Multi-cloud management is the wave of the future in cloud computing. It is the process of deploying a mixture of private clouds and public clouds in an organization, to avoid vendor lock-in and exploit the best services available without having to compromise on cost. By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, organizations can choose a cloud provider that is geographically close to them thus improving performance. Multi-cloud adoption also helps organizations manage compliance requirements and improve resilience.

What is multi-cloud management?

Multi-cloud management is the process of tracking, securing, and optimizing a multi-cloud deployment. It presents different challenges than managing one cloud or managing a legacy IT setup. Each public cloud vendor has different features. Each vendor also offers different tools for managing their cloud service, their APIs, and different service-level agreements (SLAs)*. Internal employees may be experienced with one type of public cloud but not with another. In addition, the disparate clouds have to be connected and secured.

*A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract that specifies the services a vendor will provide, and the conditions for providing those services.

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What are the benefits of Multi-Cloud Management?

  • Reduced strain on IT teams: By offering simplified, centralized management, a multi-cloud management solution allows IT teams to more effectively manage applications and workloads across multiple clouds.
  • Visibility: Without multi-cloud management, it’s difficult to monitor workloads and know what’s running where in a complex environment that spans multiple cloud providers. A good multi-cloud management solution offers visibility across the entire multi-cloud environment to enable businesses to reap the benefits of multi-cloud.
  • Security: It’s challenging to keep security policies consistent across cloud providers, and the complexity of multi-cloud can contribute to security holes and an increased attack surface. A managed approach allows IT teams to deal with potential security issues proactively, rather than reactively. In addition, the best multi-cloud management platforms offer features such as security monitoring and automation, plus the ability to enforce security policies across platforms, which significantly reduces the difficulty of keeping your environment secure.
  • Cost management: While many businesses adopt a multi-cloud strategy to take advantage of discounts and cost savings offered by different cloud providers, it’s easy to lose track of costs in the increased complexity of a multi-cloud environment. It helps your business keep track of costs and usage, and some platforms even use intelligent data analysis to optimize cost management.
  • Increased availability: Availability is just one of the many advantages that businesses seek when they pursue a multi-cloud strategy. But to fully realize the benefits of multi-cloud, IT teams need to be able to duplicate and seamlessly migrate workloads when one environment fails. Effective multi-cloud management allows that to happen.

Centralization is key in Multi-Cloud Management

The most common way of reducing complexity in multi-cloud environments is by centralizing management over the entire infrastructure. The idea is to reduce the number of management interfaces across all clouds to one and manage everything from a single pane of glass. Cloud management platforms and similar tools are typically used for this purpose. It’s also crucial to pick multi-cloud ready solutions. One of the most common uses of cloud environments is the deployment of virtual applications and desktops.

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Challenges 

Although multi-cloud management has undeniable benefits, it can be challenging to implement. Here are some of the potential roadblocks to implementing a management solution:

  • Increased complexity: This is the most basic challenge of a multi-cloud approach and one that multi-cloud management is designed to address. Multi-cloud environments are inherently more complex, and it can be difficult to get a handle on that complexity to implement an effective management solution.
  • Integration between different software environments: For effective multi-cloud management, businesses must build applications that can move across environments without integration issues, which is a difficult task considering the differences between each cloud platform. As mentioned before, containers are a new technology designed to circumvent this challenge, providing easier portability between different public cloud providers.

Conclusion

To automate tasks and optimize costs, enterprises need a robust multi-cloud management platform. The rising need for various applications is driving the adoption of these platforms among end-users. With the availability of a comprehensive multi-cloud management platform, enterprises can significantly reduce their dependency on a single provider and utilize the best of cloud services.