What Is Multi-Cloud Management and What Does It Entail?

Multi-cloud management is the wave of the future in cloud computing. RightScale’s annual State of the Cloud Report states that 92 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy.

Multi-cloud management is the process of deploying a mixture of private and public clouds in an organization, to avoid vendor lock-in and exploit the best services available without having to compromise on cost.

By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, organizations can choose a cloud provider that is geographically close to them thus improving performance. Multi-cloud adoption also helps organizations manage compliance requirements and improve resilience.

What is Multi-Cloud Management?

Multi-cloud management is the ability to manage cloud-based services across multiple vendors from a single, centralized environment. A multi-cloud management solution should create consistent workflows that help to manage the organization’s infrastructure provisioning across many public cloud vendors. It should also provide the visibility necessary to create seamless connectivity and security between components.

Some features of well-thought-out multi-cloud management include:

Self-Service Provisioning

Users can choose which cloud computing environment to deploy depending on their requirements with minimal intervention from the cloud vendor.

Scheduled Tasks

Users can plan and undertake their tasks at different defined intervals.

Workflow Automation

Users can take actionable steps necessary for creating and managing computing instances without the need for human intervention.

Reporting Features

Users should access multiple reports from a single, centralized interface.

Challenges of Multi-Cloud Management

Should you have a multi-cloud infrastructure consisting of, for example, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and an on-premises cloud, you may face many challenges, including:

Increased Complexity

Multi-cloud environments are inherently more complex. Implementing an effective management solution can prove to be difficult.

Integration between Different Software Environments

Each cloud platform in a multi-cloud environment has differences in its services. Businesses must ensure their applications are built cross-platform without any integration issues. However, this task can be daunting. To combat this, technologies such as containers need to be used for easier portability between different cloud providers.

Shortage of skilled IT professionals

The cloud computing industry is fast-paced, complex, and has a tight labor marketplace. As such, it is not easy to find IT professionals who have multi-cloud skills to manage AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and on-premises cloud.

Lack of automation

To manage your infrastructure, you have to shift between AWS, Azure, and GCP continually. Since each provider has different procedures and interfaces for provisioning resources, monitoring consumption costs, and integrating systems, you’ll find it difficult to orchestrate and manage workloads.

Spiraling costs

Managing multi-clouds can become costly in instances where users fail to decommission unused cloud services or instances. This process is commonly known as cloud sprawl. Under such environments, the associated costs for each service spin out of control.

Compliance standards

Compliance standards are necessary for organizations, regardless of which cloud services they are implementing. As an organization, you need to define standards for the services you’ll be consuming from the cloud provider. Choosing an appropriate configuration for an infrastructure that optimizes resources while securing data may be challenging

Application Development and Delivery

When you deploy apps in a multi-cloud environment, you’re likely to be faced with cloud-specific adaptions of apps and reconfiguration issues. Moving such applications between multiple clouds requires significant work, and in some cases, runs differently, leading to inefficiencies.

Benefits of Multi-Cloud Management

Some benefits of multi-cloud infrastructure include:

Security

One of the biggest challenges in cloud providers is to keep security policies consistent. Moreover, the complexity of multi-cloud can result in security flaws with an increased possibility for attacks. Fortunately, multi-cloud management platforms all offer features such as security monitoring and automation, as well as security policy enforcement across all platforms. Each of these features greatly reduces the complexity of keeping your environment safe and protected.

No Vendor Lock-In

One of the biggest multi-cloud benefits is that it keeps organizations from being locked into one vendor. A multi-cloud app approach allows businesses to use multiple specialist services instead of relying on one vendor for their software requirements. This enables businesses to deploy the latest solutions and deliver software effectively while working with cutting-edge technology.

Adherence to Compliance Regulations

Data privacy and governance regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), require customer data to be stored in specific locations. Multi-cloud allows organizations to deliver data securely without having to manage their own on-premises data centers.

