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SPECIAL FEATURE:

Managing
the Multicloud

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

TABLE OF CONTENTS

03 Multicloud: Everything you need to know about


the biggest trend in cloud computing

14 Research: Multicloud deployment becomes new


default for enterprise computing

17 Top cloud providers 2019: AWS, Microsoft


Azure, Google Cloud; IBM makes hybrid move;
Salesforce dominates SaaS

40 Enterprise leader’s guide to building a


successful multicloud strategy

45 Multicloud Deployment Tools: Your Guide

50 Why VMware’s Kubernetes investment will


shape your multicloud strategy

55 CIO Jury: Only half of CIOs say cloud vendors


are living up to their expectations

59 How to build a successful disaster recovery


plan using multicloud technology

63 How to secure your multicloud to boost


efficiency and uptime while keeping data
breaches and hackers at bay

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

MULTICLOUD: EVERYTHING YOU NEED


TO KNOW ABOUT THE BIGGEST TREND
IN CLOUD COMPUTING
Organizations are increasingly using multiple private and public clouds to deploy
their applications, in order to avoid vendor lock-in and exploit best-of-breed
solutions, among other things.
BY CHARLES MCLELLAN

Cloud computing adoption is well established in enterprises, SMEs and startups. But how much
cloud should a business adopt? How should workloads be deployed--across public, private and
hybrid clouds? And if multiple cloud providers (public and/or private) are used, which ones should you
choose, and how can they be managed to a business’s best advantage?

This article examines some of these questions, while the remainder of this ZDNet/TechRepublic spe-
cial report covers these and other multicloud-related issues in more detail.

It’s worth distinguishing between ‘multicloud’ and ‘hybrid cloud’ at this point, as there is some scope
for confusion here. ‘Hybrid cloud’ has traditionally meant the combination of private (either on-premises
or hosted in a colocation facility) and public cloud infrastructure, with orchestration tools used to deploy
workloads and manage the balance between the two--employing public cloud resources for regular or
episodic bursts of compute and/or storage requirements, for example.

‘Multicloud’, by contrast, has more of a strategic emphasis, describing how enterprises use multiple
cloud providers to meet different technical or business requirements. At its most granular, multicloud
means cloud-native applications built from containers and microservices using component services
from different cloud providers.

How do multicloud strategies play out in practice?

A July 2018 survey by analyst firm Forrester on behalf of Virtustream found that 86% of respondents
(727 cloud strategy and application management decision makers in the US, EMEA and APAC) charac-
terized their organizations’ cloud strategy as ‘multicloud’, identifying most with the description ‘Using
multiple public and private clouds for different application workloads’:
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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

Image: Forrester/Virtustream
Respondents to the Forrester/Virtustream survey defined multicloud in several ways, including: leveraging
multiple cloud technologies at once (32%); using public cloud in parallel with traditional non-cloud systems
(23%); and using multiple public clouds simultaneously for different workloads (14%).

According to the annual RightScale State of the Cloud Report, the use of multiple clouds is by far the
most common pattern among enterprises, with single public, single private and ‘no plans’ reported by
around 10% of survey respondents or fewer. Among enterprises that use multiple clouds, the hybrid cloud
model is adopted by nearly 60%, with multiple public and multiple private clouds much less popular
(<20%). Over recent years, the number of cloud providers used has averaged just over three for public
cloud and just under four for private cloud:

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Data: RightScale / Charts: ZDNet

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It would seem that the hybrid cloud model, and the use of multiple cloud providers, is the norm among
enterprises.

Which cloud providers are being used? RightScale’s reports show Amazon Web Services (AWS) is
the clear leader in public cloud, with Microsoft Azure making rapid gains and Google Cloud Platform
some way back in third place. Other leading public cloud players are VMware Cloud, IBM Cloud, Ora-
cle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud:

Data: RightScale / Chart: ZDNet


Among the private cloud providers, VMware is the clear leader, with vSphere in the lead and vCloud
Director in third place, separated by OpenStack. Microsoft has a strong private cloud showing with
System Center and Azure Stack, while CloudStack is a consistent presence and AWS Outposts--Am-
azon’s private cloud offering--is beginning to make its presence felt:
Data: RightScale / Chart: ZDNet

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RightScale’s findings are broadly echoed by a January 2019 survey from cloud analytics firm Kentik, which
reported almost universal (97%) use of AWS (no surprise, since the survey was conducted at Amazon’s
re:Invent user conference). Along with AWS, Azure was used by 35% of respondents, and Google Cloud
Platform by 24%. Company-owned data centers (29%) and colocation/3rd-party data centers (19%) repre-
sented more traditional IT environments:

Image: Kentik
Drilling into the data, Kentik found that a majority (58%) of respondents adopted a multi-cloud strategy--ei-
ther using at least two public cloud providers (40%) or all of the ‘big-three’ providers (18%). Only a third
(33%) were hybrid cloud users with company-owned or colo/third-party data centers as well as at least
one cloud provider. Kentik ascribed this finding to ‘younger organizations whose infrastructure has been
cloud-only since their inception’.
Data: Kentik / Chart: ZDNet

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WHY CHOOSE MULTIPLE CLOUDS?


It’s clear from these and other surveys that organizations routinely use multiple cloud providers. So why
are they adopting this strategy?

Vendor Lock-in

One of the most widely cited drivers of multi-cloud adoption is the desire to avoid becoming locked into
a particular cloud provider’s infrastructure, add-on services and pricing model. Cloud-native applications
based on containers and microservices can certainly be designed to be portable between clouds, but
providers will generally try and make their platforms ‘sticky’ with specific functions and services that dif-
ferentiate them from their rivals. This means that a portable ‘lowest common denominator’ application
may not exploit a cloud provider’s full potential, and that businesses will therefore have to determine the
trade-off between portability and full functionality--with potential lock-in--for particular workloads. The result
across multiple workloads is likely to be a multicloud strategy.

As Gartner analyst Michael Warrilow puts it: “Most organizations adopt a multicloud strategy out of a de-
sire to avoid vendor lock-in or to take advantage of best-of-breed solutions...We expect that most large
organizations will continue to willfully pursue this approach.”

Shadow IT

An organization may end up with a multicloud strategy by accident, via the agency of ‘shadow IT’-- that is,
technology adopted by business units independently of the IT department, which may subsequently be
‘reined in’ for oversight by the CIO.

The extent of shadow IT revealed by McAfee’s 2019 Cloud Adoption and Risk Report is startling: 1,400
IT professionals in 11 countries were asked to estimate the total number of cloud services in use in their
organization and came up with an average of 31. The actual average figure was 1,935:

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Image: McAfee

Estimated versus actual levels of cloud service usage.

Here’s how those (actual) cloud services breakdown by category:

Image: McAfee

As you’d expect, the full gamut--SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and other as-a-service variants--is present.

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Performance

Organizations can minimise latency--and other performance metrics, such as jitter and packet loss--by
choosing a cloud provider with data centers that are geographically close to their customers, as perfor-
mance is generally inversely correlated with the number of network hops between servers. For enter-
prises with a wide range of cloud-based workloads, the optimal solution is likely to involve multiple cloud
providers.

Compliance

Data governance requirements--such as the EU’s GDPR, for example--will often require customer data to
be held in particular locations. Unless organizations are willing to create and maintain their own on-prem-
ises data lakes, this will often require a multicloud approach--again, depending on an enterprise’s geo-
graphical distribution and workload mix.

Resilience

All cloud providers--even hyperscale ones with multiple geographically dispersed, redundant data cen-
ters--suffer outages from time to time, so putting all your workload ‘eggs’ in one provider’s ‘basket’ runs
the risk of a mission-critical application becoming unavailable. A multicloud strategy may bring deployment
and management headaches (see below), but it should also make for better security, failover and disaster
recovery--in a word, resilience.

AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform all provide information on outages, but reporting differ-
ences make comparisons tricky. Analyst Zeus Kerravala recently had a go, and found that, through 2018
to May 2019, AWS and GCP had comparable levels of IaaS downtime (338h and 361h respectively), but
Azure was in a different league with 1,934 hours--over five times the outage rate for AWS and GCP.

Kerravala concluded: “I’m certainly not saying to not buy Microsoft Azure, but it is important to do your
homework to understand the historical performance of the services you’re considering in the regions you
need them. The information on the vendor websites may not tell the full picture, so it’s important to do the
necessary due diligence to ensure you understand what you’re buying before you buy it.”

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In Spiceworks’ recent Public Cloud Trends in 2019 and Beyond survey, the Big Three cloud providers
were ranked similarly on ‘Maximum uptime’, with bigger differences evident in ‘Simple to manage’, ‘Optimal
data center location’ and ‘Hyperscalable offerings’:
Image: Spiceworks

Managing a multicloud
deployment

A multicloud strategy has many advantages,


but it undoubtedly adds an extra layer of
management complexity--especially if
multicloud adoption develops in an ad hoc
manner rather than being planned from the
ground up. In the Forrester/Virtustream
Image: Forrester/Virtustream

survey referenced earlier, there was a


roughly equal split on the latter issue:

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

Given the level of ad hoc adoption, it’s no surprise to find that respondents favored cloud providers offer-
ing add-ons such as cloud strategy service, deployment, migration and management capabilities. They
also preferred vendors with whom they have long-term IT partnerships, and tend to reach out to a pre-ap-
proved list of vendors.

In Spiceworks’ Public Cloud Trends in 2019 and Beyond survey, ‘Managing multiple cloud solutions’
ranked fifth in the areas where businesses need more support from cloud vendors, with this requirement
more pressing for small and mid-size businesses than enterprises:

Image: Spiceworks

There’s an increasing number of solutions available to help organizations manage multiple cloud deploy-
ments.

