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3 Barriers To Multi-Cloud (And How To Avoid Them)

This post originally appeared on Forbes, December 13, 2021.

Avoiding these mistakes are key to unlocking multi-cloud's full benefits.

As IT orgs digitally transform to bring agility, speed and increased innovation to their organizations, they’re increasingly planning around what outcomes they want to achieve as opposed to the systems they need to maintain. As a result, many are adopting multi-cloud approaches that give them access to technology and resources available in the public cloud alongside the tools, processes and infrastructure investments wherever they need, or want, to be—whether that’s in a data center, a private cloud, a colocation facility, or at the edge.

But a multi-cloud approach can come with some trade-offs. Many organizations find it can increase complexity, introduce inconsistencies, and produce siloed IT environments which may undermine the advantages of multi-cloud and create risks.​​ Organizations need to avoid common barriers to not only protect the business but also unlock all that’s possible with an effective multi-cloud strategy.

Here’s a look at three common barriers when organizations begin their multi-cloud journey and how to avoid them as you’re building your strategy.

Barrier #1: Thinking multi-cloud means only public cloud providers

Although it’s not uncommon to think of multi-cloud as a combination of multiple public cloud providers, many organizations are realizing the truth is much broader. When you realize the cloud is an experience you can have anywhere you need to operate, you understand why your multi-cloud strategy can—and should—include environments beyond the public cloud. Adopting multi-cloud approaches that put application development and workloads where each will work best gives you the ability to optimize for the speed, agility and security you need.

Barrier #2: Trying to manage multiple clouds with multiple tool sets

As it turns out, most organizations already use multiple public and private cloud platforms—a full 78 percent say they already leverage multiple cloud providers1. These organizations may already benefit from faster and more agile development, but at the same time may also face added policy enforcement, more complex security strategies, greater compliance documentation, increased cost management challenges and increasingly complex service level maintenance plans. Beyond even those concerns, with multiple platforms to manage, many organizations find themselves needing to manage and operate multiple systems, plus the need to keep the specialized teams that run them up to date.

The key to avoiding this barrier is standardization. By centralizing on a single control plane and tool set, you can reduce complexity and operational burden, so teams only need to learn one tool, then apply it everywhere. By giving teams a consistent management experience everywhere they’re operating—from the data center to the edge to multiple public clouds—organizations can get the most from any environment they choose to run in. Additionally, standardizing on a tool set that teams are already familiar and comfortable with has the added benefit of not requiring further training or operational disruption.

A consistent tool set can also help when it comes to controlling costs. Understanding your cloud usage can be challenging enough when dealing with one public cloud but can become far more complex when operating in multiple public clouds. With a consistent tool set, you can not only take advantage of best-of-breed solutions from public cloud providers, but you also gain better visibility into your overall environment, which helps you better understand what services you’re consuming, and how.

Barrier #3: Not planning for portability up front

Outages, natural disasters, bad actors or just plain old user error—these types of unforeseen events become all the riskier as organizations rely more on the public cloud. In fact, recent outages underscore just how much a purely public cloud strategy is not immune from single points of failure. A disaster recovery strategy built on multi-cloud with redundancy and portability in mind allows you to reduce this risk. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to run applications and workloads wherever it makes the most sense for your organization, which includes building redundancy and portability into your operations. In today’s climate, protecting against single points of failure has never been more important to the health of an organization. Although the right risk reduction strategy is unique to every organization, in nearly every scenario a multi-cloud approach can help.  

Portability has an additional benefit for many organizations: protecting against vendor lock-in. While some have found it easy to move their data to the public cloud, many have found it challenging to migrate to another public cloud or repatriate back on premises or to a colocation facility. Architecting with an eye towards portability—and working with a vendor with no vested interest in which public cloud, or clouds, you choose—gives organizations the power to move workloads on their terms.

Multi-cloud done right means avoiding barriers to get the best of multiple clouds

As organizations increasingly build to a multi-cloud reality, they need to avoid common challenges that can hamper the full benefits that a multi-cloud strategy has to offer. By thinking of the cloud as an experience to strive for everywhere they operate, standardizing on a consistent, familiar tool set and avoiding single points of failure, organizations can make the most of a multi-faceted environment while reducing risk and complexity. For organizations looking to implement these recommendations, we recommend taking a look at Dell Technologies’ APEX portfolio, which provides consistent infrastructure and operations across cloud environments, spanning private infrastructure and the public clouds, as well as thousands of cloud partners. Here’s where you can learn more about Dell Technologies APEX.

As a Dell Technologies partner, we are well-positioned to assist you to unlock multi-cloud’s full benefits for your company. Contact us today.

About InfoSystems

For over 25 years, InfoSystems has provided reliable IT solutions to build and maintain strong and secure systems for both SMB and enterprise organizations. Headquartered in Chattanooga, TN, our trusted team of experts specialize in traditional infrastructure, IT optimization and cybersecurity services, as well as next gen solutions such as hybrid cloud and automation, from partners such as IBM, Red Hat, Dell Technologies, Microsoft and VMware.

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