Multi Cloud Management

Top 5 Challenges of

Scaling Multi-Cloud Management

Top 5 Challenges of Scaling Multi-Cloud Management

A multi-cloud environment has become essential to an effective Digital Transformation strategy – especially for enterprises. In 2019, a shocking 81 percent of public cloud users reported using two or more providers. With only 41 percent of IT professionals using multi-cloud in 2014, mutli-cloud has quickly become the norm.

Oftentimes, multi-cloud environments aren’t created on purpose. Enterprises seek out multiple cloud providers with certain specialties - for example, Microsoft’s Office software and databases by AWS. In the process, they end up signing contracts with several vendors. However, organizations should avoid hastily acquiring cloud services. Instead, they must learn how to best manage many different cloud services by implementing and integrating their solutions properly from the outset.

Due to the sheer scale of an enterprise, it is a certainty that their cloud deployments will grow. This scalability is part of the reason why enterprises love the cloud – but, scalability comes with its own set of challenges. IT Teams must assert control over an enterprise cloud environment that’s growing every day while developing an effective, scalable multi-cloud management strategy.

Challenges of Scaling a Multi-Cloud Environment

It’s common for enterprises to have a few concerns about scaling when they maintain a multi-cloud environment. Let’s take a look at common challenges that IT teams face when scaling a multi-cloud environment.

1. Managing Multiple Cloud Vendors

Purchase from multiple vendors is primarily positive. Utilizing a multi-cloud environment allows enterprises to partner with vendors that best suit their needs while preventing vendor lock-in. However, multi-cloud teams are at risk of agreeing to unclear contracts that can affect the intended use of the cloud software and lead to issues with licensing compliance. Some of these contracts even contain unclear auto-renewal agreements, which can cause enterprises to be locked into a subpar cloud offering.

Enterprises with a multi-cloud environment must be wary about building too much infrastructure or processes around certain vendors, too. For example, some workloads may have dependencies on proprietary software, and removing that software can cause a roadblock in your day-to-day processes. This causes some enterprises to be inadvertently bound to a specific vendor, as the cost of separating from them is too great.

2. Maintaining Visibility of the Cloud Estate

It’s easy to deploy cloud environments – but it’s much more difficult to get the consistent visibility that’s necessary to manage all of the information spread across several separate clouds. Low visibility can lead to major stress at a later time in the form of cyber threats, falling out of compliance, and overspending. Organizations need visibility into who can access the cloud, where cloud data is, and which apps and software interact with the cloud.

Otherwise, low visibility of cloud assets can slow down the entire organization. IT teams must understand how cloud services connect and interact with each other, or else a routine license clean-up can turn into chaos for interlinked departments. In addition to this, poor visibility hinders IT teams from consolidating or prioritizing fixes, performing audits, and understanding how certain assets interact with the enterprise as a whole.

Enterprises must focus on visibility from the outset. Otherwise, scaling your system will make it difficult to control spending as large, growing areas of your network become invisible – leading to shadow IT.

3. Ensuring End-to-End Security

Enterprises need to ensure continuous security across their organization while securing a vast, growing multi-cloud environment. They must assess the security standards of several vendors, while ensuring that a massive number of employees don’t allow malicious access into their network. In addition to this, hackers often target enterprises due to their size and considerable cash flow.

IT teams must coordinate internal communication between security and operations teams while also coordinating communication with the enterprise and the cloud provider. This is often accomplished through the shared responsibility model. However, this model is not consistent throughout all cloud vendors – so, enterprises must understand their obligation to cloud security before purchasing new cloud software.

4. Standardizing and Automating Processes

Managing cloud resources across multiple cloud platforms is exceedingly difficult. This is why many organizations seek out cloud spend management platforms that help centralize cloud resource tagging across multiple tenants, subscriptions, geographies and business units. By standardizing your tagging strategy and automating the categorization of tags, IT teams can spend more time innovating and optimizing the cloud environment – and less time executing tedious tasks and manually allocating resource costs. Automating alerts and recommendations can also help IT to keep on top of cloud spend and optimize their environment.

5. Setting a Realistic Budget

Business and IT leaders are often surprised by the initial expense of a cloud deployment. As your deployment scales, anticipate that these expenses will climb. As a cloud deployment is connected to new carriers, providers, business partners, and more, it will take up an increasing amount of bandwidth – which turns into greater costs.

Enterprises need to track and analyze their multi-cloud spending, while identifying wasted spend and forecasting future costs. This is a daunting task that spurs many enterprises to turn to cloud spend management platforms for assistance in budgeting. They provide visibility into global cloud consumption across subscriptions, business units or projects and allow you to track spend against cloud budgets. They can also provide a holistic view of historical, current and forecasted consumption and costs across multiple providers.

Be sure to monitor your cloud spending on a regular, systematic basis to predict costs before they occur. While a cloud expert can assist in this, many cloud management tools come equipped with this capability. If underutilized licenses are found, record the license information and suspend the license if necessary.

Final Thoughts

Managing a multi-cloud environment is challenging – and scaling a multi-cloud environment is certainly no easy feat. IT teams must manage multiple vendors, maintain visibility and security over their deployments, all while maintaining a reasonable budget.

While these challenges are formidable, successfully overcoming them often results in a range of benefits for your organization. If the task of scaling a multi-cloud environment is daunting, remember that the right tools and expertise are integral to attaining an effective, scalable multi-cloud strategy.

Manage Your Multi-Cloud Spend

Understand your cloud subscriptions, manage contacts, and track your spending across multiple cloud environments with PyraCloud.

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Dawn Clifton, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dawn Clifton

Global Product Marketing Specialist

Cloud Spend Management, PyraCloud

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