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Overcoming the Top 10 Multicloud Challenges

  Greg LaBrie     Dec 13, 2018

multicloud-challengesLast week, we published the first blog in this series, titled, “What’s Your Multicloud Strategy?” We looked into key terminology surrounding the topic and then explored multicloud strategy benefits. Some of the benefits discussed included:

  • Enterprise-grade features
  • Easy mobility
  • Global visibility

In this post, we will look into and discuss the top ten multicloud challenges and misconceptions. These misconceptions are:

  1. Risk of data loss
  2. No enterprise-grade support
  3. Data gravity increases in the cloud
  4. Cloud services create vendor lock-in
  5. Cloud storage will never be secure enough
  6. Backup and recovery options will be limited
  7. Surprise fees will blow up the business case
  8. The “black box penalty” will increase costs
  9. You’ll need separate tools and processes to take advantage of analytics and automation
  10. “Cloud-first” and “all-in-cloud” strategies are best


Top Ten Multicloud Misconceptions

  1. Risk of data loss. It is a common misconception that clouds increase the risk of data loss. There are some risks associated with not backing up data, particularly when using cloud-based block storage. This belief commonly leads to discussions surrounding multicloud because it is also a cloud-based offering. Fortunately, the reality is that multicloud services can bring enterprise-grade reliability and data protection to the public cloud and deliver measured, proven data durability that is millions of times higher than cloud-native block storage.
  1. No enterprise-grade support. Another common misconception with multicloud is that vendors won’t offer enterprise grade support. Cloud strategies can create confusion about what is the responsibility of the customer versus the provider. This can lead to concerns about gaps in maintaining all elements of a cloud strategy. Fortunately, multicloud service providers currently have the expertise, know how, and capabilities to offer around the clock support, including enterprise-grade support.
  1. Data gravity increases in the cloud. According to HPE, data gravity is the idea that as workloads scale, data is a harder and harder component of a workload to move. Thinking about moving data through an infrastructure that consists of multiple clouds with multiple providers sounds even more complicated, but the reality is that a single multicloud storage repository can interact with any other system or infrastructure assigned to it. This makes for easy mobility and access to all data.
  1. Cloud services create vendor lock-in. Many organizations feel locked into their current cloud provider because of the time and cost commitments it would take to transition to another strategy. While this is true to some extent, it can all be avoided with proper planning and assistance from an IT consulting technology partner. Take advantage of the resources out there that have it in their best interests to keep their clients’ IT strategies nimble and flexible.
  1. Cloud storage will never be secure enough. A downside of being an organization with heightened security measures using public clouds is that the cloud providers control the security protocols of the data it hosts. This was one of the biggest hesitations for organizations when cloud computing first began. It is important to understand, however, that these organizations are responsible for the data of many organizations and a data breach could potentially put the provider out of business. They have the experience and means to keep their clients’ data safe. If this isn’t convincing enough, adding an on-premises private cloud to your multicloud strategy is also a solution. This keeps control at the hands of the organization.
  1. Backup and recovery options will be limited. A financial concern is the price of paying for every gigabyte of data being stored on a public cloud and the cost of accessing it or backing it up. A timely concern is the speed and ease at which accessing this information is possible. While this may be true to some extent for cloud offerings, multicloud services take this into consideration. Multicloud storage offerings adhere to and enable proper use of the best practice “3-2-1” rule for hybrid IT data protection. This backup and disaster recovery rule suggests that it is best practice to keep three copies of an enterprise’s data, two on site and one off-site. Cloud capabilities makes this best practice easy to utilize. The automated storage tiering in multicloud can also reduce total costs.
  1. Surprise fees will blow up the business case. There are many different factors that go into a final cost of utilizing cloud storage services. Many organizations think some capabilities are free that aren’t. This leads to not following best practices and as a result, seeing huge bills that make them think cloud was a bad investment. The root cause of these awful surprises is poor monitoring and tracking tools, as well as a lack of knowledge of best practices on cloud use. Multicloud services can track current usage, estimate future usage, charge only for the resources used, and provide features that help minimize the bill (such as charging only for newly changed data rather than full copies) compared to cloud-native storage. 
  1. The “black box penalty” will increase costs. We already addressed that cloud providers control the security measures implemented. In many cases, there is no visibility into what is going on in the background of a cloud environment, potentially creating security vulnerabilities. This leads organizations to purchase additional third-party solutions to gain that leverage and visibility. Unfortunately, that adds costs that originally were not planned for. Fortunately, this is all another misconception for multicloud offerings. Working with multicloud storage providers provides free access to visibility tools and monitoring capabilities. All of those concerns are a thing of the past with the proper multicloud storage strategy in place.
  1. Analytics and automation not included. Some cloud offerings require separate tools and processes to be able to take advantage of analytics and automation. The very nature and primary motivator for cloud computing involves automation and agility. If you do your initial research, it is possible to find multicloud offerings specifically designed to take advantage of analytics and intelligent automation using existing tools and processes. Some providers even offer predictive analytics capabilities that work to further optimize operations and cost savings.
  1. “Cloud-first” and “all-in-cloud” strategies are best. This is another common misconception. Cloud is the space that enterprises are finding opportunity to truly modernize IT capabilities. With that being said, this doesn’t suggest that enterprises should up and move everything to the cloud overnight. Cloud needs to become a part of an organization’s IT strategy, meaning it needs to be prepared for and on boarded like one. It is unrealistic to think that an organizations can go from no cloud capabilities to all cloud computing, but it is possible to offload a few workloads to a cloud environment. After understanding how it works and growing in comfort and confidence with monitoring and operating within a cloud environment, more data can be moved over to clouds. Overtime, more clouds may be utilized, reaching a full multicloud strategy. This idea of starting slow with cloud and balancing between traditional practices and cloud usage is nothing we are making up. It is the very premise that defines Hybrid IT.

Now what?

We went through ten of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding multicloud storage strategies. In order to move forward, it is best practice to talk to an IT consulting technology partner that can answer questions and guide your enterprise through the process. Some questions to consider asking include:

  1. Is IT ready for multicloud?
  2. How much will people have to learn to succeed with multicloud?
  3. How solid is the business case surrounding multicloud from a financial perspective?

Starting slow and proceeding with caution is and forever will be an IT best practice, especially when dealing with unfamiliar technologies. That take it slow hybrid IT approach discussed within misconception ten is the smartest step towards digital transformation. Start slow with cloud and gradually move more and more workloads to cloud spaces, while still leveraging on premise solutions.

Next Steps: Prepare for all that Hybrid IT has to offer by downloading our white paper, “Overcoming the Challenges of Implementing a Hybrid IT Model.”


Tags  Cloud computing technology partner multicloud

Greg LaBrie

Written by Greg LaBrie

Greg LaBrie has more than 20 years of network architecture and engineering experience designing networks that exceed technical requirements, improve operational proficiency and reduce total costs of ownership. Greg holds a number of technical certifications for HPE, Cisco, Fortinet, and much more.

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