Businesses continue to migrate their IT environments to the cloud. An expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 13% is predicted for the cloud computing market. As more companies take advantage of the cloud, the infrastructures they implement are becoming increasingly complex. A vast majority of companies with a cloud presence employ multiple clouds to meet their business objectives.

Organizations can deploy cloud solutions in four different models.

  • A private cloud is developed and controlled directly by an organization, typically a large one.
  • The public cloud is constructed from the offerings of public cloud service providers (CSPs)
  • A hybrid cloud combines components of a private cloud and a public cloud.
  • A multi-cloud environment refers to a company’s use of more than one public cloud vendor to meet its IT requirements.

What’s Behind the Popularity of Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Environments?

Most companies work with a single vendor or CSP when first venturing into the cloud. An organization may start with an SaaS solution that adds new functionality to its IT environment such as a cloud-based collaborative tool to support remote workers. In most cases, they will find that using the cloud in this way is good for the company.

As they begin to enjoy the benefits of cloud computing, it’s quite likely that company decision-makers will look for additional cloud opportunities that make sense from a business perspective. They may look at more expansive IaaS or PaaS solutions. The desired services may be available from the organization’s original cloud vendor, but in many cases, there will be competing offerings from other CSPs. There may also be specific business reasons that eliminate certain types of cloud solutions from consideration.

The following are the most common reasons an organization adopts a hybrid or multi-cloud approach. These two cloud models are different and are not always interchangeable when architecting a company’s optimal infrastructure.

  • Security concerns – Organizations may choose to implement the hybrid cloud model to segregate sensitive data resources and the systems used to process them. The company may use a private cloud for sensitive or regulated data as it provides a heightened level of control over security. Public cloud services can be used for the balance of the company’s IT needs.
  • Increase resiliency – A multi-cloud or hybrid approach provides an organization with greater resiliency. They can choose to run production systems with one CSP and have backup and disaster recovery services with a different vendor for additional protection.
  • Cost optimization – Engaging multiple CSPs in a multi-cloud arrangement may enable companies to obtain cost savings when compared to working with a single vendor. Since cost is always a concern, the ability to save money is seen as being worth the complications introduced by a multi-cloud environment.
  • Vendor-specific offerings – Cloud vendors may offer unique services or products that make them especially attractive to an organization. In some cases, a CSP may introduce cutting-edge technology that directly addresses business objectives. With a multi-cloud or hybrid mindset, a company can take advantage of the best offerings available from any vendor.
  • Avoiding vendor lock-in – Many companies chose not to become overly dependent on one vendor or CSP when opting for a multi-cloud approach. Vendor lock-in, where it becomes extremely hard to migrate to a new solution, can wind up being costly and counterproductive. Maintaining relationships with multiple providers affords a degree of flexibility when implementing additional functionality or reevaluating existing cloud services.

Challenges of Managing Complex Cloud Environments

Multiple challenges face companies managing complex cloud environments. An organization can wind up spending more money than necessary or not satisfying business objectives if the following challenges are not addressed.

  • Increased architectural complexity – Managing complex environments demands a level of organization that is not necessary when dealing with a single vendor. Balancing the responsibilities required to keep multiple clouds running efficiently demands a degree of knowledge and organizational skills that may be lacking in some companies.
  • Interoperability – Interoperability may become a concern when managing a multi-cloud infrastructure. Proper management decisions may be necessary to ensure that data resources can be shared among applications running in different clouds.
  • Disaster recovery planning – A multi-cloud environment poses many challenges related to disaster recovery planning and execution. It is essential to coordinate the recovery methods of multiple CSPs with a company’s recovery point and recovery time objectives.
  • Security and data protection – Multiple cloud instances introduce an expanded attack vector through which hackers can gain entry into an environment. It can be extremely challenging to maintain robust security across diverse clouds without a level of experience that is often lacking in smaller companies. This can put their valuable data resources at risk.
  • Cloud sprawl – Complex cloud environments can lead to cloud sprawl where extraneous or unapproved resources are being paid for by the organization. Without effective management, a company can be paying for duplicate functionality from multiple vendors when they should consolidate and save money.
  • Cost optimization – In addition to addressing cloud sprawl, efficient management can optimize costs in other ways. Periodic usage assessments will enable a company to scale down and eliminate paying for unnecessary and costly resources.

How Managed Services Streamline Complex Cloud Management

A managed service provider (MSP) can be instrumental in enabling an organization to effectively manage and get the maximum value from its cloud infrastructure. While companies of all sizes can benefit from working with an MSP, they are especially helpful for smaller enterprises that may lack the necessary technical resources and cloud skills. As we have pointed out, inefficient cloud management can lead to several issues that affect security, productivity, and a company’s IT budget.

Partnering with VAST IT Services provides a company with a reliable and experienced MSP capable of managing its complex cloud ecosystem. They have the knowledge and experience with all cloud delivery models and major vendors to successfully manage any complex infrastructure. VAST can help your company obtain the maximum value from its IT budget whether you have a private cloud, hybrid cloud, or multi-cloud environment.

Start managing your complex cloud infrastructure more effectively by talking to the experts at VAST IT Services. With VAST at your side, you can stop worrying about managing your cloud environment and concentrate on running and growing your business.