Multicloud management refers to the practices, technology, and techniques used in combining disparate cloud services into a single logical system. Multicloud, in this most general sense, is the combination of two or more cloud services, implying that each organization will have their own multicloud management strategy based on the services the business requires for their unique set of needs. Multicloud leaves the door wide open for many options, including any combination of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. This can lead to cloud configurations that include on-premise private clouds, hybrid clouds, and public clouds, while serving multiple locations and edge sites.
Because of the ensuing complexity possible in multicloud configurations, management and governance centralization is the main tenet of multicloud management, ideally implemented through multicloud management platforms (also cloud management platforms) that aim to create a single-pane-of-glass view of all cloud resources. To this end these platforms provide consistency in deploying applications to multiple environments, maintaining security and compliance policies across platforms, and drawing insights and visualizations based on monitoring of event and log data.
Multicloud management platforms feature capabilities found in cost management apps, automation software, and infrastructure monitoring software. They are capable of:
Organizations deploying multicloud configurations, for business and technological strategic reasons. Operationally, multicloud refers to the use of multiple services from the public cloud from more than one cloud vendor or provider. Interconnecting Google Cloud, with Salesforce, Quickbooks, and MailChimp would be considered a multicloud setup. When enterprises use multicloud they typically will use platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) from more than one cloud provider, like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle, IBM Cloud, or Alibaba Cloud, in order to build in redundancy, scalability, and localization of resources into their overall IT infrastructure.
The key multicloud enabling technologies include:
Overall, the main benefit of multicloud configurations and using multicloud management platforms is to avoid vendor lock-in—the complete reliance on a single vendor without an immediate ability to or the impracticality (financially, technically) of switching to another vendor. Vendor lock-in is lower at more fundamental levels of cloud services, for example, if using only IaaS, then transferring data stores may be more straightforward than retrieving data locked in a PaaS solution data structures. In the case of PaaS data, if the vendor simply does not offer an export feature, chances for vendor lock-in are high.
Specific benefits of multicloud management include:
In general, multicloud management aims to simplify the growing complexities in today's modern cloud configurations. As organizational IT resources spread out across and include multiple vendors, locations, and environments, these complexities pose tracking problems for teams that manually monitor their clouds.
Manually monitoring multicloud configurations demands teams to manage:
Multicloud management works by centralizing multiple cloud services under a platform that orchestrates workloads across clouds. Powerful analytics tie data together into a single source of truth, granting organizations unprecedented insight and control over their clouds. These platforms are often open-source, making them highly supported across cloud providers.
Moving workloads is a primary function of multicloud, and key enabling technologies include Kubernetes, and Docker. These technologies create the container and container orchestration that allows for portable workloads to move across clouds. This is where cloud management platforms come in to help enforce policies across all your cloud environments.
Best practices will adjust over time, but the following ones will help teams approach their multicloud configurations. Generally, utilizing the technological advantages of the cloud is the base for many best practices.
Multicloud management platforms help companies tie together multiple cloud services under a centralized management system. According to the software review site G2, the top 10 most popular cloud management platforms are (in no particular order):