Enhanced Performance

Organizations can create an IT infrastructure that optimizes application performance and lowers the cost of integrating cloud solutions. By using multiple cloud providers, organizations can create connections that improve response time and user experience. Multi-cloud enables organizations to choose cloud providers based on location, price, and performance requirements.

Increased Resilience

Downtime and outages can occur at any time for cloud providers, which makes it risky for businesses to depend on one vendor alone. A multi-cloud strategy provides businesses with improved security, superior fail-over options, and increased disaster recovery. Data storage resources are, therefore, always available, making cloud deployment more resilient for the long term. It minimizes performance-affecting factors like latency and packet loss.

Improved Flexibility

Data volumes are continually on the rise. Multi-cloud architecture is a great solution for organizations that need to store and process their data.  Organizations can scale their storage requirements up and down according to business demands.

Cost Management

While many firms employ a multi-cloud approach to take advantage of price and cost reductions offered by various cloud providers, the extra variety of a multi-cloud system makes it easier to lose track of expenses. Multi-cloud management aids in cost and use tracking, and some platforms even utilize intelligent data analysis to improve cost management.

The Difference Between Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Management

Combining various clouds is also part of a hybrid cloud deployment. The phrase “hybrid cloud,” although, refers to a mix of two different types of infrastructure. A hybrid cloud is one that mixes public and private clouds, as well as on-premises hardware. Organizations with private clouds and on-premises infrastructure have more control over their cloud servers and security rules.

Key Features to Consider when Choosing a Multi-Cloud Management Platform

Service Monitoring

Across hybrid, private, and public cloud services, a CMP should be capable of measuring and visualize application and network-layer performance. It involves occurrence reporting to determine future service use and dependability, cost metrics, and so on. This is a crucial aspect for a company to learn how to use different cloud services.

Monitoring Analytics

The platform should be able to analyze a cloud’s behavior in considerable detail. Important indicators and forecasts about future behaviors, like performance or dependability, are also important.

Service Provisioning

On-demand cloud services should be launched and allocated by the platform. Furthermore, within a multi-cloud architecture, it’s essential that the tool transforms a provisioning request from an API or the console into the target cloud’s cloud-native API. Users will be able to get the most out of your software as a result of this.

Service Performance

Another important aspect is being able to track service performance and log the information. If a service isn’t working well, it might be banned until the problems are fixed. This can significantly help you in better comprehending how and when to prioritize your services.

Service Orchestration

The capacity to organize a cloud service to fulfill the demands of a critical business application or process. The services necessary to deploy an e-commerce program and a trading application, for example, are very different. As a result, it’s critical to choose a CMP that excels in a certain area.

Service Policy/Governance

The ability to specify and utilize policies for the usage and delivery of a service or set of services. This feature will tell you how well-equipped a cloud service is, as well as which apps are best suited for it. As a result, service governance would be an audit of your multi-cloud environment’s multiple services.’

Integration with Security

The ability to work in tandem with current cloud security infrastructure is a feature of this product. In most circumstances, this will serve as identity and access management management, allowing enterprises to keep track over who has access to the platform’s data.

Centralization is Key in Multi-Cloud Management

The most common way of reducing complexity in multi-cloud environments is by centralizing management over the entire infrastructure. The idea is to reduce the number of management interfaces across all clouds to one and manage everything from a single pane of glass. Cloud management platforms and similar tools are typically used for this purpose. It’s also crucial to pick solutions that are multi-cloud ready. One of the most common uses of cloud environments is the deployment of virtual applications and desktops.

How Parallels RAS Helps with Multi-Cloud Management

An ideal solution for multi-cloud management is Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS). It is a highly centralized, multi-cloud-ready solution for publishing desktops and applications via RDSH, VDI, and Azure Virtual Desktop, making desktops and applications accessible from any device.

Parallels RAS can be deployed on multiple public clouds like AWS and Azure as well as on-premises data centers—and then managed from a single pane of glass. Parallels RAS also simplifies administration considerably by enabling centralized management of users, server-based OS patch management, application updates, virus definition updates, and backups.

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