No-one knows exactly where the cloud is going to be in 12 months’ time. But as Ed Owen, EMEA Cloud Sales Manager at Zerto explains, the marketplace for services becomes more diverse and organisations are permitted greater freedom of choice which best suit their applications.
Hybrid cloud was the first real instance where we saw this combination; IT teams realised that they could get the best of security and scalability by combining on-premises solutions with third party, public providers. Multi cloud is the same concept, but goes one step further than hybrid cloud, and channel partners are uniquely positioned to advise IT customers on how they can make the most of their IT environments by taking advantage of this latest trend.
What is ‘multi cloud’ and where does the channel fit in?
The term ‘multi cloud’ is used to describe an IT environment that is built from multiple cloud services – this could be any combination of private, public and on-premises. More often than not a multi-cloud strategy will include at least one public cloud provider, the likes of AWS or Azure, for example. By taking a ‘mix and match’ approach organisations are able to select the best solutions and services for the individual needs of each workload, providing much needed flexibility to change as and when IT and business priorities do – all while avoiding vendor lock-in.
However, research reported by IDC showed that, while 40% of European organisations already stretch applications across multiple clouds, only a few pioneers have a policy that is viable long term because organisations are not making the necessary technology and process adjustments.
Managing multiple clouds requires great skill and understanding of each platform, and without this, organisations run the risk of bypassing any benefit at all. With this in mind, the time is absolutely now for channel partners, particularly cloud service providers (CSPs), to help demonstrate the value of adopting a versatile cloud strategy. In turn, they can expect healthy margins.
Known for their ability to find the best in each cloud, CSPs are well equipped to assist organisations with the deployment, management and upgrade of cloud services. The success of hybrid cloud is, at least in part, owing to the advice that these businesses offer end-users. The next step in this evolution is understanding how applications interact and integrate between public clouds rather than simply on- and off-premises. If a CSP can master that, therein lies another route to revenue.
For channel partners to get the most out of multi-cloud offerings, it is essential that they make strong alliances with key technology vendors. In particular, software that can act as a universal platform across all clouds, for areas such as workload mobility and protection, will define the success of multi cloud as a long-standing IT strategy.
Integrated management and analytics capabilities also allow for CSPs to have a centralised overview of their end-user’s environments to help best recommend standardising workflows for optimal output. In summary, a strong technology foundation, in conjunction with the management and expertise layer offered by channel partners, is the secret recipe for success.