Check out Gartner’s first Magic Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms (CMPs), which “enable orga-
nizations to manage multicloud (i.e., private and public cloud) services and resources”.

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Functional areas for CMPs include: provisioning and orchestration; service request management; inventory
and classification; monitoring and analytics; cost management and resource optimisation; cloud migration,
backup and disaster recovery; and identity, security and compliance. Leaders in this space--according to
Gartner--are Flexera (RightScale), Scalr, Embotics and Morpheus Data.

Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Professional and Managed Services,
Worldwide also has a multicloud focus, noting that “Customers now have requirements to manage their
multiple clouds from a unified perspective, and MSPs [Managed Service Providers] have been working to
deliver tooling, processes and staffing that are a blend of cloud-agnostic and cloud-specific capabilities.”
However, despite requiring “Proven deep and broad expertise with AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud,
Alibaba Cloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud,” Gartner judges that “no MSP has built a completely transpar-
ent, fully integrated multicloud solution.”

An interesting recent development is Google’s Anthos, a Kubernetes-based suite of GCP components


that will not only allow organizations to run applications on-premises and in Google’s public cloud, but also
to “manage workloads running on third-party clouds like AWS and Azure, giving you the freedom to de-
ploy, run and manage your applications on the cloud of your choice, without requiring administrators and
developers to learn different environments and APIs.” This is a potentially disruptive move in the rapidly
evolving cloud-native hybrid/multicloud space.

Outlook

Modern cloud-ready applications are built from containers and microservices (and are increasingly becom-
ing further abstracted to functions-as-a-service). This makes them suitable for deployment in private and/or
public clouds from multiple vendors, in order to achieve the optimal combination of performance, cost and
other key metrics.

Orchestration tools are beginning to catch up with the multicloud movement, making it easier for business-
es to manage their workloads in this environment, but this is a fast-developing market.

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RESEARCH: MULTICLOUD DEPLOYMENT


BECOMES NEW DEFAULT FOR
ENTERPRISE COMPUTING
A recent TechRepublic Premium poll shows 69% of respondents currently use or
plan to use services from multiple cloud vendors in the next 12 months.
BY MELANIE WOLKOFF WACHSMAN

For years, taking a multicloud approach remained a topic of conversation within enterprises. Now, the
conversation has shifted away from “what if” to “when and how” as the ability to manage multiple cloud
providers has been made easier thanks to the many vendors offering a broad portfolio of features to meet
the needs of the enterprise.

How enterprises manage their multicloud was the question ZDNet sister site TechRepublic Premium
wanted to answer when it surveyed tech professionals in May/June 2019. Respondents answered ques-
tions about public cloud platforms they use, functions their companies use cloud application providers for,
reasons for not taking a multicloud approach, as well as the benefits and challenges of managing multiple
cloud providers.

Implementing a multicloud strategy seems popular for enterprises, as more than half of the survey respon-
dents (69%) currently use or plan to use services from multiple cloud providers within the next 12 months.
Just 31% of survey respondents do not use or plan to use multiple cloud providers.

Of those survey respondents who are not taking a multicloud approach, their reasons ranged from too
costly to implement and maintain (34%) to security concerns (23%). Complexity of implementation and
maintaining, as well as workloads not being conducive to parallel deployment, were reasons cited by 20%
of respondents. Eleven percent of survey respondents returned to a single cloud provider or on-premise
system.

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However, survey respondents who actively use multiple cloud providers cited many benefits. Avoiding
vendor lock-in was the most popular benefit for 73% of survey respondents. Competitive pricing ranked
as a benefit for 65% of survey respondents, while resistance to outages and ease of scaling to workloads
won over 45% and 42% of respondents, respectively, as a reason for a multicloud approach. Just 27%
cited regulatory compliance as a benefit.

Despite the many benefits of taking a multicloud approach, challenges do remain. Complexity was cited
as the biggest challenge to the majority of survey respondents (72%). Migrating apps and security followed
as a challenge for 48% of respondents, and managing costs was an issue for 43% of respondents. A small
amount of respondents (13%) claimed to have no challenges with managing their multicloud infrastructure.

While a wide assortment of cloud providers are available, most survey respondents enlist big-name pro-
viders such as Microsoft Azure (78%) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) (77%) for their cloud computing
needs. Of respondents, 43% use Google Cloud platform, and other respondents use Oracle Cloud (23%),
IBM Cloud (13%), and Alibaba Cloud (12%). Only 5% of respondents choose to use Tencent Cloud and Fijitu-
su Cloud Services. Interestingly, 32% of survey respondents use specialized application/service providers
such as Dropbox, Salesforce, Cloudflare, etc., even though these are closer to services than they are to
cloud platforms.

The infographic below contains selected details from the research. To read more findings, plus analysis,
download the full report Managing the Multicloud: Companies capitalize on using multiple cloud pro-
viders (TechRepublic Premium).

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TOP CLOUD PROVIDERS 2019: AWS,


MICROSOFT AZURE, GOOGLE CLOUD;
IBM MAKES HYBRID MOVE; SALESFORCE
DOMINATES SAAS
The cloud computing race in 2019 will have a definite multicloud spin. Here’s a look
at how the cloud leaders stack up, the hybrid market, and the SaaS players that run
your company as well as their latest strategic moves.
BY LARRY DIGNAN

The top cloud providers for 2019 have maintained their positions, but the themes, strategies, and ap-
proaches to the market are all in flux. The infrastructure-as-a-service wars have been largely decided, with
the spoils going to Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, but new technolo-
gies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have opened the field up to other players.

Meanwhile, the cloud computing market in 2019 will have a decidedly multicloud spin, as the hybrid shift
by players such as IBM, which is acquiring Red Hat, could change the landscape. This year’s edition of the
top cloud computing providers also features software-as-a-service giants that will increasingly run more of
your enterprise’s operations via expansion.

One thing to note about the cloud in 2019 is that the market isn’t zero sum. Cloud computing is driving IT
spending overall. For instance, Gartner predicts that 2019 global IT spending will increase 3.2 percent to
$3.76 trillion with as-a-service models fueling everything from data center spending to enterprise software.

In fact, it’s quite possible that a large enterprise will consume cloud computing services from every vendor
in this guide. The real cloud innovation may be from customers that mix and match the following public
cloud vendors in unique ways.

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Key 2019 themes to watch among the top cloud providers include:

•• Pricing power. Google raised prices of G Suite and the cloud space is a technology where
add-ons exist for most new technologies. While compute and storage services are often a
race to the bottom, tools for machine learning, artificial intelligence and serverless functions
can add up. There’s a good reason that cost management is such a big theme for cloud
computing customers--it’s arguably the biggest challenge. Look for cost management and
concerns about lock-in to be big themes. Indeed, a RightScale survey found that cloud
cost optimization is a big priority for large companies all the way down to small
businesses. Container adoption may also be contributing to cost optimization issues.
•• Multicloud. A recent survey from Kentik highlights how public cloud customers are
increasingly using more than one vendor. AWS and Microsoft Azure are most often paired
up. Google Cloud Platform is also in the mix. And naturally these public cloud service
providers are often tied into existing data center and private cloud assets. Add it up and
there’s a healthy hybrid and private cloud race underway and that’s reordered the pecking
order. The multicloud approach is being enabled by virtual machines and containers.
•• Artificial intelligence, Internet of things and analytics are the upsell technologies for cloud
vendors. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform all have
similar strategies to land customers with compute, cloud storage, serverless functions and
then upsell you to the AI that’ll differentiate them. Companies like IBM are looking to
manage AI and cloud services across multiple clouds.
•• The cloud computing landscape is maturing rapidly yet financial transparency backslides. It’s
telling when Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for cloud infrastructure goes to 6 players from more
than a dozen. In addition, transparency has become worse among cloud computing
providers. For instance, Oracle used to break out infrastructure-, platform- and software-as-
a-service in its financial reports. Today, Oracle’s cloud business is lumped together.
Microsoft has a “commercial cloud” that is very successful, but also hard to parse. IBM has
cloud revenue and “as-a-service” revenue. Google doesn’t break out cloud revenue at all.
Aside from AWS, parsing cloud sales has become more difficult.

To that end, we’re taking a different approach to our cloud buying guide and breaking the players into the
big four infrastructure providers, the hybrid players, and the SaaS crowd. This categorization has pushed
IBM from being a big infrastructure-as-a-service player to a tweener that spans infrastructure, platform, and

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software. IBM is more private cloud and hybrid with hooks into IBM Cloud as well as other cloud environ-
ments. Oracle Cloud is primarily a software- and database-as-a-service provider. Salesforce has become
about way more than CRM.

IAAS AND PAAS


Amazon Web Services
•• 2018 Annual revenue: $25.65 billion
•• Annual revenue run rate based on latest quarter: $30 billion+ based on first quarter results

AWS sees 2019 as an investment year, as it ramps its technology buildout as well as add sales personnel.
Amazon didn’t quantify the higher investment, but said it would update throughout the year.

On a conference call with analysts, CFO Brian Olsavsky said 2018 was a lighter than expected year for
capital expenditures. “AWS maintained a very strong growth rate and continued to deliver for customers,”
he said. “2018 was about banking the efficiencies of investments in people, warehouses, infrastructure that
we had put in place in 2016 and ‘17.”

The cloud provider is the leader in infrastructure-as-a-service and moving up the stack to everything from
the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and analytics. AWS is far more than an
IaaS platform these days. AWS grew 45 percent in the fourth quarter -- a clip that has been stable for
the last year.

