Because of the modular nature of the services they provide, multi-cloud environments have been popular for a few years. Vendor lock-in is completely avoided, and systems running on multi-clouds have lower latencies and get more functionality from their subscribed services.
According to a Gartner study, by the end of 2022, 75% of organizations that have invested in IaaS for Clouds will have implemented multi-cloud strategies.
Management of Multiple Clouds
With things as they are, managing multiple applications and services across multiple cloud providers is bound to go wrong. Keeping track of applications running on various Clouds, as well as monitoring ecosystem health, troubleshooting issues, migrations, and so on – all of these things require an automated “Manager.” Multi-cloud management enters the picture at this point.
Good synchronization between business workflows and Cloud usage can be achieved with the use of software/tools that are built to orchestrate high performance from multi-cloud ecosystems. Multi-cloud management systems can ensure a smooth flow of processes between Cloud environments, as well as the coordination of operations between them.
Let’s talk about the challenges of multi-cloud management, some tools that can help you overcome them, best practices to follow, and a few features to look for when choosing a tool.
What is Multi-Cloud Management, and how does it work?
Many people use the term “multi-cloud” interchangeably with “hybrid cloud.” These two setups, on the other hand, could not be more dissimilar. While a hybrid cloud can include any number of cloud components (traditional on-premise servers, virtual servers, or even a public cloud service provider), a multi-cloud typically only includes public cloud servers.
A multi-cloud management system can be defined as a setup that creates homogeneity and consistency in a multi-cloud environment, organizes high volumes of data passing through this system, and distributes it among available servers to prevent overload on a single Cloud. It can be described as a multi-cloud orchestrator that keeps the systems from collapsing.
Another important feature of a multi-cloud management tool is that it provides a single-view interface for all Clouds involved, allowing users to take actions from a single dashboard. A multi-cloud management platform also automates workflows based on protocol, self-IT resource provisioning, and multi-cloud health and status analysis and reporting.
Multi-Cloud Management Challenges
It’s difficult to keep track of things when company data is distributed across multiple clouds in this setup. Other issues arise that, if not addressed, can lead to security flaws or a reduction in operational efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at these issues.
The Financial Aspect
Using more Clouds to run your applications without first conducting a thorough needs analysis leads to overspending. Every Cloud configuration has its own set of characteristics, services, and specialties. If new Clouds are used without properly utilizing existing services, the costs incurred will be wasteful and ineffective.
Tests in Progress
Any web or mobile application should be tested on a regular basis to determine its performance and speed. In a multi-cloud environment, this process may take longer and require more manpower. Managing the performance data generated in this way becomes a time-consuming task, and working with it necessitates more time and effort.
Delays in development and production
Multiple clouds complicate the development and production of multiple applications, whose operations are dispersed across multiple clouds. Managing the production manually is even more time-consuming and requires a great deal of effort to stay on track. In the event of a miss, things could quickly go awry, causing delays.
Sprawl of Clouds
Cloud sprawl, the bane of multi-cloud setups, occurs when services, machines, servers, or workloads are running unnecessarily when they are no longer required. In the midst of so many Clouds running, it’s easy for users to forget to de-commission or deactivate unnecessary services, events, or instances, which could end up on the Cloud bill.
When migrating from legacy networks to a multi-cloud setup, cloud management is likely to hit a brick wall. Maintaining existing data policies and security standards can be difficult enough when migrating to the cloud; adding more clouds necessitates an investment in a system that can monitor everything.
A multi-cloud ecosystem divides a company’s data into distinct components, each of which must be governed separately for compliance, security, governance, and other data-related issues. With the growing volume of data and the number of Clouds in the ecosystem, this becomes more difficult. To ensure that everything remains compliant, a smart management system may be required.
Data Security In a multi-cloud environment, data security can be difficult due to the differences in security protocols used by different Clouds. Additionally, the organization may be responsible for ensuring secure communication between deployed Clouds by fortifying the internal network’s security or employing VPNs.
Consider These Factors When Choosing a Multi-Cloud Management Tool
According to Markets and Markets, the global multi-cloud management platform industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.9 percent between 2017 and 2022. This industry’s market size would increase to $4.5 billion.
Given these circumstances, it’s understandable that businesses would be spoiled for choice when it came to selecting a tool to manage their cloud deployments. Here are a few features to consider as guiding beacons as you navigate through the products available in this industry.
Only if a multi-cloud management tool can respond to user service requests on demand is it useful. Selecting a tool that converts the request from the user’s API into a cloud-native version before logging it in is the best way to get the most out of this feature.
A multi-cloud management platform must be able to track the frequency and duration of service usage on each Cloud, as well as the applications that are hosted on each. This aids in the organization’s understanding of Cloud dependability and budgeting. Services that are no longer required can then be phased out gradually.
