Interoperable Multi-cloud: the advantage of unified data management

5 min

More and more companies are choosing cloud storage. Almost every organization, more or less consciously, is already using multiple storage spaces online. In this article, you’ll find a short guide to understand what the Cloud is, what kind of storage exists, and what is the best Multi-cloud strategy to manage multiple spaces simultaneously.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing can be defined as access via the network (Internet) to servers, data storage but also applications. These computing resources are located on a remote data center managed by the provider who owns the cloud services.

This storage space available on the network was born from the need to create a memory accessible from anywhere, by multiple people, at any time, and, above all, with any device that has access to the Internet. This will wean us off physical devices: “My pc is lost?” No problem, I can access my customers’ data from my smartphone or from another PC. At the same time, I will be able to limit access on the “old” device.

When choosing the most suitable Cloud for your business, you should consider multiple parameters. First of all, the type of technical infrastructure, then the costs we are willing to pay, and finally, the platform that fills the needs of the IT team that will operate on it.

What is meant by IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

Among the various types of Cloud Computing services currently available, we find: “Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).” These allow companies to simplify their lives by delegating everything related to infrastructure management and maintenance to third-party entities. In other words, the company will only have to access the Internet, connect to the service/platform/infrastructure it needs and start operating.

In particular, SaaS are services that any user can access without deep IT knowledge. Some examples are the tools we use to chat with colleagues, video call clients, and organize global meeting presentations. PaaS and IaaS, on the other hand, are services used by IT department. With Platform as a Service, you access an environment that is equipped with all the tools to develop, manage and run the software. In contrast, Infrastructure as a Service allows you to access via the Internet and external infrastructure managed by a third party.

Cloud providers are moving to offer as many services as possible in a single package; nevertheless, it’s unlikely for an organization to find everything it needs from a single cloud provider. This raises the need to manage multiple clouds simultaneously through a well-designed multi-cloud strategy.

The different types of Cloud

Before analyzing the multi-cloud strategy, it is useful to understand the difference among Cloud Computing architectures that will host services. Within a single company, data can be stored in different ways.

  • On-premise digital storage: the infrastructure is located on the company’s premises; data is stored and managed through software that only the organization can access.
  • Private cloud: the infrastructure is provided by a third party but entirely dedicated to the service buyer. The cloud provider benefits from economies of scale: it spreads costs (e.g., maintenance, updates, etc.) over multiple hardware, reaching efficiency levels that would be impossible for a single company. This solution, therefore, reduces costs while maintaining high-security standards: customers have exclusive access to the infrastructure containing data.
  • Public cloud: the infrastructure is provided externally without exclusivity. In other words, data from multiple companies are stored in a single hardware. Clearly, each customer will have a different interface to access their data. This solution has strong cost advantages in that cloud providers can efficiently exploit the infrastructure, making the service less expensive and more accessible even for SMEs.
  • Hybrid Cloud: combines private and public Clouds to leverage the benefits of the two services: highest security on sensitive data and minimum costs on others.

Using a Multi-cloud strategy means having insight, knowledge, and management of where your data resides. Click To Tweet

Multi-cloud strategy: from classic to interoperable

Surrounded by a fast-paced, changing world, companies choose to define their own strategy and create software applications in-house. What’s needed is a cloud that allows your IT team to configure, run and enhance responsive applications in modern, dynamic environments. This is possible thanks to the technologies offered by native Cloud solutions. That’s why every organization ends up turning to multiple Clouds simultaneously. And how to manage them? Every business needs to find the best strategy that allows them to manage the different storages efficiently.

The Multi-cloud strategy also plays an important role in business resilience: turning to a single Cloud provider is a potential danger as all our data is concentrated in one place/provider. In this case, we can choose between two different approaches:

  • the “classic” Multi-cloud strategy, which involves using different Clouds separately, without any connection among them.
  • the “interoperable” Multi-cloud strategy, instead, aims to leverage the ability of a system to work using multiple Clouds efficiently. In other words, it allows multiple storage spaces to be integrated and managed simultaneously smartly and effectively. It’s all about cross-platform communication, process sharing, and database interaction. Interoperability requires a single Cloud Management System that can track the performance of the various Clouds and manage processes within them.

Clearly, we should also consider the cons: a greater economic and “physical” effort is required to achieve interoperability. In fact, the IT department must do the difficult work of redesigning processes, optimizing workflows, and letting Clouds communicate with each other. This must be done by involving the entire business to work in synergy, associating changes in working methods with newly available tools.

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What are the benefits of an interoperable multi-cloud?

The significant effort that organizations face while implementing an interoperable multi-cloud strategy is compensated by long run results. But why are organizations choosing the interoperable approach?

  • One of the most important pros is security. The multi-cloud architecture requires a “command platform” (Cloud Management System) through which it is possible to manage accesses, to know at any time the structure of the Cloud, the processes, and to know and manage the different storage spaces in which data resides.
  • Boost business performance: thanks to the communication between platforms, it is possible to make processes more efficient, reducing bottlenecks and slowdowns. This, in addition to increasing performance, can lighten the workload for all colleagues.
  • Last but not least, interoperability enables learning how to operate in multiple clouds and the internal generation of those talents and skills that are hard to find externally: transversal skills and critical observation.

It is increasingly vital to have a well-defined strategy for storing digital data in this historical era. Even if it is challenging to reach interoperability, it is still useful to analyze the different “silos” in which the data resides to be aware of which clouds are being used and, if necessary, to make targeted optimizations.

– Article written by Giovanni Andreose –

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