Webinar: Building a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy

Read time 4min 40sec

Businesses across SA are looking at implementing hybrid and multi-cloud strategies to take advantage of the strengths of several providers, and sharing workloads between each, opting for the services that give the greatest flexibility, reliability, best features, or come at a more compelling price point.

However, when it comes to building a multi-cloud strategy many organisations don’t know where to start, and risk falling into certain traps.

Lack of controls

Louis van Schalkwyk, technical operations at Digicloud Africa, says the most common pitfall his organisation sees is a lack of controls around multi-cloud and hybrid infrastructures that expose enterprises to higher costs and security risks.

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“To overcome this, often IT teams will have a preferred cloud vendor and then stick to that provider for all services. With hybrid and multi-cloud you should take advantage of what all the cloud providers have to offer.”

According to him, when implementing hybrid or multi-cloud organisations must choose what they want to optimise for, cost, efficiency, scalability, durability, reliability and suchlike.

“With an optimisation reason in place organisations can evaluate and implement managed services as appropriate. A major consideration with hybrid and multi-cloud is whether to use managed services or compute or VMs only. The former might provide lower cost and higher availability while the latter offers a more portable solution, meaning it’s easy to migrate to another cloud or back to on-prem if the requirement ever comes up.”

Van Schalkwyk says networking is also a critical component that must be done right when implementing multi-cloud. “Companies have to ensure that all dependencies of a workload are considered when moving to the cloud in a way that latency isn’t introduced.”

Moreover, he says organisations must ensure they fully understand licensing requirements when moving to the cloud, whether their current licensing can be used in the cloud or whether they need to purchase licenses again. This is often overlooked when planning a move to the cloud.

Choosing the right provider

When it comes to the steps to take when building a successful hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, Sizwe Mabanga, customer engineer at Digicloud, says one of the most important steps is choosing the correct primary cloud service provider. “Different clouds are better or more cost efficient at different things and it is important to always be able to access the best of all the different cloud providers. Yet this presents a new problem of architectural complexity which often leads to ballooning cloud expenditure and a larger attack surface for hackers.”

Mabanga says a primary cloud provider should provide security and identity access management, as a lack of management of users and security across all the cloud footprint will expose the business” to unnecessary breaches and costs. Have a strong, well-reasoned strategy around this.”

Next, he says to look for cloud provider agnostic solutions. “Cloud solutions can often lock the organisation into a specific cloud provider or can make integration with on-prem and other cloud providers’ services difficult. Choose a primary cloud provider that actively encourages hybrid of multi-cloud approaches with solutions that are fundamentally agnostic to which cloud you wish to run your workloads on.”


Architectural transparency is also key, says Mabanga. “The ability in enterprise architecture to quickly and easily identify what is running where with what configuration is key to maintaining a four nines (99.99%) SLA. Choose a primary cloud provider that allows you to see your whole infrastructure and drill down into details, wherever it may be running.”

Once your primary cloud provider has solved the above you are free to use the services of all other cloud providers and your local datacenter without exposing yourself to security, lock-in and SLA management issues, adds Mabanga.

“Then start small. Test your 'cloud legs' with a couple of use cases and once you are ready, move quickly in order to avoid incurring dual costs,” adds van Schalkwyk.

Offering a piece of advice to companies who are embarking on a multi-cloud journey, van Schalkwyk says: “First identify the primary reason for hybrid or multi-cloud and then architect your solution around that. It’s often a trade-off between vendor lock-in and performance, scale, or portability of applications.”

Google’s Anthos solution is positioned as the ‘safe bet for the next 15 plus years’. Using Anthos you’re able to run your applications’ security across multiple clouds (and on-prem), which offers the flexibility of the cloud while giving you portable workload management.

Mabanga and van Schalkwyk will be presenting on Building a successful, hybrid, multi-cloud strategy during an ITWeb webinar held in partnership with Digicloud Africa, on Thursday 12 November 2020. 

Attendees will hear about Google’s Cloud Platform and how it is designed to simplify and consolidate enterprise architecture by giving absolute security, freeing users from lock-in, and enabling businesses to meet their “four nines SLA”.

This webinar is part of series, Re-imagining cloud in a post-COVID world, from 10-12 November.

[PICTURE] take a screenshot from the webinar page, right hand side of the screen

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