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September 22, 2017

IDC: Multi-cloud the future but you’re all doing it wrong

Managing all those clouds is a tricky business and many aren't doing it right.

By James Nunns

As cloud computing technology is increasingly adopted throughout organisations the nature of these environments becomes more complex.

Businesses in Europe (one in four) are now operating tiered applications spread across on and off-premise environments, and while this shouldn’t really be a problem, the vast majority aren’t making the necessary technology and process adjustments to make this a long-term viable solution.

That’s according to IDC which found that the most typical environment that spans across clouds is front-end applications hosted on a public cloud, connected to back-end systems located on-premises, this approach is used by 31%.

Bursting was used by 8% and 40% segregate on versus off-premises environments, whilst 20% said they only run applications on-premises.

“Connecting cloud environments with ad hoc bridges in a hybrid fashion won’t be enough in 2018. Nor will standardizing on one external provider, at least for large or innovative companies. Developers and line of business require ‘best of breed,’ and the purchasing department wants to avoid being locked in,” said Giorgio Nebuloni, research director, IDC European Infrastructure Group.

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The report also found that only 20% of line-of-business representatives believe that standardising on one or two large cloud providers (across IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS), compared to more than 30% among IT respondents.

Simply put, multi-cloud is becoming an increasingly popular method for operating cloud environments, however, using cloud services from multiple different vendors can create issues.

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Nebuloni said: “Digital innovators such as ING Bank and Siemens want to consume cloud content from several cloud locations while maintaining maximum flexibility. This gives incredible freedom to users, but it creates challenges for CIOs. We believe a multicloud strategy based on hiring staff with negotiation skills, expanding investments in automation software, and revising cross-country connectivity options is a must for IT departments supporting innovative organizations.”

multi-cloudThis isn’t a new issue, but it’s unsurprisingly becoming a greater concern now that more organisations are deploying this approach. There’s a lot of very good cloud services on offer and a lot of good vendors that have strengths in different areas – it’s only natural to cherry pick – but it does create a significant management issue.

Ron Vermeulen, Manager, Cloud Solutions, COMPAREX, said: “As IDC’s figures show, there is a massive shift towards multi- and hybrid-cloud installations, with many organisations consuming cloud services from several vendors at a time. This is a significant management issue – the typical enterprise’s IT infrastructure has become vastly more complex, and CIOs are juggling service providers with numerous different SLAs and T&Cs.

“With multiple clouds, many IT teams have essentially relinquished control over support and maintenance, for instance, and performance can suffer as a result. The cloud ‘stack’ no longer just encompasses SaaS, IaaS and PaaS services, but can be made up of many interlocking layers. Organisations must consider adding their own overarching, sophisticated management layer to ensure they retain the control and visibility that is key to ensuring seamless performance and round the clock availability.”

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