Data may be the new oil, but it isn’t a consumable. We don’t burn it up as we use it; we make more of it. And more. IDC research predicts that by 2025 — less than 10 years from now — the global data pile will have grown to a trillion gigabytes, ten times what it was in 2016. Not only will there be vast amounts, it will be more critical to sustaining our lives, societies, and essential systems, and more of it will be actively in use. For this and many more reasons — cost, compliance, usability and availability, privacy and security — the modern enterprise needs better data management tools.
The cloud era brought promises of unprecedented flexibility, scalability, and affordability. But in the real world, moving data and applications around is not a Point A to Point B proposition. Complicating factors include proprietary hardware and software, assorted flavors of cloud infrastructure, varying storage needs and types, shifting business requirements, and the inability to accurately predict costs. To keep up with accelerating data growth and emerging technology demands, your enterprise needs universal visibility and interoperability across clouds, tiers, and workloads.
Interoperability is an imperative because companies cannot afford to become imprisoned by a single cloud provider. When faced with the complexity of managing multisite architectures, you may be tempted to try making everything work on one service. This is increasingly impractical; we’ve all seen enough random events to know that operating on a single point of failure is courting disaster. Staying with one provider results in being limited to applications supported by the provider, data locality restricted to available regions, and redesign of entire workflow if another provider needs to be used even for small use-case. You also can’t expect the highest levels of security for mission-critical data and lowest availability latency and cheap bulk storage all in one site, nor do you need all these capabilities for all your applications and data.
Vendor lock-in is a longstanding hazard, but in the cloud era it is akin to voluntarily locking shackles onto your ankles as you get dressed each morning. There are choices, and in those choices lies the full potential of modern data infrastructure. Clearly, most organizations understand this. IDC’s CloudView Survey 2017 found that 56 percent of companies surveyed run more than one type of cloud deployment. Representing a 17 percent increase over the previous year, 87 percent of cloud users had adopted some capabilities for a hybrid cloud strategy. Indeed, given the ever-expanding benefits of public clouds like AWS, Google, and Azure, the ability to deploy across clouds while maintaining visibility and interoperability is critical to staying competitive and agile.
Deploying on multiple clouds is the easy part — providers are happy to take your money and let your data sit around. It’s the strategy component that many organizations need to address, when considering the management resources needed when you’re without a single control pane and automated functionality. To make the best-fit selections, manage them expediently, and maximize business outcomes, enterprises need a unified, overarching layer of control from which to operate, optimize, and oversee their multi-cloud infrastructure.
An ideal cloud-agnostic infrastructure makes data easier to access and more affordable to store long-term by putting different types of data into different clouds for their various benefits and cost structures. Multi-cloud deployments boost business continuity and resilience while enabling DevOps development, optimize the agility of cloud-native applications, and are key to achieving performance and regulatory obligations in a global company.
Traditional data storage systems are not keeping pace with the dynamic demands of distributed applications and cloud deployments. Storage designed with distributed systems in mind makes it possible to quickly provision application specific, policy-based data services.
Orchestration and automation capabilities are essential; the performance, infrastructure, and security needs of most digital businesses are too complex to be managed manually. At the enterprise level, it’s imperative that multi-cloud management include automated orchestration tools for replicating data across multiple sites (data center, private cloud, and public cloud). These capabilities are essential for any enterprise planning a move into the public cloud. Use cases, including analytics, test and development, unstructured data and secondary storage demonstrate the necessity of finding ways to reliably and easily move workloads from cloud to cloud.
If you still need strategic justifications for exploring the potential of multi-cloud for your enterprise compute environment, ponder the future. Data is growing, IoT is set to explode, cloud services require software-define storage, privacy and security threats and regulations bring fresh challenges weekly, and business relationships and requirements are dynamic. Are you prepared, come what may?
To be innovative, ready to strike gold, and smart enough to take on risks, you must understand and leverage your options. You can’t be agile if you’re boxed in on all sides. You might be safe, but you won’t be making any bold moves. Multi-cloud opens the practical possibilities but requires your team to have a handle on the big picture. It’s time to focus on moving past the headaches and fire drills of traditional storage operations and maintenance. Reduce risk, lower costs, and build a more responsive business through unified, streamlined management that empowers your organization to extract all the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy.