The main catalyst of any business digital transformation has always been the pursuit of more service capability and better user experiences. Whether it’s integrating new platforms or supporting new applications, expanding networking to boost speed and reduce latency, or driving greater insights through data collection, IT is at the core of much of today’s business operations. Yet, as digital transformations have grown, diversified, and gained momentum in a highly competitive environment, we’ve seen another motivating factor quickly arise: simplicity.
Hybrid and multicloud solutions have been on the up and up as the latest frontier of cloud computing
Now, organizations aren’t just looking for more — they’re looking for more without the actual stress of more. As IT becomes more demanding, teams still need to be able to focus on their core competencies even as they look to drive greater value through technology. Furthermore, organizations need a way to align their increasingly complex systems within a model that works holistically, taking into account all disparate elements and offering greater ease along the way.
Hybrid and multicloud solutions have been on the up and up as the latest frontier of cloud computing — and of digital transformation — not only for their ability to give organizations greater control and agility but for their ability to help a range of benefits and solutions coexist within one framework. One report states that in late 2020, 82 percent of surveyed enterprise respondents stated that they had deployed hybrid clouds in their organization. In that same year, the global hybrid cloud market was valued at $52 billion. That valuation is expected to reach $145 billion in 2026.
Nevertheless, as businesses seek to go from one cloud to multiple, or from no cloud to multiple clouds, the key to reconciling robust capability and simplicity may reside not in the cloud itself but in the partner that gets you there.
In the cloud, is more truly Merrier?
At first glance, it can seem counterintuitive to deploy hybrid or multicloud frameworks in pursuit of simplicity. Why would adding more environments to a framework make things any less complicated? In truth, the advantages gained from diversifying cloud usage come down to enhanced flexibility for IT and the ability to tailor environments to unique workloads — all while being centrally managed.
The initial mass exodus to the cloud was driven by requirements for greater mobility and reliability. Still, those advantages soon gave way to new demands as IT evolved. After deploying their first cloud, organizations that were expanding their IT capabilities quickly found that a single environment became a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for a challenge that was becoming highly individualized. Every cloud and cloud provider offered different advantages and tools, and businesses began to wonder why they should limit themselves to just one cloud environment.
The greatest value-add of a hybrid or multicloud framework is its ability to help businesses grow dynamically
Let’s take, for instance, a business workload that deals with highly sensitive information. In a single cloud framework, this data would be shipped off to the public cloud along with any other information a business generated and managed. However, not all organizations see this as an optimized solution for security-focused needs. Instead, some enterprises would prefer to keep those workloads in the private cloud while allowing other workloads (perhaps those that require a lot of computing power or storage space or can benefit from third-party tools) to live in the public cloud for greater cost efficiency, scalability or mobility.
The greatest value-add of a hybrid or multicloud framework is its ability to help businesses grow dynamically. Digital transformations aren’t hindered by one infrastructure platform, and instead, users can freely flow between multiple types of infrastructure as requirements demand. As needs pivot, the way the data is managed can be quickly adjusted.
This is just scratching the surface of what lies ahead for businesses looking into hybrid and multicloud solutions — but here’s perhaps the most important tip any enterprise can take to heart: These frameworks are not miracle workers. Like any IT deployment, hybrid clouds and multiclouds take careful consideration and ongoing care in order to beget success.
A quick reality check
The hybrid cloud is not one simple product or solution. It cannot be consumed by flipping a switch, signing one contract, or downloading one software element. That is to say that, when considering a hybrid or multicloud model, the decision is not a decision purely of adoption versus non-adoption. It’s more akin to a whole new world of solutions wherein businesses can find and create their own niche — a choose your own adventure-type scenario. The hybrid multicloud, like any digital transformation, should be treated as a living, breathing tool that grows and evolves as the user itself does the same.
Being able to centrally manage diverse environments is key for creating simplicity, but reconciling different platforms can become tricky
The flexible and individual nature of hybrid multiclouds can be a double-edged sword for enterprises. On the one hand, the freedom to architect a solution that is truly curated for one business’s needs creates a lot of advantages — but knowing how to create the right environment is the bottleneck that trips a lot of organizations up. Lost value and opportunity abounds in the cloud if it’s not deployed or managed properly.
For every benefit multiple clouds offer, there is another side to the coin that can give organizations the opposite of what they bargained for. For instance, while allocating workloads across multiple locations can remove the cost of adding servers or maintaining data center equipment, misallocated data can accrue unexpected costs. Interestingly, respondents in the Flexera 2021 State of the Cloud Report estimate organizations waste 30 percent of cloud spend, and optimizing existing cloud spend is the top initiative for a fifth consecutive year.
Standardization for management can also become a pain point. Being able to centrally manage diverse environments is key for creating simplicity, but reconciling different platforms can become tricky. Even the basics of which clouds to use and how to deploy them can become challenges for a rapidly evolving organization — but fortunately, solutions are in place.
How to make it work
As organizations diversify and accelerate their cloud usage, the most important decision they can make comes down to whom they partner with. When digital transformations are growing more complex by the day, achieving simplicity often means leaving the heavy lifting to the experts.
Of course, organizations need to take stock of their needs and goals and understand how their workloads should be shifted across a hybrid or multicloud platform, but a trusted IT partner that knows the ins and outs of deployment and adoption is invaluable. By bringing a partner into the mix, businesses can be free to focus on their core competencies while still easily keeping pace with the progression of IT and cloud adoption, never missing a beat — or missing out on an advantage.