The Critical Success Factors to Reining in Multi-Cloud Complexity

Veritas Perspectives September 06, 2021

Multi-cloud adoption has been gaining a lot of momentum lately. The global pandemic sped up multi-cloud adoption, as companies found that the flexibility of putting the right workloads in the right environment (public cloud, private cloud, virtual) helped maximize their performance as they supported a remote workforce. Then in July, the Pentagon announced that it would end its Microsoft-exclusive Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract and work with multiple cloud vendors to provide its IT infrastructure.

For companies far along their multi-cloud adoption journey, this announcement validates their decision to not rely on a single cloud provider but mix and match public and private cloud solutions to meet their SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS needs.

But the Pentagon’s decision also comes with a warning: along with the freedom of more flexibility comes the need to navigate tricky challenges around interoperability and complexity. Organizations that have significant “technical debt” in their legacy, on-premises IT systems have difficulties migrating their workloads to the public cloud and ensuring their cloud-based data is protected and recoverable and that their containerized applications can be accessed will perform across multiple clouds.

Some enterprises with more established multi-cloud footprints have retired some of their legacy infrastructure, and their challenges aren’t the same as the Pentagon’s.

But Veritas’ 2020 Ransomware Resiliency Report essentially found that the more cloud services enterprises have in their infrastructure and the more complexity, the less capable they were of being able to restore mission-critical data in the event of a ransomware attack. Enterprises accept that increased complexity is part of the bargain with multi-cloud. The trick is reining in that complexity so that you can protect and restore 100 percent of your data.

Here are three critical success factors for minimizing IT complexity with multi-cloud:

  • Application performance. An application may be technically running, but it may have performance issues that could lead to data loss or service interruption. By verifying that an application is running at peak performance, you can do more recovery testing to get insights about how recoverable that application is following a disaster.
  • Data protection at scale. Enterprises that have disparate storage solutions across client/server, virtual, cloud, and serverless should ensure that they have robust enough backup and recovery solutions across their environments, so that they’re not at risk of permanent loss of data or a compliance violation, should they be hit with a successful ransomware attack.
  • Data visibility. IT should be able to gain effective insight and classify their data across on-premises, virtual, and cloud environments. As Dr. Sally Eaves, Emergent Technology CTO, keynote speaker, and author, pointed out on a recent Veritas L!VE episode: “A lot of organizations are wanting more data, but maybe they don’t have everything set up to be able to get those insights, get the value of data that they want to achieve.” The biggest challenges are a lack of integration between IT and OT, culture, processes, skills, and values alignment.

Enterprises can achieve each of these critical success factors with abstraction. Abstraction is an approach that allows you to see what you need to see and essentially hides everything else. It abstracts away the complexities that inevitably come with multi-cloud, allowing IT to focus on outcomes. This includes understanding whether applications are running and performing as expected and whether your data is protected and recoverable no matter where it’s stored and backed up. It allows you to visualize all of your unstructured data, whether it’s on-premises or in the cloud, and classify it so that you can minimize the risks of compliance violations. It also allows you to better plan for storage capacity, both on-premises and in the cloud, so that you can avoid overpaying for cloud services.

The Pentagon’s multi-cloud strategy will be closely watched. Its decision further confirms that the benefits of using a single cloud vendor are dwindling and that the advantages of a well-planned multi-cloud approach are too compelling, especially for organizations that can keep complexity to a minimum.

Anthony Cusimano
Sr Mgr, Product Marketing CMO
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