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A multi-cloud approach – what’s in it for me?

Published: February 25th, 2019 By: IT World Canada

OVH

By Michel Paulin, CEO, OVH

Michel Paulin, CEO, OVH

A recent IDG survey reported that 89% of businesses have, or plan to, invest in digital initiatives this year. But despite the buzz around digital transformation, implementing it isn’t always smooth sailing. Introducing new company-wide initiatives can be a daunting prospect for leaders, employees and CIOs alike, but particularly for the latter when it comes to assessing the best cloud for business.

Successful digital transformation isn’t possible without core infrastructure which is fast and offers maximum reliability and flexibility. In today’s environment, public cloud is no longer the go-to solution, and businesses should consider a multi-cloud strategy to cater to their individual needs.

Before exploring benefits and challenges businesses ought to consider what a multi-cloud is and how it differs from hybrid cloud.

Public, private, hybrid and multi – a lesson in cloud

We are living in an era of cloud adoption. A report released by Scalar Decisions Inc. revealed that 73% of Canadian organizations have moved to the cloud and there is room for more to do the same and transition to cloud-based infrastructure.

While multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are closely related, they are not one and the same. Hybrid cloud, as the name implies, is a combination of public and private cloud services. For certain businesses, the model enables organizations to tap into the benefits of the public cloud, while maintaining their own private cloud for sensitive, critical or highly regulated data and applications.

In recent years, the popularity of public and hybrid cloud has signaled that more businesses are seeking off-premise services. That said, hybrid cloud only offers a service, meaning a singular entity. Multi-cloud, on the other hand, is a series of entities that can be brought under centralized management. A multi-cloud strategy is an approach that operates any combination of private, public and hybrid clouds. Therefore, an organization may have multiple public and private clouds, or multiple hybrid clouds, all either connected or not.

Despite the types of cloud environments, one chooses to operate in, its these technological breakthroughs in cloud infrastructure that have allowed companies to ideate and conceive new solutions and services at a faster pace.

Take the Internet of Things phenomenon as an example. The proliferation of wearable devices, smart household appliances and security sensors has only been made possible through developments in multi-cloud infrastructure. But putting global internet trends aside, what are the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy? And what challenges are there to consider when implementing it?

With multi-cloud, the world is your oyster

It’s worth pausing to consider the benefits of hybrid cloud first. Hybrid cloud lets organizations take advantage of the scalability that the public cloud offers. It also lets businesses share resources and migrate between public and private clouds to take advantage of resource costs and network traffic levels which are often in flux.

That said, with multi-cloud, the world becomes your oyster. A multi-cloud approach provides the most comprehensive mix of public and private clouds, and they don’t necessarily need to be integrated, unlike hybrid cloud. Moreover, businesses today don’t have to be locked into one provider. Certain platforms are built on open-source technologies like OpenStack, which are widely supported by a range of cloud service providers and vendors such as OVH. At the very least, opting for an open cloud gives businesses an extra element of flexibility.

From speaking to our customers at OVH, combining on-premise and cloud infrastructure with a multi-cloud strategy has allowed them to connect to networks in a totally isolated and secure way, via numerous points of presence around the world.

What’s more, we’ve noticed how it has allowed organizations to shift to the cloud at their own pace and take a flexible approach – all while responding to their strategic objectives. This means businesses can control and run an application, workload, or data on any cloud (public, private and hybrid) based on their individual technical requirements.

Careful consideration

While there are many benefits of a multi-cloud strategy, naturally with new process come new challenges. Multiple cloud platforms can open a wider range of possible vulnerabilities. Thus, they require extra effort to gain effective security, governance and compliance. Today, however, businesses can take back an element of control and issues can be offset with thorough training for employees on security requirements. For example, organizations can roll out mandatory IT staff training about how to avoid failures in protection and what the reaction to a security breach or data loss should be.

Therefore, successful multi-cloud security requires embracing cloud-based offerings capable of providing continuous verification, analytics, and governance throughout software delivery and operations processes.

Another point to consider when opting for cloud diversity is maintaining control of budget. To ensure maximum efficiency with a multi-cloud strategy, it can be useful to have an internal team that can consolidate data and provide a cost-benefit analysis for the organization. It’s also important to monitor cloud spend and fine tune depending on current and upcoming projects.

Whichever way you cut it, cloud adoption is not a matter of if, but when. As technology continues to advance, cloud infrastructure will become a mandatory requirement for organizations of all sizes to develop and grow. To cater to every organizations’ changing needs, we’re increasingly advocating a multi-cloud approach as the approach that will allow businesses to achieve their digital transformation needs.

OVH is a global hyper-scale cloud provider managing 28 data centres across 4 continents. Active in Canada since 2012, OVH has rolled out business units in Montreal, Beauharnois, and Toronto. With a capacity of 360,000 servers, its Canadian data centre located on the South Shore of Montreal is one of the largest in the world, making it possible for OVH to serve over one million customers worldwide.