In my previous blog post, we discussed why research shows that over 90% of enterprises are embracing a multi-cloud strategy. Simply put, a multi-cloud approach offers significant advantages to organizations seeking to optimize the Three Cs of Cloud: Cost, Capabilities and Compliance. Still, with all the advantages to be gained with a multi-cloud approach, executives should be aware of the downsides.
Here is my take on the top 5 challenges of multi-cloud adoption:
- Management complexity. The more cloud environments your organization uses, the more complex the management task becomes. The problem lies in the diversity among cloud vendors. Each public cloud vendor has its own portal, its own APIs, and its own unique processes for managing its environment. Because there is no standardization across public cloud vendors, multiplying vendors means multiplying the management burden.
- Talent scarcity. The demand for personnel with mastery of managing specific cloud platforms or multi-cloud environments is high, but the supply is scarce. Battling a tight labor market and rapidly changing technology, enterprises often find it difficult to keep the right personnel in-house to manage a multi-cloud environment. In fact, some turn to managed service providers with multi-cloud expertise to fill the gap.
- Cost control. One of the advantages of multi-cloud is the ability to provide developers and database administrators with a “self-service” experience, that is, the ability to quickly deploy their applications in their cloud environment of choice. Unfortunately, this can also lead to sprawl when an organization loses track of where its applications are hosted or when applications are not being run efficiently. You’ve undoubtedly heard the horror stories about organizations unexpectedly racking up thousands and thousands of dollars in cloud costs. Even the billing process itself can become unwieldy when enterprises use multiple clouds, with each cloud vendor using different billing systems and employing a variety of pricing, fee and infrastructure sizing models.
- Governance, compliance and security concerns. To be sure, a multi-cloud approach is one way to meet governance requirements for keeping data in the “correct locations.” However, checking the “location box” barely scratches the surface of what enterprises must do to comply with governmental regulations (such as GDPR) as they pertain to cloud environments. Likewise, compliance issues (such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, FISMA and SOX) must also be addressed for each cloud environment. Furthermore, although cloud vendors may tout their own strong security architecture and protocols, enterprises are ultimately responsible for the security of their data in all of their cloud and on-premises environments as well as when data is transferred from one cloud platform to another.
- Interoperability. As enterprises migrate workloads from legacy platforms to the cloud or attempt to move applications or data among cloud platforms, the frustrating interoperability of platforms becomes apparent. IT teams must deal with siloed vendor tools, a lack of consolidated monitoring across cloud environments, and other interoperability challenges that multiply the administrative burden and drive up cloud costs.
Rest assured, the advantages of multi-cloud adoption far outweigh the shortcomings. Plus, the cloud ecosystem is quickly innovating to deliver proactive solutions to these challenges. For example, the Robin Cloud Native Platform and Robin Cloud Native Storage solutions from Robin.io are designed specifically to work on any cloud platform and to automate the delivery of “as a service” application lifecycle management in multi-cloud environments.