Three Multi-cloud Management Challenges and Solutions

April 1st, 2021 | Tech

By: David “Mac” McDaniel

Multi-cloud management can bring a wealth of benefits, but it’s not without challenges. Increasingly, companies are using more than one cloud solution for several good reasons. Many are taking a multi-cloud approach, as this has often shown reduced costs and better agility.

In addition, a multi-cloud approach can help you:

  • Avoid cloud vendor lock-in
  • Use features unavailable in your current cloud solution
  • Safeguard for business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Get the flexibility to choose the desired APIs

Before getting started, it’s important to understand some of the common barriers to multi-cloud strategy. Let’s unpack a few of the challenges (and the solutions) to managing multiple clouds.

Challenge: Adapting Applications for Each Cloud

Many companies use several cloud providers for one reason or another, but not all cloud solutions work the same way. When workloads live in different clouds, making them come together can be challenging.

Solution: Implement a Single Pane of Glass with Anthos

To avoid the extra legwork, consider a multi-cloud solution like Google Cloud’s Anthos, which enables workload portability between clouds without having to modify existing applications.

Anthos has four main components that work together to make this possible:

  • Google Kubernetes Engine, or GKE, gives a single “pane-of-glass” view for cluster management across public and on-premises cloud environments, making container management and deployment easier. 
  • Anthos Config Management provides Kubernetes policy and security automation at scale for deployment and management, both on-premises and in the cloud. 
  • Anthos Service Mesh enables fully-managed service meshes for complex microservices architectures, including traffic management, mesh telemetry, and securing service communications.
  • Anthos Migrate enables simultaneous and automatic migration from virtual machine workloads to GKE.

In a 2020 Forrester study, it was found that businesses using Anthos as part of their multi-cloud strategy could achieve up to 4.8X return on investment and a 40 to 55 percent increase in platform operations efficiency.

Challenge: Ensuring Security Across Clouds

Security is another concern around managing data across several clouds, where there are more variables to consider when it comes to deploying workloads. Each cloud provider operates differently, with specific security, privacy, and compliance controls.

Solution: Develop a Data Strategy and Process

This challenge can’t be solved with a single tool. Instead, you’ll need a carefully designed data strategy and process governed by a security team and other company stakeholders. The process will depend on your software’s design complexity. 

Things to consider:

  • The native services available within the clouds that can manage data
  • The channels moving data from one cloud to another, and the visibility and security of those channels
  • If data needs to be batched or encrypted
  • If your team has the time and resources to push large data sets
  • Managing schema migrations across clouds

Challenge: Slowing Development with Too Much Governance

At the same time, beware too much governance can slow progress. Putting too many restrictions and approval processes in your developers’ way can become a barrier to cloud adoption. Whatever your strategy, it needs to be easier than the cloud solution you had before. 

Solution: Find a Balance Between Governance and Agility

The key here is striking a balance between governance and agility. You can develop a framework for your strategy in a few steps:

  1. Define processes (e.g., naming and tagging) and keep them consistent across clouds.
  2. Automate where possible. Many parts of your infrastructure’s compliance protocols are ripe for automation, from the approval process to workload deployment consistencies.
  3. Give your developers the freedom to test different products in a sandbox cloud environment, where data won’t be vulnerable

It’s also worth consulting a cloud managed services provider that can recommend solutions and uncover opportunities to improve your current cloud infrastructure.

A multi-cloud approach can provide the best of both worlds. If you’re using more than one cloud vendor, make sure you’re taking advantage of the range of solutions they offer. One cloud vendor might have the solution for your specific business needs that the other lacks. 

Ready to dive deeper and learn more about the benefits of using a cloud solution or two? Join us at one of our upcoming events, where we dig into all things related to Google Cloud.

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