When it comes to developers and ecosystem, AWS is hard to top. The company has a wide range of part-
ners (VMware, C3, and SAP) and developers growing the ecosystem. AWS is typically the first beachhead
for enterprise players before they expand to a multicloud approach.

The big question is how far AWS can extend its reach. AWS can be a threat to Oracle on databases as
well as a bevy of other companies. Via its VMware partnership, AWS also has a strong hybrid cloud strate-
gy and can meet enterprise needs multiple ways.

AWS’ strategy was evident at its re:Invent conference. The show featured a barrage of services, new
products, and developer goodies that was hard to track. Artificial intelligence is a key area of growth and a

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core sales pitch for AWS as it becomes a machine learning platform. According to 2nd Watch, AWS cus-
tomers are going for these high-growth areas and seeing the cloud provider as a key cog for their ma-
chine learning and digital transformation efforts.

In the first quarter of 2019, Amazon’s profits were again powered by AWS. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky
said AWS now has an annualized run rate of over $30 billion. He highlighted AWS’s customer wins for the
quarter, including deals with Volkswagen, Ford, Lyft and Gogo.

2nd Watch found that AWS’ 2018 fastest growing services were the following:

•• Amazon Athena, with a 68-percent compound annual growth rate (measured by dollars
spent with 2nd Watch) versus a year ago)
•• Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes at 53 percent
•• Amazon MQ at 37 percent
•• AWS OpsWorks at 23 percent
•• Amazon EC2 Container Service at 21 percent
•• Amazon SageMaker at 21 percent
•• AWS Certificate Manager at 20 percent
•• AWS Glue at 16 percent
•• Amazon GuardDuty at 16 percent
•• Amazon Macie at 15 percent

Based on 2nd Watch usage, the most popular AWS services are:

•• Amazon Virtual Private Cloud •• Amazon Simple Notification Service


•• AWS Data Transfer •• Amazon Relational Database Service
•• Amazon Simple Storage Service •• Amazon Route 53
•• Amazon DynamoDB •• Amazon Simple Queue Service
•• Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud •• AWS CloudTrail
•• AWS Key Management Service •• Amazon Simple Email Service
•• AmazonCloudWatch

Analytics and forecasting may be one area worth watching for AWS. As AWS rolls out its forecasting and
analytics services, it’s clear that the company can become more intertwined with real business functions.

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Image: ZDNet
AWS’ reach continues to expand in multiple directions, but perhaps the one to watch the most is the data-
base market. AWS is capturing more database workloads and has emphasized its customer wins. A move
to launch a fully managed document database takes direct aim at MongoDB. Should AWS capture more
enterprise data, it will be entrenched for decades to come as it continues to evolve services and sell them
to you.

Microsoft

•• Commercial cloud annual revenue run rate as of latest quarter: $38.4 billion
•• Estimated Azure annual revenue run rate: $11 billion

Microsoft Azure is the solid No. 2 to AWS, but it’s difficult to directly compare the two companies. Micro-
soft’s cloud business--dubbed commercial cloud--includes everything from Azure to Office 365 enterprise
subscriptions to Dynamics 365 to LinkedIn services. Nevertheless, Microsoft’s strong enterprise heritage,
software stack, and data center tools like Windows Server give it a familiarity and hybrid approach that
wears well.

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For differentiation, Microsoft has focused heavily on AI, analytics, and the Internet of Things. Microsoft’s
AzureStack has been another cloud-meets-data center effort that has been a differentiator.

CEO Satya Nadella, on Microsoft’s second quarter earnings conference call, said the company’s cloud unit
is honing in on verticals such as healthcare, retail, and financial services. This approach comes right out of
the enterprise software selling playbook.

Nadella said:

From a mix of services, it starts always with, I would say, infrastructure. So this is the edge
and the cloud, the infrastructure being used as compute. In fact, you could say the measure
of a company going digital is the amount of compute they use. So that’s the base. Then on
top of that, of course, all this compute means it’s being used with data. So the data estate,
one of the largest things that happens, is people consolidate the data that they have and
so that they can reason over it. And that’s where things like AI services all get used. So we
definitely see that path where they’re adopting the layers of Azure.

Simply put, Microsoft is selling a wide range of cloud products, but it’s hard to break out software-as-a-ser-
vice versus Azure, which would more directly compete with AWS.

Indeed, Microsoft’s ability to target industries has also been a win. Notably, Microsoft has won over large
retailers that don’t want to partner with AWS since they compete with Amazon. Microsoft also began high-
lighting more customer wins including Gap as well as Fruit of the Loom.

That take was also echoed elsewhere. Daniel Ives, an analyst at Wedbush, said AWS remains the big dog,
but Microsoft has some unique advantages in the field -- notably a strong organization and ground game.

Ives wrote:

While Jeff Bezos and AWS continue to clearly be a major force in the emerging cloud shift
over the coming years, we believe Microsoft with its army of partners and dedicated sales
force have a major window of opportunity in 2019 to convert enterprises to the Azure/cloud
platform based on our recent in-depth discussions with partners and customers.

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Simply put, Microsoft can couple Azure with its other cloud services such as Office 365 and Dynamics
365. With Azure, Microsoft has a well-rounded stack, ranging from infrastructure to platform to applications
to run a business.

It’s hard to argue against Microsoft’s grand strategy. Microsoft’s commercial cloud unit continued to hum
along in its fiscal third quarter. The impressive results were followed up by Microsoft Build 2019. At Build
2019, Microsoft rolled out a bevy of updates for developers but the overarching theme was that Azure
and cloud services are the center of the company’s platform approach.

The software and cloud giant outlined everything from cognitive services based on Cortana to tools to
making bots and services for IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Microsoft also worked out its data story across the cloud to edge computing as well as rounded out its
hybrid strategies with the likes of Red Hat.

According to RightScale, Azure is gaining some ground on AWS.

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Google Cloud Platform

•• Annual revenue run rate: $4 billion+

Google Cloud Platform has been winning larger deals, has a new leader with Oracle veteran Thomas
Kurian and is seen as a solid counterweight to AWS and Microsoft Azure. However, Google isn’t divulging
annual revenue run rate or providing much guidance on its cloud financials.

On Google’s fourth quarter earnings conference call, CEO Sundar Pichai cited numerous data points for
Google Cloud Platform (GCP). However, analysts were frustrated by the lack of revenue disclosed. To kick
off 2018, Pichai said Google’s cloud revenue was $1 billion a quarter evenly split between G Suite and
GCP.

In 2019, Pichai held back on his run rate chatter, so it’s unclear whether GCP is gaining on AWS or Azure or
just growing because the overall cloud pie is growing. Specifically, Pichai outlined the following:

•• The number of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) deals worth more than $1 million doubled.
•• The number of multiyear contracts doubled. “We’re getting large wins, and I look forward to
executing here,” said Pichai.
•• G Suite has 5 million paying customers.
•• There’s an uptick in the number of deals worth more than $100 million.

CFO Ruth Porat said:

GCP does remain one of the fastest-growing businesses across Alphabet. As Sundar said,
we’ve doubled the number of GCP contracts greater than $1 million. We’re also seeing early
nice uptick in the number of deals that are greater than $100 million, and really pleased with
the success and penetration there. At this point, not updating further.

In its first quarter results, Pichai didn’t divulge Google Cloud revenue or annual run rate, but said he would
at an appropriate time. For now, Google is on a cloud hiring spree as it builds out the team under Kurian.

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A recent hire is Hamidou Dia as Google Cloud’s vice president of solutions engineering. Hamidou was
most recently Oracle’s chief of sales consulting, consulting, enterprise architecture and customer success.
Google Cloud also named John Jester vice president of customer experience. Jester will lead a services
team focused on architecture and best practices. Jester was most recently corporate vice president of
worldwide customer success at Microsoft.

The additions of Dia and Jester come as Rob Enslin joined Google Cloud as president of global customer
operations. Enslin was formerly at SAP. Google Cloud’s strategy rhymes with proven enterprise software
sales techniques that revolve around industry-specific use cases.

At Google Cloud Next, the company forged more ties with hybrid cloud players via an effort called An-
thos, outlined its industry efforts and leveraged its artificial intelligence knowhow.

Meanwhile, Google Cloud is also growing its partnership with SAP as it aims to couple its machine learn-
ing and artificial intelligence services with SAP’s S4/HANA and C4/HANA.

Add it up, and GCP appears to be a solid No. 3 to AWS and Azure, but how distant it falls behind those two
remains to be seen. Wall Street firm Jefferies is predicting that GCP will gain share over time.

Image: Jefferies

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One move that could boost Google’s cloud revenue is a move to increase G Suite prices for some users.
G Suite, which competes directly with Microsoft’s Office 365, is raising its prices for the first time. G Suite
Basic will raise prices from $5 per user per month to $6. G Suite Business will go from $10 per user per
month to $12. According to Google, G Suite Enterprise, which runs $25 per user a month, isn’t impacted by
the price increase.

Competitively, the pricing moves are in line with Office 365. Google has launched an interesting pricing
plan for its cloud storage that could give companies more predictable costs.

Alibaba

•• Annual revenue run rate: $3.85 billion

Alibaba is the leading cloud provider in China and an option for multi-national companies building infra-
structure there.

In its December quarter, Alibaba delivered cloud revenue growth of 84 percent to $962 million. The com-
pany has rapidly added customers and is currently in the cloud buildout phase. To wit:

•• Alibaba Cloud has opened its second data center in Japan


•• Launched an artificial intelligence partnership with Intel.
•• Expanded in Poland.
•• Acquired Data Artisans, which is the vendor leading development of the Apache Flink
framework for real-time data processing.
•• And developed a high-profile partnership with the International Olympic Committee.

