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Choosing the cloud today: consistency, not complexity, is the key

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In recent times, the range of cloud options available has expanded rapidly, and Hervé Renault, Vice President Cloud EMEA at VMware tells what the criteria can be followed when choosing

As the world begins to timidly return to normal, we are faced with something we have not had much to do with in the last year: choice. Now we can go back to choosing where to go for dinner, where to exercise, socialize, shop. We also find this renewed possibility of choice in a technology that, in the last year, has proved to be fundamental for our lives: the cloud. The range of cloud options available to businesses has expanded rapidly as the use of modern apps – which rely on the hybridization and flexibility that multi-cloud environments provide – has exploded to meet new and diverse customer expectations.

In theory, this broad offering should meet every potential need and put an end to many common cloud barriers.

The situation is actually more complex. Many organizations, in fact, are still coming to terms with the legacy of an uncontrolled, poorly managed and poorly supported choice, and this has created as much diversity as complexity in the cloud. Sylvian Rouri, Chief Sales Officer of OVHcloud,perfectly summed up why this complexity has become a problem:”Right now, the risk is to lose control of the activities and the business,”he said.

“Tosolve this threat,”he argues, “we need to bring much more transparency to the cloud, realizing a development that is reversible from a design point of view and allows roaming between clouds.” The challenge facing businesses, and in particular their IT teams, today is find the perfect balance between control and choice.

Let yourself be guided by apps

Modern applications will soon surpass traditional ones, and as a result, an organization’s ability to keep up with this change is becoming the most important differentiator in determining business success. Companies and their IT teams need to understand how to take advantage of this innovation, without introducing additional risks and uncertainties, and they need to be able to do so quickly.

In its purest form, the answer to these needs lies precisely in the cloud, which represents, de facto, the tool to modernize applications. However, in many enterprises, the ability to innovate and modernize through the cloud is often stifled by the associated complexity that in many cases is affecting the pace of app modernization and migration to the cloud and the experiences offered to end users. Without forgetting that greater complexity makes the life of the IT team absolutely more difficult, creating management and security silos.

Untangnging this complexity “manually” would take too much time and money for IT teams. Instead, many companies are choosing to adopt a multi-cloud strategy that allows their IT teams to break down on complexity,offering greater consistency and better flexibility. The question that arises is: how exactly does the multi-cloud achieve these results?

The comfort zone of the cloud

The hybridization of a multi-cloud model offers a coherent infrastructure,capable of evolving and extending a modern cloud infrastructure to thousands of other partners. It also ensures operational consistency by providing unified management and security that improves flexibility while avoiding complexity and preventing cloud lock-in.

Why is such an approach so important? Each cloud provider has its own software toolkit, provisioning portals, management software, and monitoring capabilities, all of which are fully functional and adapted within that specific cloud environment. If you are using only one provider, the management is quite simple. However, relying on a single cloud provider is no longer feasible today, because each cloud has its own unique and differentiating characteristics, and each company has its own motivations – technical, economic, geographical or regulatory – to rely on one or another.

Forrester research confirms this, predicting that companies will manage an average of 8.7 public clouds by 2023. The coexistence of clouds helps explain why a strategic approach that focuses on the role of each environment in concretely contributing to business results is so important. Without it, IT teams would need diverse teams of people with the specific skills that can handle the requirements of each individual cloud the company uses— a prospect that is unrealistic both in terms of cost and availability of resources with the appropriate skills. With a single cloud management platform, IT teams have a single toolkit that allows them to manage all the clouds within the infrastructure.

In addition to reducing complexity and simplifying management, this makes cloud environments reversible by design.

We’ve seen – and continue to see – many of our customers who, after quickly moving to the cloud, are taken by surprise when they realize that it grows faster than they expected, often generating excessive usage and much higher costs than budgeted.

Companies that are in a similar situation need to be able to change their course and have the flexibility to move workloads both in and out of the cloud, based on their needs. A consistent approach to the cloud allows IT teams to establish security, latency, and governance policies around a workload, so that they remain healthy wherever the workload is moved and the application functions optimally wherever it is hosted.

One of our customers, Salvatore Cassara, CIO of SGB-SMIT Group, explains how his organization has benefited from this multi-cloud model, and the consistency it achieves regarding daily access to data: “In thecompany we have a multi-cloud solution consisting of various providers and a private cloud: VMware helps bring them all together,”he

said. “Itallows us, for example, to insert and protect the most sensitive data within our private cloud, and distribute the rest through other providers. This model makes data available to those who need it, exactly when they need it.”

Modernizing Applications for IT

In addition to the obvious practical benefits of this renewed consistency, we must also and above all remember the operational benefits for IT teams. Having the freedom to take existing applications, move them to their preferred cloud, and use the native services of that particular cloud eliminates the need to maintain old application instances, making it easier for businesses to eliminate downtime as applications move to more modern platforms. This portability also allows IT teams to provide better services to lines of business because they don’t have to worry about the application and can instead focus on basic support in the form of back-up, networking, security, governance, and so on.

The adoption of a multi-cloud strategy facilitates from a technical, commercial and strategic point of view companies and their IT teams, offering consistency, not complexity.

This acceleration of cloud capabilities, and the resulting impact it will have on application modernization, is a very positive aspect of the last year that we must maintain and continue to develop. The cloud should not be seen as something to take or leave, but as a technology that needs to be continuously powered throughout its growth path and that is enhanced, and not limited, precisely by choice.