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An IT pro's survival guide for multi-cloud computing

Last updated:June 2018

Editor's note

Multi-cloud computing represents a new frontier for IT pros. Because it's difficult for a single cloud provider to perfectly meet all their needs, some enterprises use multiple providers and multiple sets of cloud services to regain control.

A multi-cloud environment gives you the advantage of mixing and matching public cloud resources, while minimizing vendor lock-in risks. The use of multiple cloud providers can also reduce the risk of data loss or downtime because due to a single provider's failure.

But to take advantage of multi-cloud benefits, you need to carefully manage and monitor your cloud deployment and costs. Follow this guide to map a path out of the single-provider realm and into the world of multi-cloud computing.

1Selecting providers for multi-cloud

Choosing providers for a multi-cloud environment can be just as difficult, if not more difficult, than choosing a single cloud provider. IT pros must carefully evaluate vendors to determine which offer the services they need and fit within their budget. But organizations should also remember that, even after they make their choice, there is no need to put down permanent roots. Continuously assess selected providers and know when it's time to pack up and leave for another one.

2Multi-cloud management and development considerations

Infrastructure management in a multi-cloud model can introduce a boatload of obstacles. Before jumping in, test the waters by mapping the features you need to the possible services or tools that can help you manage them. As multi-cloud computing becomes more common, vendors are developing new management tools to help you track expenses and resources across cloud platforms. In addition, always develop apps with portability in mind to ensure smooth sailing on your multi-cloud voyage.

3Manage multi-cloud costs

Enterprises want their cloud environment to perform well, but also need to pay attention to their bottom line. Cost management and optimization is a huge endeavor with a single cloud platform, and the use of multiple clouds creates even more complexity. There are several aspects of a multi-cloud strategy that can increase your bill, such as network integration and traffic costs, so enterprises need to carefully monitor these areas. Fortunately, there are native and third-party cost-management tools to track and optimize spending.

4Multi-cloud glossary

Before you adopt a multi-cloud model, it's important to understand the key terminology. Whether you're an IT pro using multi-cloud today, or just want to get a better grasp on the concept, here are definitions you should know.