Add it up, and Alibaba has a strong home-field advantage in China, but it also has global ambitions.
Alibaba launched 678 products in the December quarter. Relationships with the likes of SAP are likely to
put it on the radar for more enterprises with operations in China.

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THE MULTICLOUD AND HYBRID CLOUD PLAYERS


While the big cloud providers add more to their stacks with AI as the differentiator, there’s a market being
carved out to manage multiple cloud providers. This crowd of cloud players used to focus on hybrid archi-
tecture to bridge data centers with public service providers, but now aim to be the infrastructure manage-
ment plane.

Research by Kentik highlighted how the most common cloud combination was AWS and Azure, but there
are customers working in Google Cloud Platform, too. According to the Kentik survey, 97 percent of re-
spondents reported their companies use AWS, but 35 percent also said they actively use Azure too.
Twenty-four percent use AWS and Google Cloud Platform together.
Image: Kentik

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IBM

•• Annualized as-a-service run rate: $11.7 billion

IBM’s cloud strategy and its approach to AI have a lot in common. Big Blue’s plan is to enable customers
to manage multiple systems, services and providers and become the management console. IBM wants
to be a part of your cloud environment as well as help you run it. In 2018, IBM launched OpenScale for
AI, which is designed to manage multiple AI tools likely provided by the major cloud providers. IBM also
launched multicloud tools. Think of IBM as the Switzerland of cloud adoption and computing services
strategies.

The move by enterprises to use multiple public cloud providers is interesting and provides the rationale
for IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat for $34 billion. IBM has its own public cloud and will deliver everything
from platform-as-a-service to analytics to Watson and even quantum computing through it, but the big bet
is that Big Blue with Red Hat can make it a leading cloud management player. For its part, IBM is taking its
core intellectual property -- Watson, AI management, cloud integration -- and delivering it through multiple
clouds.

The Red Hat acquisition is a bet the farm move by IBM. It remains to be seen how the IBM and Red Hat
cultures come together. On the bright side, the two companies have been hybrid cloud partners for years.

For its part, Red Hat developed its Kubernetes game with OpenShift. It also continued to partner with
the hybrid cloud ecosystem including Microsoft Azure. Microsoft CEO Nadella even popped in on
Red Hat Summit.

Indeed, IBM CFO James Kavanaugh on the company’s fourth quarter earnings conference call reiterated
the Red Hat reasoning and noted Big Blue is seeing more deals for IBM Cloud Private and its approach to
“hybrid open” cloud environments. Kavanaugh added:

Let me pause here to remind you of the value we see from the combination of IBM and Red
Hat, which is all about accelerating hybrid cloud adoption. The client response to the an-
nouncement has been overwhelmingly positive. They understand the power of this acquisi-
tion and the combination of IBM and Red Hat capabilities in helping them move beyond their

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initial cloud work to really shifting their business applications to the cloud. They are con-
cerned about the secure portability of data and workloads across cloud environments, about
consistency in management and security protocols across clouds and in avoiding vendor
lock-in. They understand how the combination of IBM and Red Hat will help them address
these issues.

IBM’s as-a-service revenue run rate exiting the fourth quarter was $12.2 billion to make it a strong cloud
provider, but not comparable to the likes of AWS and Azure today. It is quite possible that the strategies of
all the large cloud providers ultimately converge.

The new hybrid and multicloud landscape may be one of the more critical things to watch in the cloud
wars for 2019.
Here are some key players to consider:

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VMware: It is part of the Dell Technologies portfolio, and it has had traditional data centers in the fold for
years. The company emerged as a virtualization vendor and then adopted everything from containers to
OpenStack to whatever else emerged. Perhaps, the best move for VMware was its tight partnership with
AWS. This hybrid cloud partnership is a win-win for both parties and both companies have continued to
build on their initial efforts. The partnership is so interesting that VMware is helping to bring AWS on prem-
ises. To wit:

•• Pat Gelsinger: Dell a fan of VMware-AWS partnership


•• AWS Outposts brings AWS cloud hardware on-premises
•• VMWare acquires Heptio in enterprise Kubernetes adoption push
•• VMware touts multi-cloud strategy with expanded hybrid cloud portfolio

Of course, VMware also has its vRealize Suite, vCloud Air, VMware HCX, Cloud Management Platform,
vSphere, and networking products.

Dell Technologies and HPE: Both of these vendors have multiple products to operate data centers and
are plugging into cloud providers.

HPE’s plan boils down to multicloud, hybrid infrastructure that extends to the edge.
Dell Technologies, however, made the biggest splash in the hybrid space. Dell Technologies used its an-

Image: HPE

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nual customer conference to outline its Dell Cloud Platform and how it would integrate various parts
of its portfolio. The upshot is that VMware, majority owned by Dell Technologies, would act as the glue
between its products and services. The effort gives Dell Technologies a more integrated approach to its
cloud efforts to bridge private, on-premises and public compute resources.
And then, there’s Cisco, which via acquisitions has built out a sizeable software portfolio. Cisco outlined a

data center anywhere vision that revolves around plugging its application centric infrastructure (ACI) into
multiple clouds. No matter how you slice the hybrid cloud game, the end state is the same: Multiple pro-
viders and private infrastructure seamlessly connected. Cisco also has partnerships with Google Cloud.
Kubernetes, Istio, and Apigee serve as the glue in the Cisco-Google effort.

While the hybrid cloud market was widely panned as legacy vendors cooking up new ways to sell hard-
ware, the new multicloud world has more acceptance even among the former upstarts who wanted to turn
the likes of IBM, VMware, Dell, and HPE into dinosaurs.
BATTLE OF THE EVOLVING SAAS GIANTS
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The SaaS market also highlights how vendors and their changing strategies and acquisition plans make
cloud classification more difficult. In the 2018 edition of our cloud rankings, Oracle was lumped into the
AWS, Azure, and GCP crowd largely because it was trying to play in the IaaS market.

While CTO Larry Ellison still seems to be obsessed with AWS, Oracle is essentially a software- and data-
base-as-a-service company. Perhaps Oracle’s efforts to automate the cloud and cook up next-gen infra-
structure pay off, but for now, the company is really about software. Salesforce via the acquisition of Mule-
Soft has also changed its stripes a bit and added an integration spin to the cloud strategy (and even a bit
of traditional software licensing). SAP has grown into a sizable cloud player and Workday has opened its
ecosystem.

Covering every SaaS player is beyond the scope of this overview, but there are a group of vendors that
could be called SaaS+. These cloud service providers extend into platforms and all of these vendors have
multiple SaaS products that can run your business.

Oracle

•• Annual cloud services and license support revenue run rate: $26.4 billion
•• ERP and HCM annualized revenue: $2.6 billion

In Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for IaaS, the research firm narrowed the field to just cloud companies.
Oracle made the cut. It wouldn’t be surprising if Oracle was reclassified in 2019 out of the infrastructure
race.

Let’s get real: Oracle is a SaaS provider and there’s no shame in that. In fact, Oracle is damn good at the
SaaS game and has everything covered from small- and mid-sized enterprises via NetSuite to large com-
panies migrating on-premise software to the cloud.

But the real differentiation with Oracle is its database. The company has a massive installed base, an
autonomous database that aims to take away grunt work and the potential to put its technology on more
clouds beyond its own. Oracle is pitching itself as a Cloud 2.0 player.
For now, Oracle is a bit obsessive about AWS. Consider:

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•• Oracle’s Ellison: No way a ‘normal’ person would move to AWS


•• Larry Ellison delivers Oracle’s next autonomous database tool, more AWS trash talk
•• Amazon’s consumer business moves from Oracle to AWS, but Larry Ellison won’t stop
talking
•• Larry Ellison pitches Oracle’s Gen 2 Cloud as purpose-built for enterprise

Andy Mendelsohn, executive vice president of database server technologies at Oracle, said it’s very early
in the cloud migration of databases. “In the SaaS world it’s a mature market where enterprise customers
have accepted they can run HR and ERP in the cloud,” he said. “Database in the cloud has very little
adoption.”

Mendelsohn said what Oracle sees more of is customers using services like Cloud at Customer and a
private cloud approach to moving databases. Initiatives like Oracle’s autonomous database may be more
about a private cloud approach, he said.

Among smaller companies, databases are more prevalent in the cloud because there’s less investment
needed.

“The big battleground will revolve around the data. It’s the core asset at every company out there,” he
said.

Cloud at Customer is part of how Oracle sees its multicloud strategy. Analysts have raised concerns that
Oracle should run its software and databases on more clouds.

Following Oracle’s second quarter earnings in December, Stifel analyst John DiFucci said:

While we continue to think Oracle is well-positioned in the SaaS market, we remain


more cautious around PaaS/IaaS, both in terms of top-line revenue and associated
cap-ex implications.

While there is little question in our mind that Oracle’s installed base is extremely secure, we believe that
a large portion of net new database workloads are going to non-Oracle platforms (hyperscale solutions,
NoSQL, open source, etc).
We remain cautious on Oracle’s IaaS efforts and support the notion of Oracle increasing support for other

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

clouds.

Mendelson said that Oracle has worked with multiple vendor strategies throughout its history, so it’s not
much of a stretch to see multicloud emerge over time.

Salesforce

•• Annual cloud revenue run rate:$14 billion


•• Sales Cloud annual revenue run rate: $4 billion
•• Service Cloud annual revenue run rate: $3.6 billion
•• Saleforce Platform & Other annual revenue run rate: $2.8 billion
•• Marketing and Commerce Cloud annual revenue run rate: $2 billion

Salesforce started as a CRM company 20 years ago and has expanded into everything from integration to
analytics to marketing to commerce. Woven throughout the Salesforce clouds are add-ons such as Ein-
stein, an AI system.