A good multi-cloud manager is set up to track key performance indicators for the services a Cloud provides, such as latency and downtime. Reporting these metrics is critical for retaining only the Clouds that perform well and provide the required services at high levels of performance.
Every cloud provider has its own set of policies for managing the data (and services) that enter and exit the ecosystem. A multi-cloud management platform should be able to work with these policies without jeopardizing internal policies or the security of transmitted data.
Finally, the cloud management platform must be able to choreograph workflow in such a way that business operations and processes are catalyzed. It must manage multi-cloud functionality in a way that is conducive to the development and production of various apps. For example, a process that would be appropriate for an e-commerce app would not necessarily be appropriate for a finance app.
Measurement of a system’s performance is a big part of analytics management. A good multi-cloud management software would be able to monitor each Cloud’s performance, analyze key parameters, plot them on charts, and identify performance curves to help the organization better understand the ROI on their investment.
Integrations with Security
Even if new components are added to a system, the intrinsic security structure of the system should not need to change. The cloud management platform must have a plug-and-play mode that allows it to work with the same security protocols as the organization’s current ERP or Cloud.
Management Tools for Multiple Clouds
With so many options and choices on the market, it’s only natural to look at a few of the best performers in 2022. The top 5 multi-cloud management tools for 2022 are listed below.
This tool is an open-source platform for managing multi-cloud environments, as the name implies. The following are some of the software’s most intriguing features:
- Capable of integrating with third-party and incumbent technologies
- Application lifecycles, networking, storage, workload provisioning, and other processes can all be automated.
- It’s possible to manage everything from a single dashboard.
- Its open-source model makes it ideal for managing heterogeneous Cloud environments.
- It is completely free to use
- Can automate a variety of tasks
Because of its ability to manage massive virtual machine networks, Apache CloudStack has gained a lot of traction. Let’s take a look at some of its key features.
- Hybrid clouds are ideal for large-scale system management.
- This cloud manager comes with everything you need to get started.
- Friendly UI with access to CLI and RESTful API
- Highly scalable
- Supports AWS EC2 and S3
- Supports VMWare, Citrix XenServer, and KVM
Middleware makes things as simple as possible by allowing for one-click deployment. Here are a few key characteristics:
- Deploy applications on multiple Clouds across any region
- Support for Microsoft Azure, AWS, GCP
- Native CLI for management
- Modular, customizable, and scalable
- Automation of container management
- One-click deployment/management for public, hybrid and private Clouds
- 99% utilization
This platform is designed with cloud management security, productivity, and cost in mind. Here are a few key features to consider.
- To allow for system agility, it runs on a modular infrastructure.
- Budgeting tools are included to aid in cost control.
- Cost-effectiveness is achieved through the use of standardized deployments and workflow automation.
- A single dashboard with a straightforward user interface
- Encourages integrations to avoid vendor lock-in.
BMC Multi-Cloud Management
This platform is easy to use and allows you to run applications in either a production or a test environment. The following are some of its characteristics:
- Cloud service governance, provisioning, management, and security automation capabilities
- Application deployment in a self-service mode
- Multi-cloud migrations are possible.
- Allows asset mapping and monitoring of hybrid cloud environments
Multi-Cloud Management Best Practices
The best practices outlined below will help you get the most out of your multi-cloud management system.
- Maintaining cost transparency from the start provides a solid foundation for tracking multi-cloud spending. According to an IBM report, about half of executives keep track of cloud costs.
- Customers are satisfied when the ecosystem is kept up to date with the latest offerings – not just for functionality, but also on the consumer side.
- For smoother operations and workflows, creating harmony between Developer Operations and the IT department for managing the multi-cloud environment works wonders.
- In a multi-cloud environment, encouraging the use of self-service modes and tools helps standardize the consumption of services and products.
- Empower IT professionals to use service aggregation to add value to existing multi-cloud environments.
- Integrity is critical for avoiding a dispersed deployment of Cloud-based resources. Maintain consistency across IT sources so that they can all be controlled by the same ERP system.
- In a multi-cloud setup, allowing self-service for tools and functionalities improves system controllability.
- For larger organizations, where data governance across borders can be a problem, comprehensive user management systems are a must. Ascertain that a mechanism governs data access regardless of where it goes.
- It is possible to rapidly develop and test applications in a rapid-development environment where machines are capable of making necessary purchases (software, development environment stacks, libraries, and so on).
- Changing your IT department’s role from a service department to a service facilitator can help your company run more efficiently and gain access to better tools and resources.
The world is rapidly migrating to the cloud, and Cloud has begun to evolve as well. Better systems and mechanisms have now been developed, allowing for unprecedented operational efficiencies, cost-effective services, and flexibility.
Multi-cloud setups aren’t the pinnacle of this revolution, but they are still high-performing systems if properly managed.