IT Focus Area: Data Center
July 16, 2018
Simplify the Complex: Your Guide to the Multi-Cloud Data Management Challenge
A multi-cloud strategy refers to how you might deploy and/or manage several cloud services and platforms based on your particular business and technology needs. Typically, it also means having multiple vendors in your cloud environment, which has innate complexities.
It’s important to consider your business needs and your vendor options carefully so that you can plan a successful multi-cloud strategy and gain a competitive advantage.
There are three popular business reasons for investing in multiple cloud platforms: The ability to use best-of-breed services that fit your particular needs, the freedom to choose the best fitting vendor teams, and the insurance against cloud failure.
Proven benefits of implementing a multi-cloud strategy include:
- Reducing downtime
- Increasing flexibility and efficiency
- Lowering costs
- Simplifying migration options
- Ensuring resiliency in systems
- Avoiding vendor lock-in
Many organizations consider these benefits, but are still concerned about the complexity of managing data on multiple clouds. So, how should organizations weigh the benefits of multi-cloud migration against the challenges of data management?
Multi-Cloud Strategy Can Protect Your Most Important Assets
Avoiding failure is one of the strongest business cases for moving to a multi-cloud platform. Data is a business’s most important asset and protecting it is absolutely imperative. Organizations often struggle wondering if their data is protected appropriately, whether it can or should be deleted, and how to ensure they’re using the most cost-effective options. A multi-cloud strategy for data backup can help combat these concerns.
Multiple cloud platforms means never having a complete data loss. If your data is backed up over multiple clouds―public, private, hybrid―if one platform has an outage, the others will efficiently run your workloads and protect your data. Using multi-cloud solutions provides the most flexibility, allowing data to be tiered to the proper location for the most cost-efficient storage types. It’s also possible to leverage lower tiers of storage for archive/backup and policy driven storage solutions to effectively tier the data to the proper location, or delete the data if it doesn’t meet business needs.
With established data security and data management challenges already top of mind, developing a comprehensive multi-cloud strategy becomes even more complex with new and exciting cloud services constantly evolving. With cutting-edge solutions related to analytics, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IOT), the temptation to accelerate the migration of these and other data sources to the cloud can be overwhelming.
Simplifying Data Management Complexity
So, there are obvious data management benefits with a multi-cloud strategy, but how can you simplify the added complexity? Here are five areas to focus on to help you solve data-management complexity with a multi-cloud strategy:
- Data Visibility and Protection: Multi-cloud platforms make accessing and leveraging both existing and new data very simple. But protecting it without wasting time and resources requires a deep understanding and complete picture of that data. Data Intelligence brings to the forefront the usefulness of the data that needs to be protected or archived. Identifying data that has business value versus data that provides none has been one of the leading difficulties facing most corporations as the ever increasing cost of storage grows. Some studies have shown that 85 percent of data is considered to be redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT) data.
- Storage Optimization: Hardware-based storage management can fail when the cloud infrastructure is removed, which can then increase costs. By utilizing software-defined storage capabilities to extend storage tiers to various clouds, you’ll improve performance, lower risks, and ensure cost effectiveness.
- Data Regulation/Compliance: With an increasingly sensitive legal and regulatory digital landscape, organizations are facing more obligations to comply with quickly changing data regulations. These increased rules and requirements can make a simple request for information a time consuming and sensitive task. Implement information governance capabilities to provide functionality to consistently meet data retention and compliance obligations so that data management regulations aren’t a barrier to your cloud-strategy.
- Migration Enablement: A successful multi-cloud strategy means that you should be able to easily and quickly migrate data and workloads from not only one platform to another, but also within various cloud zones and regions. Enabling optimal migrations maximizes reliability and flexibility, without increasing storage costs. And with the right help, you can enable seamless migration, while avoiding cloud provider lock-in.
- Disaster Recovery: A multi-cloud strategy can help ensure you have fast, one-click recoveries in the event of disasters or site emergencies, and have an easy way to rehearse recovery scenarios without disrupting your production environment. Non-disruptive recovery testing and visibility into the health of your system is key so that you’re confident in recovering data, while meeting business continuity compliance regulations.
Three Commons Mistakes to Avoid
In the excitement to start reaping the benefits, there are common mistakes that enterprises make by jumping into a multi-cloud strategy too quickly.
Here are three things to avoid:
- Don’t jump into a multi-cloud strategy before you thoroughly understand a single cloud strategy. Do not overestimate your expertise. Make sure that your teams can implement and manage a single cloud source before moving forward with a multi-cloud strategy.
- Don’t make assumptions. Do not assume that you’ll see every benefit of a multi-cloud strategy in the very beginning. It may take time to see cost savings and increases in efficiency. And, don’t assume that evidence of some benefits means evidence of others. You may find obvious resiliency and efficiency improvements, but you can’t assume it means cost savings as well. Having a real understanding of the milestones you’ve achieved will help you tweak and evolve your strategy over time.
- Don’t overestimate security. Make security oversight and processes a priority. Do not assume that by going with a different or second cloud vendor that the same level of security you’re used to will be built in.
Making the Leap
A multi-cloud strategy will help to avoid vendor lock-in, increase reliability and help protect your data.Before you take the leap to multi-cloud, spend time considering the business needs in these five aspects of your cloud strategy:
- Data visibility and protection
- Storage optimization
- Data regulation/compliance
- Migration enablement
- Disaster recovery
If it sounds daunting to consider the various aspects and avoid common mistakes, consider working with a trusted partner that can help you address migration concerns and avoid the common pitfalls.