Simply put, Salesforce wants to be a digital transportation platform that is targeting fiscal 2022 goal of rev-
enue between $21 billion to $21 billion.

Most cloud vendors -- public, private, hybrid or otherwise -- will tell you the game is capturing data under
management. Salesforce also sees the promise of being the data platform of record.
Enter Salesforce’s Customer 360. The master plan is to use Customer 360 to enable Salesforce custom-
Image: Salesforce

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

ers to connect all their data into one view. The idea isn’t exactly original, but Salesforce’s argument is that
it can execute better and put the customer at the center of the data universe.

Add it up, and Salesforce is becoming a platform bet for its customers. Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block said
the company is landing more deals worth $20 million or more and recently renewed a nine-figure win with
a financial services company. Marc Benioff, co-CEO and chairman, said that Einstein AI is being added into
all of the company’s clouds.

Salesforce has also partnered well with the likes of Apple, IBM, Microsoft (in some areas), AWS, and Goo-
gle Cloud.

The go-to-market strategy for Salesforce revolves around selling multiple clouds and developing industry
specific applications such as the company’s Financial Services Cloud.

Block said:

I’ve traveled around the world meeting with more than 100 CEOs and world leaders. The
conversation is consistent everywhere I go. It’s about digital transformation. It’s about lever-
aging our technology. It’s about our culture, and it’s about our values. This C-level engage-
ment is translating into more strategic relationships than ever.

For 2019, there’s little on the radar -- short of a broad economic downturn -- that would derail Salesforce’s
momentum. Yes, Oracle and SAP remain fierce rivals with the latter actively pitching its next-gen CRM sys-
tem, but Salesforce is seen as a digital transformation engine. Microsoft is another competitor worth watch-
ing, since it also wants to offer a single view of the customer. Dynamics 365 is becoming more competitive
with Salesforce. With its Marketing Cloud, Salesforce competes with Adobe. As Salesforce continues to
expand so will its competitive set.

SAP

•• Annual cloud subscriptions and support revenue: €5 billion


•• Annual cloud revenue run rate: €5.64 billion
SAP has a sprawling cloud software business that runs from ERP and HR to expenses (Concur) as well as

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Ariba. The company is primary enterprise software, but customers are migrating to the cloud. SAP’s ap-
proach rhymes with Oracle’s strategy, but there’s a key difference: SAP will run on multiple clouds.

CEO Bill McDermott noted the SAP cloud partners on the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. “SAP has
strong partnerships with Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Alibaba, and others to embrace this value creation
opportunity,” he said. “Customers can run on-premise, in a private cloud or in the public cloud. It’s their
choice.”

The SAP cloud lineup consists of the following:

•• SAP S/4HANA Cloud


•• SAP SuccessFactors
•• SAP Cloud Platform, Data Hub (which
are hybrid plays)
•• SAP C/4 HANA
•• Business network software (Ariba,
Concur, and Fieldglass)

In the end, SAP is a mix of traditionally licensed


software and cloud versions. CEO Bill McDer-
mott also outlined some big growth goals. For
2019, SAP is projecting cloud subscription and
support revenue between €6.7 to €7.0 billion.

Going forward, SAP is projecting cloud


subscription and support revenue of €8.6 to
€9.1 billion. By 2023, SAP wants to triple cloud Image: SAP
subscription and support revenue from the 2018 tally.

SAP’s Sapphire 2019 conference made it clear that the company is aiming to be a cloud data player, put
more of its S4/HANA and C4/HANA applications in the cloud and be a partner to large service provid-
ers. To that end, SAP partnered more with Azure, AWS and Google Cloud.

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The biggest theme is that SAP wants HANA to be a gateway to corporate data and has launched a cloud
data warehouse. The competition is stiff, but the game plan for SAP, like Oracle, is to migrate its customer
base to the cloud. The big difference is SAP isn’t focused on the base infrastructure cloud layer.

Workday

•• Annual cloud revenue run rate: $3 billion

Workday made its name with human capital management, expanded into financials and ERP, and is adding
analytics via a series of acquisitions.

Before AWS became an Oracle obsession, Workday was a primary target of Larry Ellison’s rants. Those
verbal barbs from Ellison became a tell that Workday was faring well.

Most of Workday’s revenue derives from HCM, but the company is starting to sell financials along with it. In
other words, Workday is trying to develop that multicloud playbook that Salesforce has going. That said,
Workday also has a lot of runway for HCM. Workday hasl half of the Fortune 50 as customers and about
40 percent of the Fortune 500.

The analytics business for Workday is being developed via acquisition. Workday acquired Adaptive In-
sights, a business planning player, and will target analytics workloads.

While Workday fared well on its own, the company was slow to broaden its ecosystem and run on infra-
structure from the public cloud giants. Workday has opened up to allow customers to run on AWS and
that’s a big move that could pay dividends in the future.

The company also launched the Workday Cloud Platform, which allows customers to write applications
inside of Workday via a set of application programming interfaces. The Workday Cloud Platform, launched
in 2017, makes its platform more flexible and open.

In 2019, you can expect Workday to explore expansion ito more industries beyond education and govern-
ment. Healthcare could be an option for a broader effort.

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Robynne Sisco, CFO of Workday, said at an investor conference in December:

When you think about expanding in terms of industry operational systems, there’s really a lot
that we could do going forward. We could do retail. We could do hospitality. As of right now,
we’ve got a lot of things we’re working on. So we’re staying where we are. But industry does
become very important when you talk about selling financials.

Workday is also targeting more mid-sized businesses with Workday Launch, a fixed-fee, preconfigured
application package.

The competitive set for Workday is Oracle and SAP for HCM and Financials. Also watch Salesforce, which
is a Workday partner and potential foe in the future. Another wild card for Workday will be Microsoft, which
is integrating LinkedIn more for HR analytics.

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Image: Getty
Images/iStockphoto
ENTERPRISE LEADER’S GUIDE
TO BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL
MULTICLOUD STRATEGY
Developing a multicloud strategy is a must to effectively manage multiple cloud
providers. Here are four corporate best practices to get you started.
BY MARY SHACKLETT

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

In July 2018, Virtustream-Forrester surveyed 727 corporate cloud decision makers, and 86% reported
that they had a multicloud strategy. This is a good representation of what has gone on in organizations
over the past six years. Companies are using a variety of public and private cloud resources and internal
data centers—and they want to incorporate all of it into a single IT architecture known as “multicloud.”

A monolithic, multicloud architecture and strategy make sense. However, companies using more than one
cloud need a strategy since:

•• Shadow IT, careless deployments, and failure to remove applications and systems from
multiple clouds often creates an asset management crisis that IT is expected to manage;
•• Decisions can be made independently by IT and user departments to deploy certain
applications and data on different clouds, depending upon their functions and also upon
various cloud price points and services;
•• Which results in a plethora of IT resources that are spread between multiple clouds, which
must be managed under one hood.

A multicloud management strategy is expressly designed to unify and orchestrate all IT under a single
IT architecture, no matter which clouds it resides on. This helps ensure that security and governance are
consistently followed everywhere, and that data is properly stored, processed, and accessed.

An effective multicloud strategy also guarantees that all IT assets, whether in-house or in the cloud, are
accounted for. It also is a means of optimizing what organizations spend on cloud resources. Cutting (or
at least controlling) cloud costs is a major concern of companies, and so is avoiding cloud waste and
investing in monolithic clouds that threaten vendor lock-in.

If a company uses multiple clouds, it makes sense to develop a multicloud strategy to effectively manage
the IT that is distributed in the clouds. How can companies develop and deploy multicloud strategy?

Below are four corporate best practices for multicloud strategies.

1. Build a rolling three-year operationalized strategic plan


Most organizations have a strategic IT plan, but how many of those are well executed?

Strategic plans have earned a reputation of being “high level” and poorly communicated to the line
managers and staff who are supposed to execute it. This risk of non-performance increases when you

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

deal with a strategic plan for infrastructure, which is what multicloud strategic planning is. Why? Because
infrastructure is an “invisible” and intangible project to the average person when compared to the most
visible IT projects, which a company strives for--like a new ERP system, or a significant investment into
factory automation.

To break this cycle, CIOs and IT leaders must continuously communicate and educate the board, the
C-level, and the staff. on the importance of projects and achievements of an infrastructure plan.

A three-year time span is the most comfortable strategic span for an IT strategy since technology changes
so rapidly. Minimally, this strategic plan should be reevaluated, projectized, budgeted for, and communicat-
ed annually so it remains relevant and prioritized in everyone’s eyes and continues to move forward.

2. Reevaluate vendor and contract management annually

Multicloud IT architectures involves contracts with outside IT vendors. These contracts are for services and
performance SLAs, and they cost money. At a minimum, IT should meet annually with cloud vendors to
assess vendor contract performance and costs, and to negotiate adjustments, if needed.

The only way an annual contract review process with cloud vendors happens is if IT (before entering into
a cloud vendor contract) negotiates in writing as a part of the contract a provision that annual reviews and
performance assessments will occur.

This makes it incumbent on IT to have skilled contract negotiators engaged in contract formation and
management. Many IT departments lack this expertise internally, so it may be necessary to engage legal
council or other corporate functions such as a regulatory and compliance group to help.

In other cases, IT might have staff members who demonstrate or have skills in contract negotiation and
management who can be developed to take on these tasks. Whatever route IT decides to take, contract
negotiation and management are vital components of any multicloud strategy.

3. Manage ROI

Getting a total handle on cloud costs and resource optimization is an important financial element of man-
aging multicloud environments.

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If you plan to use multicloud solutions to offset internal data center costs like hardware and facilities, also
consider what additional costs for network security, bandwidth, etc., will be incurred in the cloud environ-
ment?

