Best Practices for Multicloud

By Carm Taglienti, Chief Data Officer and Distinguished Engineer

As the cloud continues to grow in popularity, the richness of services enabled by it continues to grow as well. With so many private and public clouds to choose from, it can be challenging for organizations to choose just one. Fortunately, you don’t have to. 

Multicloud not only means working in multiple clouds — it also means taking advantage of the varying cost profiles and services that different public clouds have to offer in order to drive your business outcomes more effectively. By understanding your specific goals and objectives for application and data workloads, a multicloud environment can yield flexibility, resiliency, portability, security, and stability for your organization. 

But what are best practices for multicloud? Put simply: Careful attention to workload distribution while factoring in performance expectations, scalability, resiliency, security, and availability is critical. Of course, when we consider the best possible approach to meet your business and technical goals, we must consider the return on investment — that is where Financial Operations (FinOps) comes into play.

The importance of workload distribution

Your organization runs many applications and processes in order to achieve operational success for the business. Where and how those applications and processes are run can be crucial. Workload management allows us to understand how best to use resources, both technical and human, to achieve success. 

One key approach to workload management is workload distribution or balancing the use of your resources in order to maximize the priorities that will ensure successful business operations, such as high availability and uptime of your mission-critical applications. When you distribute your cloud workloads across multiple clouds, you can unlock additional security and other vendor-specific strengths in modern infrastructure, application development, platform management, and billing. Distributing your workloads in optimal locations helps ensure that your multicloud strategy will be most effective in delivering your desired outcomes.  
Every cloud environment has its own set of workloads. Your workloads can include compute, networking, and storage needs, upstream and downstream dependencies (distributed applications), one or more databases (for scale or HA/DR), services-based architectures that can run anywhere, and other interconnected applications. 

Proper workload alignment is critical. This means you will want to take advantage of the best possible cloud solution to meet the specific requirements for each of your workloads, including cost, data proximity, compliance, resiliency, scalability, and disaster recovery. Workload alignment is made possible by monitoring the performance behavior of your workloads — meaning, the metrics that align to the way your applications and infrastructure are being used — in order to make the most impactful decisions for your organization.

9 questions to ask about your workloads

How do you ensure you’re selecting the optimal cloud platform for each workload? Consider the compute, data, cost, and dependency for each workload by answering the following set of questions. The answers to these questions will help pinpoint which public cloud is best suited to housing a given workload.

  1. What are the compute requirements of the workload? For example: Is it mission critical? What are the availability requirements? How are you measuring the performance of your workloads (i.e., metrics and observability tools)?
  2. What data is produced by this workload?
  3. What are the accessibility and storage requirements for the data? 
  4. How is the workload and the associated data secured? 
  5. Is the given public cloud platform cost-effective for this workload? 
  6. How are costs being monitored, controlled, and optimized? 
  7. What other workloads does this workload impact? What are the dependencies? How does that impact the ability of the workload to achieve service-level goals?
  8. Are there any logical, infrastructural, or external dependencies for this workload? 
  9. What happens if this workload needs to be moved? 

Maximize your cloud investments with FinOps.

When it comes to getting the most bang for your buck, cloud solutions can be deceiving — especially as it pertains to a multicloud environment.  
What can dissuade some organizations from adopting a multicloud environment is that working with multiple cloud providers means losing out on the bulk discounts you could get with a singular cloud provider. But if your desired business outcomes include solving latency issues, increasing business continuity, or improving security, then budgeting for multicloud can be worth the price tag. 
So, how should you manage operational costs within the cloud? That’s where FinOps comes in. FinOps focuses on the financial operations of your cloud infrastructure. By providing a comprehensive view of your cloud infrastructure real estate now and in the future, it is the solution to continuous management of a multicloud budget.

FinOps equips your organization with the tools necessary to: 

  • Determine a cloud optimization strategy. 
  • Manage operational costs within the cloud. 
  • Leverage the appropriate technology that is the most cost-effective for your solution.
  • Drive sustainability and cost-efficiency.
  • Assess trends in elasticity and consumption. 
  • Handle exceptions. 
  • Realign with organizational goals.

The best way to think about your cloud strategy? Start by focusing on the business outcome you’re trying to drive instead of the actual technology or cloud provider(s) being used. Examine what your organization is doing now in comparison to what you want to be doing. From there, consider the compelling reasons for why you want to be doing X, Y, and Z. Having a clear picture of the results your organization is looking to produce through its cloud strategy will position your organization to more effectively identify the optimal cloud solution.

More resources for multicloud

By allowing you to take full advantage of the unique services that different public clouds have to offer, multicloud increases flexibility, resiliency, portability, security, and stability. Whether you are planning a migration to multicloud or already have deployed instances, here are some additional resources to guide you toward success:

Optimize your multicloud environment with Insight — we can help you reduce total cost of ownership, increase cloud security, and improve overall confidence in your multicloud strategy. Learn more.