multiple teams from different departments managing and accessing resources in separate environments, a central team handles complexity with enterprisewide visibility and control.
The way to succeed is to embrace the complexity by configuring it and managing it behind the scenes, so developers and end users consume IT resources from one consistent way, regardless of where it comes from. Leave the complexity to the cloud and IT architects and let your end users and developers get to work.