You won’t have the same visibility of “true” costs with a cloud provider as you have in your own data cen-
ter. This is a major reason why many companies are unpleasantly surprised when they see their bills from
cloud vendors. Instead, run a complete toe-to-toe ROI, which compares using the cloud vs using your
own data center resources. The ROI should reveal the benefits and costs for both options, so that you can
make a deployment decision.

Second, you need to identify any “wasted” IT assets that are on the cloud and are being paid for. You can
do this by installing an IT asset management system to automatically identify any IT assets that IT or users
installed on the cloud—and whether these assets are being actively used. In this way, you can identify
which assets you’re paying for but not using and eliminate it.

4. Ensure 24/7 uptime and business continuation

When you consign some of your IT to a cloud vendor, you depend on that vendor to keep your systems
up and running. If you engage a cloud vendor that has its own data center, there are undoubtedly SLAs
that address system performance and uptime.

However, it should be noted that a surprising number of cloud vendors promise their “best effort” if sys-
tems are down, but they will also exonerate themselves from any liability for down systems in the fine print
of their contracts. This is an area that should be thoroughly discussed and agreed to during any contract
negotiation.

Also, if you use cloud SaaS vendors that don’t own their own data centers, you have no direct contract
privity with the data center provider if a mission-critical system goes offline. Instead, you must expect your
SaaS vendor, who has a contract with the cloud data center provider, to ensure systems stay up and run-
ning. In these cases, your contract with the cloud SaaS vendor should address accountabilities and SLAs
when systems and data fail—no matter who hosts these assets.

Finally, if your company is multicloud, you should arrange for an alternate cloud vendor in another geo-
graphic area to serve as a back-up site in the case of a regional disaster.

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

5. Remain agile

Whether it is disaster recovery or disappointment with a cloud vendor, it is always wise to avoid vendor
lock-in and remain agile with your multicloud strategy. Your strategy should include negotiating an exit
clause (as well as an onboarding clause) in any contract with a new cloud vendor. This enables you to
easily cancel a contract if the vendor doesn’t perform to expectation.

Second, it’s important to have redundancy and backups in place that use multiple clouds so you can
failover to another cloud provider if there is a failure at your primary provider.

Finally, avoid placing your IT in a vulnerable position where the cloud vendor runs a system or application,
and your staff knows little about it. If you ever need to in-source a system, you must have an onboard staff
who can support and manage it.

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Image: Getty
Images/iStockphoto
MULTICLOUD MANAGEMENT TOOLS:
YOUR GUIDE
The use of multicloud is becoming more commonplace in large organizations. Here’s
what to consider when picking a provider.
BY MACY BAYERN

Between deployments of public and private cloud networks, cloud computing has taken charge in recent
years. The use of multicloud technology is becoming increasingly popular as organizations take on more
workloads and shift business priorities. Some 86% of cloud technology decision makers at large enterpris-
es said they are using a multicloud strategy, according to a recent Virtustream report.

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Hybrid cloud vs. multicloud

Multicloud is often mistaken for hybrid cloud, which uses a combination of public cloud providers and
private on-premise infrastructure to handle variable workloads in an efficient and cost-effective manner,
according to TechRepublic’s Hybrid cloud cheat sheet.

“Most enterprise customers define multicloud as using different clouds (a mix of both public and private)
for different users, teams, or use cases,” said Dave Bartoletti, vice president and principal analyst service
for infrastructure and operations professionals at Forrester. This being said, hybrid cloud can be deployed
in multicloud configurations and systems.

“[Multicloud] offers developers a self-service interface to consume services and deploy apps to different
cloud platforms, and they offer operations teams a unified place to monitor and track cloud service usage,
costs, security, governance, etc.,” Bartoletti added.

Perks of multicloud

Interestingly, multicloud deployment has grown so quickly that it is on pace, or exceeding, the rollout of hy-
brid clouds, according to a recent Kentik survey.

Multicloud tools benefit organizations as a whole, but specifically development and operations teams,
according to Bartoletti.

This type of cloud computing also helps “development teams to accelerate self-service and delivery
speed, or operations teams to govern and control usage, costs, and security,” Bartoletti said.

The main benefits of using multicloud include avoiding vendor lock-in, customized solutions, minimized
risks, and cost savings, reported TechRepublic’s Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman.

Additionally, upon using the multicloud approach, organizations also experienced improved IT infrastruc-
ture management and flexibility (33%) and improved security and compliance (30%), the Virtustream
report found.

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These perks have proven so useful for organizations that nearly three in four enterprises said they plan to
reevaluate their cloud strategy within the next two years, resulting in more cloud adoption and investment,
the report added.

Top multicloud providers

With 98% of companies projected to use multiple hybrid clouds by 2021, according to the IBM Institute for
Business Value, organizations should be familiar with the major multicloud vendors.

Most major cloud providers offer multicloud support, meaning Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft
Azure, Google Cloud Platform can all be--and often are--paired together for multicloud use.

The majority of multicloud users (58%) said they are actively using more than one of the three major cloud
services providers above, according to the Kentik report. The most common combination of cloud ser-
vices organizations said they use include AWS and Azure, the report added.

However, using well-known and reliable multicloud vendors doesn’t mean there won’t be bumps in the
road or obstacles along the way. This is where multicloud management tools come in.

The best multicloud management tools

There are two main categories of multicloud management tools: Hybrid cloud management and multicloud
management as part of a broader solution, according to Grant Kirkwood, CTO and co-found of hybrid
cloud solution organization Unitas Global.

Not many standalone tools really exist, Kirkwood said, with IBM’s Multicloud Manager perhaps being one
of the first. “These types of standalone tools were implemented as point-solutions over the past five or so
years,” Kirkwood continued. “They originated in the early days of hybrid cloud by making a single work-
load span multiple clouds in a true hybrid cloud configuration. Spanning single workloads across clouds
isn’t as popular as expected, in part because it’s relatively complicated for relatively minor gains.”

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Hybrid cloud management

Hybrid multicloud management tools are the most popular and developed form of tools. Forrester re-
leased an analysis of the best hybrid cloud management vendors in its recent Hybrid Cloud Manage-
ment Wave report, where vendors were required to have “core capabilities in multicloud management
across workloads.”

The report identified the following four vendors as leaders in the enterprise:
1. RightScale
2. Scalr
3. VMware
4. Embotics

The following seven were named “strong” choices:


1. CloudHealth Technologies
2. HyperGrid
3. Turbonomic
4. Cisco
5. Micro Focus
6. BMS Software
7. Red Hat

Multicloud management as part of a broader solution

Also in the earlier stages of development, multicloud is beginning to be integrated or added onto estab-
lished IT resources, Kirkwood said.

“The most prevalent tool of this sort is ServiceNow, because it offers more than just cloud management,”
Kirkwood noted. “The platform makes multicloud management easier by integrating it with the rest of an
enterprise’s IT needs. This means that all of ServiceNow’s other capabilities become part of the multicloud
management, so that users no longer have to integrate different tools in different silos. It is all built-in and
native which, from a user experience perspective, is much better. A lot of enterprises already have Servi-
ceNow or are in the process of implementing it.”

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Because of the wide functionality of solutions like ServiceNow, standalone point solutions will have difficul-
ty gaining ground, Kirkwood added.

How to choose the right multicloud management tool

When deciding which multicloud management tool to use, the crucial factor to consider is user experi-
ence, said Todd Matters, chief architect and co-founder of RackWare. “Organizations must consider how
much training is demanded of the user, as well as how much that user must understand the underlying
cloud technology to achieve the application end goals.”

As with any digital transformation initiative, companies must consider the reasoning and goals behind the
movement, added Kirkwood.

“There are a lot of reasons that companies look to a multicloud management tool, so defining the ‘why’
first and then aligning that with the market will ensure the best fit,” Kirkwood continued. “Enterprises should
also consider the capabilities of the tools that they aren’t looking at. This is helpful to create use cases that
you may not have thought about as part of the original requirements.”

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WHY VMWARE’S KUBERNETES


INVESTMENT WILL SHAPE YOUR
MULTICLOUD STRATEGY
A lesson on the past, present, and future of cloud from the VMware playbook.
BY ASHA BARBASCHOW

Multicloud -- the use of multiple cloud computing and storage services from different vendors -- has been
talked about for a long time, but it has not widely been embraced or adopted. That’s mostly because in
order for a company to embrace multiple clouds, they first need to embrace a single cloud, and then em-
brace a second one to get, by definition, to multicloud.

A single cloud already has its own set of security, compliance, and operational challenges, and to go off
and repeat that process for a second cloud is a whole other body of work. This is the sweet spot that a
vendor like VMware sits, offering a uniform layer for customers so they do not have to learn the nuances
of individual public clouds one after the next.

VMware has been spruiking the multicloud message for a few years; at a glance it’s a way to avoid
vendor lock-in and allows for wiggle room on price. To VMware SVP and GM for Cloud Native Applications
Paul Fazzone, it’s a lot more than that.

“I think it’s not unlike what we saw a little over a decade and a half ago with the rise of server virtualisation.
If you remember way back when, server vendors were starting to introduce very specific -- vendor-spe-
cific hardware capabilities to complement the x86 feature set that the typical server would present to the
system administrator and that inevitably led to system administrators potentially getting locked into one
server vendor over another,” Fazzone told ZDNet.

Multicloud might be the rise of the customer that has the ability to play vendors off against each other, but
to VMware, Kubernetes will be what makes that possible.

VMware believes Kubernetes will prove to be the cloud normalisation layer of the future. According to
Fazzone, customers that take advantage of Kubernetes and are able to deploy and operationalise
applications in a Kubernetes environment, will have the advantage of leveraging that in a uniform way,
across any cloud.
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In brief, Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of
containerised applications. It’s increasingly the container orchestration program of choice for many.

