From hybrid cloud strategy to a multi-cloud environment — managing in a new era

Posted on: August 29, 2018 by Windy Garrett

One size does not fit all. As enterprise customers rearchitect their infrastructure environments, myriad platform choices lead to a bi-modal environment that offers exactly what it’s supposed to - efficiency, flexibility and innovation. But with this increase in options comes the potential for negative consequences; reduced visibility, less functionality and a multitude of never-before experienced management difficulties.

Hybrid cloud has become the default choice of large enterprises, however the definition of hybrid cloud has changed. Not only are more enterprise IT departments embracing private-public could strategies, they also need to ensure their public cloud choices are fit-for-purpose as public could companies increase their portfolio offerings. The industry refers to this as a multi-cloud strategy but I see it as an extension of that hybrid-cloud strategy, and truly just proper vendor alignment. Not all public clouds meet the specific needs of an application, as different players have distinct strengths and weaknesses. This requires a fit-for-purpose decision that needs to be made on the front end of an overall transformation strategy.

Keys to cloud success

There are several key success drivers to implementing a hybrid-cloud/multi-cloud strategy, whatever name you choose to adopt. Provider selection is the most critical, as it allows you to ensure you are maximizing a vendor’s strengths and avoiding the pitfalls associated with their known weaknesses. It also allows for a reduction in vendor lock-in; playing well into a long-term strategy that can be modified with ease as business needs change. Pricing disparity is also a major challenge for a multi-cloud strategy and needs to be managed accordingly to ensure cloud-creep doesn’t unexpectedly increase IT expenses.

Once vendors have been selected, the deployment and delivery of those services can present a resource challenge if not addressed in the planning phases. Training requirements are unique and sometimes arduous, depending on the vendor, and staffing for each workload shift needs to be meticulously planned. Each cloud platform will need a dedicated team of experts to ensure proper implementation. As a result, many larger corporations are investing in multi-cloud Centers of Excellence (COEs) as hubs of expertise that can be drawn on as needs arise.

Going all-in?

While terminology may be interchangeable, hybrid or multi-cloud, both offer organizations an opportunity to provide flexible and efficient business processes that can significantly improve a business’s operational model. Gartner predicts that more than half of global enterprises that have ventured into cloud today will adopt an all-in cloud strategy by 2021. With this increased ecosystem of options, vendors and platforms, it’s imperative to have a solid strategic vision that encompasses a clear understanding of the pros and cons of each. With the increased intricacy of a new era of architecture, management capability that matches the complexity will be needed to ensure proper long-term strategy for growth and flexibility to adjust.

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About Windy Garrett
Vice President, Cloud Partners, Atos North America
Enabling the transformation from legacy IDM to digital transformation market leader, Windy Garrett coaches a strategic partner group focused on the dominant cloud companies. Their goal is to help Atos’ largest clients transform their legacy IT environments to hybrid and multi-cloud estates. Prior to Atos, she led the America’s Solutions Organization at Orange Business Services, where she was responsible for the region’s overall product strategy, solutions sales and architecture teams. With over 24 years of tenure in telecom, Windy has held various leadership roles in sales, marketing and product development. She’s led global sales teams at Level 3 and AT&T, and a product development group at Earthlink. And she published a book used by multiple universities to introduce the executive MBA experience to new cohorts. Windy received her MBA from Georgia Institute of Technology and sits on the Women’s Alumnae Board working to improve access for women in technology fields.

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