Digital transformation is not alien to organizations today. Each implement deployed at work has some connection to the digital world – whether it be an employee app, an enterprise solution, or a customer-centric management tool. In the past couple of years, however, this paradigm shift has been quite accelerated, if you believe these numbers discovered by the International Data Corporation (IDC):
- The direct investment in digital transformation is growing at a CAGR of 18%, for the forecast period between 2020-23
- With the investment in transforming into a digital-at-scale organization, companies are expected to invest in upwards of $7 trillion by 2023 collectively in building on existing strategies
These numbers are a straw in the wind: as organizations grow increasingly dependent on Cloud, the entire ecosystem is set to evolve on its own axis. Companies have already begun to explore the conveniences vested in deploying multi-cloud setups (even as a measure of avoiding vendor lock-ins). Putting it in words of Brian Reynolds, Principal, Digital and Cloud Solutions at Grant Thornton LLP, “Using multiple cloud computing services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service in a single heterogeneous architecture offers the ability to reduce dependence on any single vendor”.
Additionally, multi-cloud setups impart resilience to organizations and prepare them better for disaster recovery. With that said, operations and workflows hovering around multiple cloud setups have the potential to become immeasurably jumbled up if not managed right. A few tips are in order to help engineer a multi-cloud environment the way it ideally needs to run.
What is Multi-Cloud Orchestration?
A multi-cloud environment involves the distribution of business processes, workflows, applications, and activities of an organization over multiple clouds. This heterogeneous construct helps keep the costs low; however, from it stems the challenge of managing (and keeping track of) everything adeptly. Accenture reports that an entirety of 75% of the organizations it surveyed that were using multi-cloud setups, admitted that managing it was a concern. Furthermore, it also found that it was only the companies, that had high adoption of multi-cloud, that were able to utilize its capacity to the max.
Multi-cloud orchestration, thus, refers to the managerial aspect of choreographing the tasks, processes, workflows, applications, etc., that flow through each cloud such that every exchange remains sorted, and the organization is able to derive maximum benefit from the multi-cloud setup.
Multi-cloud orchestration involves virtual supervision of various activities:
- Load balancing, deployment of infrastructure, patching, network status, etc. in workload operations
- Governance-related activities like data access management, identities, and profiles, managing capacities, compliance, and finance
The implement that performs these tasks is known as a multi-cloud orchestrator. Leveraging automation capabilities, the full log of tasks performed can be accessed on command. The implementation is easily integrable with the incumbent Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) arm of an organization.
5 Essential Tips to Get Multi-Cloud Orchestration Right
Multi-cloud orchestration needs a set of best practices in order to utilize the cloud setup in the best way possible. A successful multi-cloud orchestration program runs on the most fundamental principles that can be fine tuned and polished to suit the requirement. Let’s see what these are.
Due Diligence is Important
Moving to Cloud involves new nature of risks and problems that hadn’t existed in the business workflows before. A wireframe is needed that works as a guide in outlining the adoption framework and governance procedures to streamline the entire move:
- Determining the needs of the organization and setting goals to be achieved from cloud migration
- Selection of vendors/cloud service providers
- Employee education on cloud adoption and usage
- Entities to be migrated
- Decommissioning of services (that won’t be needed with multi-cloud)
- Data security
- Deployment plan and duration
Rejigging Existing IT
Multi-cloud orchestration needs to be a department of its own, with its own niche professionals handling task delegation, expansion and security of multi-cloud workloads, etc. A traditional setup of the IT department may need to be repurposed or completely overhauled to accommodate the new technology on board. The organization may need to hire a new brain muscle in the form of automation engineers, cloud architects, and process engineers that are skilled in executing multi-cloud orchestration.
Skill development and trainings may also need to be undertaken for the existing team members in the IT department to ensure flexibility.
Planning Keeps and Tosses
Every organization works with its own set of enterprise solutions, applications, and the whole shebang, even if there are no clouds involved. Migrating to a multi-cloud setup brings its own set of technologies, software, and tools that may become redundant given the incumbents. It, therefore, is important to do a thorough stock-check of the existing technologies that are still serving the organization well.
An in-depth assessment is in order that analyses the comparative utility between the existing solutions and the multi-cloud offerings. Based on the results, there may be a need to decommission some implements.
Latency becomes an issue when deploying a multi-cloud setup as some disconnect is bound to occur across systems. To ensure the setup performs optimally, integrability between systems is imperative to make the data and command flow seamless and well-stitched together. It all boils down to selecting the right application programming interfaces that bridge the divide and let the scattered clouds come together for task execution.
Data Governance and Security
Different clouds mean scattered assets. While that does help organizations be resilient, the security of data takes a hit; there is a strong need to strictly govern user profiles, identification, and data access. Authenticating all the users in a multi-cloud setup works well to ensure only authorized individuals access the data and functionalities.
Additionally, a standard security protocol needs to be homogenized across all clouds, for the sake of robust simplicity.
Multi-cloud setups provide immense benefits in the form of cost savings, better infrastructure, customizability, needs-based subscriptions, etc. The key lies in managing the entire ecosystem as a fully functional machine with its own rules, engineers, and methods.
Srushti Vachhrajani is an ambitious, passionate and out of the box thinking woman having vast exposure in Digital Marketing. Her key focus is to serve her clients with the latest innovation in her field leading to fast and effective results. Working beyond expectations and delivering the best possible results is her professional motto. Other than work, she loves traveling, exploring new things and spending quality time with family. Reach out to Srushti on Twitter or LinkedIn.