VMware offers three different approaches to running Kubernetes in production: VMware Essential PKS,
VMware Enterprise PKS, and VMware Cloud PKS. It’s worth checking out the in-depth summary of each
from ZDNet’s Steven J Vaughan-Nichols.

Supporting the company’s Kubernetes play was its November acquisition of Heptio -- founded in 2016 by
Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie, two of Kubernetes’ creators while it was still at Google.

Continuing its shopping spree, VMware picked up Bitnami in May. Bitnami builds and packages open
source ISP software for Kubernetes environments across any cloud, again, in a uniform and consistent
way.

VMware expects Bitnami will enable customers to easily deploy application packages on any cloud in the
most optimal format -- virtual machine, containers, and Kubernetes helm charts.

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While the company is banking on Kubernetes, it’s also ensuring it forges partnerships with the big cloud
vendors so its customers can actually have this cloud choice it’s leaning so heavily on.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware formed a once-unlikely partnership back in 2016. The two
companies have since announced game-changing offerings for their customers, such as VMware Cloud
on AWS and in November AWS Outposts, which allows customers to consume AWS’s own data center
hardware on-premises.

There’s also Microsoft, IBM, Google, and China’s Alibaba.

But which cloud should you choose?

According to Fazzone, picking a specific cloud will remain a decision made by a specific use-case. He
believes the big differentiator is the different types of developer-specific tools that shine through on one
cloud versus another.

“Amazon certainly has breadth -- it certainly has the broadest range of developer tools out there -- but oth-
er clouds like Google have very deep expertise in things like machine learning and artificial intelligence,”
he explained.

A tip he offered is to really understand what the needs of the specific development teams are, and evalu-
ate the clouds based developer services.

“To organisations that are trying to get their heads wrapped around a multicloud strategy, we guide them
towards basically not picking -- don’t anoint a single winner,” Fazzone said. “It’s kind of like 10-15 years ago
if you picked a single server vendor and said, ‘I’m only buying the server from vendor A, B, or C,’ those
vendors would get you in a situation where you had no ability to negotiate pricing with another vendor.”

This situation is not all that different.

On the other hand, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) capabilities across all public clouds are fairly consis-
tent, so with the economies of scale being on the customer’s side, a large part of the decision will inevita-
bly come down to cost. But that cost needs to be matched with efficiency. It’s then VMware’s job to then
make all of the clouds operationally consistent.

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“I have a number of examples of customers who have woken up six months, eight months, nine months, 18
months into their public cloud journey with a public cloud bill so large that they had to curtail other areas of
their spending and budget for that fiscal year,” Fazzone said.

“And when they analyse running those same applications in their private cloud environment, they realise
that they’d gone a little bit overboard.”

Consumption should be the consideration.

“It’s kind of like if you take your child to a self-serve ice cream or frozen yogurt place and you’ve given
them the largest cup, and you go over to the machine and you pull on the handle until you’re done --
that’s just like consumers, they will consume until there is nothing left to consume. Just like frozen yogurt,”
he explained.

What many people don’t realise as they consume, however, is the cost implications of their consumption.
And then when they no longer need that service, many aren’t actually turning it off in an efficient way.

VMware, however, intends to help customers take advantage of price competition to extract the most
value they can.

“I think there’s a there’s going to be a lot of price competition in the multicloud war,” Fazzone continued.

“A lot of folks when they started talking about public cloud for enterprise at the same time predicted the
demise of a private cloud, and in fact that’s actually going the other way -- a private cloud still continues to
grow as public cloud is going through its growth spurt.”
While Fazzone expects that trend to continue, he said customers are going to need to get their arms
around both simultaneously to be able to operate most efficiently.

“Beyond that, or on top of that, I think you’re going to see more enterprise oriented developer services
emerge and I think Kubernetes is a very strong base layer for that to happen,” he said.

“You look at how Kubernetes itself was developed and built and is now operated, it sets the foundation for
the next wave of modern enterprise development services. And I think this will allow customers to

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effectively normalise those app development services the same way they’re looking to normalise infra-
structure services today.”

According to Fazzone, the next wave beyond this is what are the services provided on top of Kubernetes
to provide a full range of enterprise-ready developer services in a way that is truly multicloud.

“We believe that Kubernetes is really going to emerge as the next enterprise middleware platform. And if
you think about the importance of middleware platforms over the last decade and how they became the
foundation for enterprise applications development, you can very clearly see why the Kubernetes space is
so important,” he concluded.

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Image: Getty
Images/iStockphoto

CIO JURY: ONLY HALF OF CIOS SAY


CLOUD VENDORS ARE LIVING UP TO
THEIR EXPECTATIONS
Cloud vendors are providing ease of use and cost savings, but challenges remain.
BY ALISON DENISCO RAYOME

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Enterprises and developers are increasingly turning to multiple cloud vendors for cloud services. Top
vendors in the space include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Plat-
form.

While many cloud providers promise increased flexibility, cost savings, and customization, tech profes-
sionals must carefully consider factors including security, visibility, and automation when choosing a cloud
vendor. However, many IT professionals have reported discrepancies between cloud expectations and
reality: Only one third said they achieved cloud expectations around cost, speed, business enablement,
and service levels after migration, according to a recent Accenture report.

We polled the TechRepublic CIO Jury to determine whether or not senior IT leaders were seeing expect-
ed results from cloud deployments. When asked, “Are your cloud vendors living up to your expectations
(in terms of things like ROI, ease of implementation, etc.)?” six tech leaders said yes, while six said no.

Meeting expectations

“I am happy with our cloud vendors,” said John C. Gracyalny, vice president of digital member services at
Coast Central Credit Union. “Due to our geographical location, we sometimes have telecommunications
challenges, but I have always found what I consider to be the ‘Tier 1’ vendors such as AWS, Azure and
Google to be very solid and reliable partners. It would be very difficult to do business without them.”

For the Texas General Land Office, cloud solutions have typically been easy to implement and included a
number of different features, said CIO Cory Wilburn. However, “costs have been higher than we anticipat-
ed,” Wilburn added. “That said, cost is not the only reason to use a cloud service, there are many factors
to consider. We see cloud as a strategic enabler, another tool in our toolkit.”

The pace of innovation and ease of deployment has made AWS a positive choice for Keeper Security,
according to CTO and co-founder Craig Lurey.

An organization’s cloud experience often varies depending upon the vendor, said Dan Gallivan, director of
information technology at Payette. The major players like Microsoft are developing very user-friendly cloud
services ranging in scale from SMB to the enterprise for reasonable costs, he added.

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However, “I think it will be tough for private cloud to remain competitive with pricing and will need to focus
on experience and management to be relevant,” Gallivan said. “ROI has been attractive as capital ex-
pense keeps dropping, operating expenses fluctuate with the business but in a fairly predictable model.”

Concerns remain with the cloud when it comes to privacy and GDPR compliance, said Kris Seeburn, an
independent IT consultant.

“It will take another set of years before we can really see ROI,” Seeburn said. “[Cloud] diminishes the cost
of not having [as much] IT, but it also means we do need many IUT pros to handle the security and the
changes. We have to compare the reality of all the costs together--it is not just migrating to the cloud.”

It’s possible that coming 5G networks will make a difference, he added.

Not meeting expectations

Among the IT leaders who said their cloud vendors were not meeting their expectations, “that doesn’t
mean were are not finding high value cloud services or providers though,” said Jerry Justice, CIO of Ben-
esch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP. “One misperception is that cloud is simple and just you connect
to it—it is not. Like premise-based services it is a complex ecosystem that is ever-evolving (faster, hopeful-
ly). It takes ongoing diligence to get it right, from governance, data security and minimizing silos to proper
integration strategy. The goal with cloud is that you have less of a ‘nuts and bolts’ delivery model, more of
a value-based orchestrated model.”

While cloud vendors continue to make leveraging their services easier, the challenge comes in when
trying to stitch together multiple vendors to deliver one integrated solution, said Derek Knudsen, CTO at
Alteryx.

“Most of our vendors have varying levels of maturity in aspects of their service catalogs, which results in us
having to use our own integration skills to create the most complete solution,” Knudsen said. “This spans
not only the Amazons and Microsofts of the world but the Salesforces, Workdays, and NetSuites as well,
which means we will need to be in the integration game for the foreseeable future.”

While VectorCSP has found value in the Microsoft Azure directory, challenges remain, said director of IT
services David Wilson. “New ‘features’ are rolled out without thought to the necessary stability in their

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client’s workforce, and updates have caused general lack of access to critical data more than once, lead-
ing us to a hybrid system where everything and anything important is kept on local servers and backed up
to an entirely different system,” Wilson said.

Eric Shashoua, CEO of Kiwi for Gmail, said his firm has taken a multicloud approach specifically because
the different cloud providers vary extensively on quality, price, and types of services offered.

“Each of the services we use has been majorly inadequate in some way, causing us to have to use one of
their competitors to shore them up where they’re weak,” Shashoua said.

