March 1, 2017
If this week’s massive AWS cloud outage has you thinking more acutely about multi-cloud strategy, you’re likely not alone.
Roughly 150,000 websites were hobbled Tuesday by an hours-long malfunction involving Amazon’s S3 storage.
Brands affected include Airbnb, Business Insider, Expedia, News Corp, and many other major global companies.
The outage is just the latest talking point for selling managed IT services to cloud customers for whom redundancy of mission-critical applications is essential.
“For MSPs, the multi-cloud era is an augury of new opportunity,” Charles Cooper wrote in a March 2016 article for MSPmentor. “The value-add they bring to the partnership starts with the selection of the right providers.”
“They can also make sure there’s a security focus to the deployments, which may be far-flung and may be complicated due to data sovereignty issues,” he continued. “Lastly, they can bring structure so as to manage deployments in a uniform way and avoid messy situations that introduce a surfeit of complexity into the management stack.”
A multi-cloud strategy – sometimes called blended-cloud – is a type of hybrid-cloud environment that leverages multiple private and/or public cloud setups, involving multiple vendors.
The multi-cloud approach has been soaring in popularity, with the typical enterprise using on average six cloud computing services, evenly split between private and public cloud vendors, according to a February 2016 article in Forbes.
In so doing, organizations can realize a number of advantages.
“A multi-cloud approach can offer not only the hardware, software and infrastructure redundancy necessary to optimize fault tolerance, but it can also steer traffic from different customer bases or partners through the fastest possible parts of the network,” an article in Techtarget said.
“Some clouds are better suited than others for a particular task,” the web post continued. “For example, a certain cloud might handle large numbers of requests per unit time requiring small data transfers on the average, but a different cloud might perform better for smaller numbers of requests per unit time involving large data transfers on the average.”
By mixing and matching workloads with the ideal cloud vendor and best price, organizations can maximize the cost, agility and security benefits of cloud computing.
“Many businesses will build out hybrid IT portfolios that include a combination of on-premises computing and multiple cloud providers with a range of price points, service levels, and support agreements,” Lynn LeBlanc, CEO and founder of cloud management software maker HotLink, told CIO.com.
“A single cloud option may not make sense for every application,” she added. “In fact, the more workloads in the cloud, the higher the likelihood of a multi-vendor cloud environment.”
But deploying, managing and securing an array of cloud resources across multiple vendors also means increased complexity.
“Hybrid management systems, integration, workload portability, automation and skills using various public cloud platforms are all important investments to make early in the cloud deployment process,” LeBlanc said.
Attending to that complexity can mean big opportunities for IT services providers, particularly those with the right tools to automate management and monitor the disparate environments from a single point.
“Managed service providers with expertise in both traditional IT and cloud infrastructures can play a key role,” Cooper wrote in the 2016 MSPmentor piece.
“They can help simplify their clients’ lives by taking charge of the day-to-day cloud computing operations and managing the migration of workloads between the various public and private environments,” he continued. “And as they say in the computer business, the client now has a single throat to choke when something goes wrong.”
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