The Cloud has cemented its place in the enterprise ecosystem as an enabler of business and better organizational outcomes. The spending on Cloud shows no signs of slowing down with the Cloud Computing market expected to be USD 947 billion by 2026!
The pandemic influenced any of the remaining reluctance to move to the Cloud with CIOs moving even mission-critical workloads to the Cloud.
Over the years, Cloud adoption has grown with most organizations now having a multi-cloud strategy in place. Research shows that almost 90% of large enterprises and 76% of midsized companies are already using two or more clouds. By 2023 these figures are expected to stand at 94% and 84% respectively.
Some of the reasons driving multi-cloud adoption have been the freedom from vendor lock-in while leveraging the differentiated cloud services Cloud vendors offer, especially when it comes to security, application migration, application development, and analytics.
But multi-cloud does not come without complexity. This is where cross-cloud comes into the picture.
The challenge with multi-cloud
As the multi-cloud estate increases, it introduces more complexity.
- Each Cloud exists in a silo because each Cloud has a unique offering with proprietary APIs for data management.
- Added to that are unique operational, administrative, and security tools, processes, and taxonomies. All these variables can lead to elevated complexity and risks.
- It also creates friction between Dev and Ops and requires greater specialized skills due to the silo effect.
- In such an environment, developers are more worried about the infrastructure when they write code, implementing zero-trust security becomes a challenge, and monitoring and reducing costs across the Cloud and maintaining ease of Cloud management and deployment is severely compromised.
- Data portability also becomes a challenge for organizations, especially those who use open-source technologies and open data formats. It is incredibly difficult to lift multiple petabytes of data and move them around Clouds.
- Data silos are also a hurdle to cross when it comes to multi-cloud as geography plays a role in creating data silos by region.
All these complexities don’t make multi-cloud or sound efficient or agile, right?
Managing the multi-cloud estate as if it were one cloud becomes imperative to leverage the true potential of cloud technologies. This involves defining a cloud strategy more broadly and moving away from how we approach the cloud where we think the cloud to be a monolith or multi-cloud strategies being a place where multiple clouds exist in silos.
The tangible benefits of a multi-cloud strategy can hardly be realized if data cannot be shared and replicated across clouds and different regions. This is where a cross-cloud strategy comes into play.
A cross-cloud strategy makes sure that data is no longer constrained by the cloud in which it resides and can be moved, shared, or replicated across the clouds.
Cross-cloud enables intercloud interactions and gives organizations to operate all clouds using a ‘single pane of glass’ – an operational abstraction layer that runs overall public, private Clouds, and the existing traditional systems. This is a cloud-agnostic layer that provides a unified data management platform. It ideally sits on top of all the clouds irrespective of the platform. With this cross-cloud compatibility in place, organizations can then easily share, replicate, and move data across Clouds and regions while maintaining compliance and adhering to data-access policies.
A cross-cloud strategy essentially unifies multiple Clouds under one umbrella of functionality. It spans application modernization and management, security, maintenance, and networking. The key objective of cross-cloud is to eliminate complexity and make the Cloud more agile and efficient for enterprise use.
With a cross-cloud strategy in place, enterprises can:
- Give developers the freedom to write apps using frameworks of their choice without worrying about how and where they will be deployed
- Enable operators to migrate or deploy applications to the Cloud that is the ‘best fit’ without waiting to refactor the app to meet the needs of a specific Cloud
- Make security more airtight and easier by establishing uniform policies and applying them to every application
- Help operators monitor the performance, compliance, and spending of all the apps across all clouds
- Conveniently share resources, tools, and data between public and private Cloud environments
- Capably enhance competitiveness by delivering transformational applications faster and eliminating the complexity of the building, running, managing, and securing these apps across clouds
- Facilitate faster, easier, and more secure data sharing across regions and Cloud providers by creating a high-throughput communication mesh that enables complete data portability
Developing cross-cloud capabilities enables secure data transfer while adhering to the rules of data sharing. Enabling this helps organizations leverage “all” data easily and fast to drive improved decision-making. It further enhances and improves disaster recovery and ensures better business continuity using cross-cloud replication. Cross-cloud also ensures data sovereignty and complete data availability and makes sure that if one Cloud provider is down, another provider is employed.
As multi-cloud becomes an organic part of enterprises, looking at developing cross-cloud capabilities is the most logical next step for organizations to get a single source of truth by allowing data to move freely across one or multiple public clouds. As Cloud ecosystems grow, what resides between the clouds is becoming more important than the Cloud themselves. By removing the boundaries without compromising on security between clouds with cross-cloud, enterprises can gain the operational excellence that they desire from multi-cloud.
This article was originally written for https://cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/strategy-and-management/do-you-have-a-cross-cloud-strategy/90282161