Members of the CIO Jury included:

•• Jerry Justice, CIO, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP


•• Cory Wilburn, CIO, Texas General Land Office
•• John C. Gracyalny, vice president of digital member services, Coast Central Credit Union
•• Dan Gallivan, director of information technology, Payette
•• Timothy Wenhold, CIO, Power Home Remodeling
•• Kris Seeburn, independent IT consultant
•• Jeff Kopp, technology director, Christ the King Catholic School
•• David Wilson, director of IT services, VectorCSP
•• Craig Lurey, CTO and co-founder, Keeper Security
•• Johan den Haan, CTO, Mendix
•• Derek Knudsen, CTO, Alteryx
•• Eric Shashoua, CEO, Kiwi for Gmail

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Image: Getty
Images/iStockphoto

HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL


DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN USING
MULTICLOUD TECHNOLOGY
When disaster strikes a data center, you need to be sure recovery efforts are as smooth as possible.
One of the best ways to do that is to use multiple cloud providers to back up essential data.
BY BRANDON VIGLIAROLO

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Fires, power outages, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes--those are just a few of the events that
could cause a data center disaster. Once the dust settles (or even before), the most important task for IT is
to recover from the disaster and get everything back to working order--this is where backups come in.

But what if the disaster that befell your data center isn’t localized? What if your cloud provider suffers a
sudden outage, or the virtual machines that store your data are damaged? You may be looking at a no-win
scenario in which countless bits and bytes of essential data are lost forever.

Putting all your eggs in one backup basket (be it local or cloud based) makes recovery dependent on the
integrity of that single backup.

So, how can you make extra sure your disaster recovery plan works? By making backups all over the web,
both in multiple clouds and in multiple locations.

What you need is a multicloud disaster recovery plan.

What is multicloud disaster recovery?

At its most basic, multicloud disaster recovery is simply making sure your data is backed up on more than
one cloud provider. For many businesses, multicloud backups can be as simple as storing essential data
with multiple providers, like Google Cloud and Amazon AWS.

Major cloud providers like Google even offer automated backups from platforms like Amazon S3, ensuring
that essential web apps and data are regularly being synced to two locations.

So while multicloud disaster recovery is simple in theory, the actual implementation and management of it
can become complicated quite quickly.

Why are multiple clouds important?

If your reasons for investing in multicloud technology are primarily for backup and recovery, then your con-
siderations are primarily going to be the geographical location of provider data centers. Large providers
like Google, AWS, and Microsoft have data centers scattered throughout the country, and it’s essential that
all of your multiple clouds (however many that may be) are located as far apart as possible.

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Geographical distance can make all the difference when it comes to improving your resilience to disaster.
It’s nearly impossible that problems affecting a data center located on the West Coast, for example, will
also be affecting one on the East Coast.

Here’s where the multi in multicloud comes into play: If you have a single cloud provider for disaster re-
covery and one of its data centers goes offline, there’s no guarantee data stored in its other data centers
will be readily accessible.

In cases where one data center drops off, load balancing becomes a serious issue: All the provider’s
other clients will start trying to reach other data centers, which means their data--and yours--is going to be
trapped behind a glut of traffic that could slow, or even kill, a connection.

If you split your backups between two providers in two locations, you won’t need to worry about that near-
ly as much: It’s practically impossible that multiple providers will go offline in the same place at the same
time (barring a huge natural disaster), so if you lose one virtual server, you can hop to your other provider
without issue.

How do I implement a multicloud disaster recovery plan?

Planning your initiative from start to finish is essential. Determining goals, figuring out who needs to be in-
volved, choosing the right tools, and setting a timetable are all part of a successful multicloud backup and
disaster recovery initiative.

One of the biggest considerations when getting started with multicloud backups is the locations of provid-
er data centers. Make sure you choose at least two providers that will let you select where data is stored,
and that all those providers’ data centers are in very different locations.

Another important factor to consider is the skills of your IT employees when it comes to cloud providers.
Various providers have very different interfaces, and knowing one doesn’t mean an employee will be
familiar with another. Additional training can be performed, but it can be easier to choose providers your
team already knows well.

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If going about the process manually using multiple providers isn’t what you want, you can also opt to
choose a product that’s designed to do multicloud disaster recovery. Companies like Webscale and
CloudEndure offer multicloud disaster recovery tools that may be a better choice for companies that only
need to back up data and not manage web apps and other complicated tools.

Once you’ve moved through all the planning phases, chosen the right products, and started actively
backing up your data to multiple cloud providers, you can’t just rest on your laurels and hope everything is
working--you have to test, test, and then test your setup again.

Perform regular disaster recovery exercises that put stress on all the potential weak points of your setup.
This takes a lot of planning, especially if you’re going to cover all your bases. Engineer scenarios that put
your infrastructure, cloud providers, and even staff in stressful situations so you can find the chinks in your
data recovery armor.

There’s no mistaking the importance of business continuity in the modern data-driven world. Whether
you’re using multicloud data recovery tools simply to protect big data, to ensure webapps don’t go offline,
or as total backup and disaster recovery tools, proper use of multiple cloud providers can be the differ-
ence between a bump in the road and a major catastrophe.

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HOW TO SECURE YOUR MULTICLOUD


TO BOOST EFFICIENCY AND UPTIME
WHILE KEEPING DATA BREACHES AND
HACKERS AT BAY
A move to multicloud can deliver benefits to your organisation, but it also brings additional risks if not
configured correctly.
BY DANNY PALMER

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More and more organisations are turning to the cloud for their everyday enterprise software: Where previ-
ously each user had Microsoft Office installed on one machine, now Office 365 means they have access
to their documents and emails on any device, no matter where they are, so long as they have an internet
connection.

Organisations aren’t even locked into Microsoft any more: Enterprises can use Google Docs, for example,
or services from any number of cloud providers.

Enterprises are also starting to realise that it’s a good idea to use a variety of different cloud providers
across the organisation.

This ‘multicloud’ strategy -- using more than one cloud provider -- means that organisations are choosing
to spread their operations among public cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft
Azure or Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

Many are also deploying private clouds, as well as cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions
offered by the likes of Salesforce, Workday and many more.

There are benefits to embracing a multicloud strategy, as organisations can more easily find the services
they need, with more flexibility and likely at a lower cost than they would if they were locked into one ven-
dor’s platform.

It also provides additional stability for organisations, because in the event of a single cloud provider being
hit with an outage – be it due to the weather, power failures or a DDoS or any other type of cyberattack
– it means that the whole estate isn’t offline like it could be critical services are hit.

For example, when Office 365 has issues, the impacts have been felt by organisations of all sizes
around the globe.

However, deploying a multicloud environment isn’t without its challenges, especially when it comes to se-
curity. There are already numerous instances of organisations misconfiguing cloud environments to such
an extent that sensitive files have been left publicly facing the internet and with multicloud comes
more potential for this to happen.

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“As you have a bigger and more disparate environment, it brings a challenge. It allows you to innovate
really quickly because you’re spending less time on commodity infrastructure and services, but it also
gives you a potentially larger vulnerability landscape,” said James Hodge, chief technical advisor for EMEA
at Splunk.

“The unintended consequences of having an amazing capability to build on top of, is having a huge land-
scape to secure,” Hodge added.

Misconfiguration of a multicloud environment could therefore make it easier for cybercriminals and
hackers to target your organisation – but that’s only if the environment is set up poorly.

If the IT and security teams can get hands-on with the environment and get to know what’s really there
rather than being kept at arm’s length, it can go a long way to securing the multicloud.

“We’re still in a situation where we need viability before we can do anything, and if we don’t know the ser-
vices that are in use, then no surprise when there are security holes,” says Nigel Hawthorne, data privacy
expert at McAfee. “IT needs the power and visibility to take control of services that may be seen as rela-
tively benign”

Those deciding on cloud providers should also consider asking to know where the services operate out
of – because in order to balance out the risk of a security incident or downtime taking both services of-
fline, you need to make sure that the services aren’t based on the same infrastructure at the same data-
centre hub.

“You’ve got to realise that the single point of failure might not be what you think – you don’t want to have
contracts with two service providers and find they’re both hosted on the same infrastructure,” says Haw-
thorne.

A multicloud environment also brings another challenge: Ensuring that the users are secure in the environ-
ment and have access to what they need – but don’t have access to data or services they’re not autho-
rised to access which could potentially lead to security risks.

“The most fundamental security challenge when it comes to securing a multicloud environment is how to
allow users access in a consistent fashion without compromising security or giving them access to re-
sources they’re not authorised to view,” says Paul McKay, senior analyst on the security team at Forrester.

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However, this can become problematic a multicloud environment as many providers will provide their own
authentication methods and mechanisms for securing their own systems. But some cases, solution provid-
ers means of securing their environments can be incompatible with others – or even the software organi-
sations use to manage this issue.

“Managing that tension is an important thing to try and counter,” says McKay.

But if this can be managed by using the right tools or employing the right training, there are advantages
to a multicloud environment which can help to bolster the overall security– and potentially allow users to
more quickly identify suspicious activity of the network.

“If you bring strong governance behind your cloud environments, it becomes much easier to see what’s
inside those environments. So if you do have someone spin up AWS instances, you can quickly identify
something has happened and act,” says Hodge.

“In a traditional datacentre, it can be a lot harder to notice those changes because all of it’s in your control,
whereas in a cloud environment, it becomes a lot easier to understand what’s inside and outside your
boundaries,” he adds.

If managed properly, a multicloud environment can also help organisations root out problems associated
with legacy systems.

“In an existing on premise environment, there’s a lot of legacy debt which has been set up as a result of
things which were done 20 or 30 years ago which are now difficult, costly or impossible to secure,” says
McKay.

Of course, a cloud provider can never 100 percent guarantee security of their environment, but it’s their
core business, so if they get it badly wrong it will be catastrophic.

That’s why they have huge teams dedicated to security, which might be able to a better job than an or-
ganisation can do with its own cloud or datacentre services – and that’s a tempting reason for organisa-
tions to switch to a cloud or multicloud environment.

“A well-secured and well-managed cloud environment is more secure than a badly configured, not-well
managed on-premise environment,” says McKay.

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SPECIAL FEATURE: MANAGING THE MULTICLOUD

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