There’s no going back from multicloud, experts say

Cloud leaders discussed the case for multicloud at a Protocol event.

Cloud leaders agree: You don’t choose the multicloud, the multicloud chooses you.

“I see multicloud … as an inevitability,” Priyanka Sharma, the executive director of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, said at the start of an hourlong conversation about multicloud computing Wednesday. “Do people wake up one day and realize that they have multiple cloud providers versus a strategic approach? I think it’s a mix of both.”

Protocol’s Tom Krazit spoke with Sharma; Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president and CEO; and David Linthicum, chief cloud strategy officer at Deloitte to discuss the shift to multicloud and how adoptees should manage their costs and security accordingly.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the event.

A natural progression to multicloud

Linthicum said the move to multicloud is a natural progression for companies as they look to leverage the best cloud providers for different technologies. He added that companies have begun moving to several cloud providers “whether the CIO knows it or not.” “This is often happening in the background,” he said.

“People just morph and evolve into it,” Linthicum said. “They had the idea that they’ll leverage a single cloud provider three or four years ago, and now we’re at the notion of leveraging the best AI technology, the best analytics technology, the best databases, things like that.”

But as companies move to multicloud, Cormier said they’re beginning to realize just how complex the move has become. “Everyone has similarly named services,” he said. “They’re very powerful, but they’re silos unto themselves. And with those silos, they’re now adding that complexity times five or 10x for your operations and securities people.”

One of the ways companies are navigating that complexity is through management services. Cormier noted that OpenShift, as a management tool, is one of Red Hat’s fastest-growing segments, partially because of a lack of talent in IT departments.

Managing costs and security across cloud providers

As companies shift to multicloud, experts said budgeting becomes a larger issue because costs aren’t understood and servers are being left on or not being optimized in the best way. “You have to have metrics, to an essence, to monitor that and move it forward,” Linthicum said. “And I think that’s the big discipline that’s occurring these days.”

But Sharma said the cloud industry is not at a point where the cost of multicloud is figured out. “I think this is just a pain we all have to go through as we are in this journey of modernization and utilizing cloud capabilities and different services to their best limits. It would be unrealistic to expect there’s going to be the best use of capital … It’s best to know that and plan accordingly.”

Sharma added that everyone needs to work together to ensure cloud platforms are secure by investing in security audits and implementing processes that containers need to follow. “That, to me, is us doing our part in this story,” she said. “Then there’s everybody: The vendors have their role to play, the end users have their thinking to do. The partners have to support the strategy around it.”


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