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A Resilient Cloud Strategy: Standardize or Diversify?

A Resilient Cloud Strategy

Over the past few years, I have seen IT organizations adopt cloud in very different ways. Some organizations prefer to standardize their cloud infrastructure to drive efficiencies in their data centers. As a result, they eventually reduce the number of suppliers across their entire IT value chain. Conversely, other organizations adopt a ‘best of breed’ approach and tend to put in place complex and heterogeneous IT environments that enable them to optimize their IT infrastructure for the specific applications they need to run.

For example, a large enterprise – whose CIO recently visited our executive briefing center – runs their backend ERP system in their data centers; they rely on public cloud providers primarily for a portion of their office productivity applications. They also have multiple LoB applications running in their self-managed on-premises private cloud. Additionally, they have deployed a large portion of their customer-facing billing applications in a hosted private cloud environment managed by a large system integrator. This type of mix of environments to suite different business needs is typical in the organizations I have worked with.

As organizations continue to increase their appetite for cloud services, do we expect senior IT decision makers to increase or decrease their choice of cloud providers? We asked IDC to help us understand these trends on a global scale and we sponsored a broad cloud market research study, which was completed earlier this year. The market study highlighted important findings. 

Organizations with Advanced Cloud Strategies Use Multiple Cloud Providers

Diversify, Diversify, Diversify. I know just common sense you may think … We see this principle being applied by smart investors (they diversify their investment portfolio to better manage risk across a number of possible and unpredictable market conditions.) We also see the same principle applied when selecting suppliers (for example to increase your bargaining power.) We can all think of other examples I am sure. So you may wonder, why would we expect the thinking behind the formulation of cloud strategies to be radically different?

The use of multiple cloud providers is another hallmark of mature cloud organizations. The most mature organizations expect to be able to choose from multiple cloud providers based on location, policies, and governance principles. This was one of the key findings of the IDC study.

More interestingly, as organizations get better regarding their ability to extract maximum value from their cloud environments their appetite to consume cloud services from multiple cloud providers grows. In fact, 84% of organizations with ‘optimized’ cloud strategies expect to choose from multiple cloud providers. Similarly, organizations with more mature cloud strategies are more likely to have implemented collaborative business and IT governance to define cloud management policies and SLAs. 

The Challenge

However, multicloud environments can increase complexity. The challenge many organizations face is that of being able to manage and orchestrate that diverse portfolio of cloud-based applications. And this where we can help.

Specifically, Cisco CloudCenter™ is an application-centric hybrid cloud management platform that securely provisions infrastructure resources and deploys applications to data center, private cloud, and public cloud environments.

With our Cisco CloudCenter application-centric technology, you can:

  • Model: Quickly and easily build a cloud-independent application profile that defines the deployment and management requirements of an entire application stack.
  • Deploy: Use one click to deploy the application profile and related components and data to any data center or cloud environment.
  • Manage: Apply a wide range of application lifecycle actions to set policies to enable in-place scaling, support cross-environment bursting or high availability and disaster recovery, and stop the deployment.

Cisco CloudCenter administration and governance capabilities span applications, clouds, and users. Administrators can centrally manage cloud accounts, better control costs with financial plans, and report on use. They can also manage tenants and users and provide tag-based governance and role-based access control (RBAC). If you focus on the application, you can tailor IT services to meet the unique needs of your users. With an application-centric service model – IT stays in the loop wherever workloads are deployed.

All of this helps IT organizations pursue a well-diversified and hybrid IT strategy that includes IT as a service (ITaaS), automated DevOps or continuous delivery, temporary capacity augmentation, and permanent application migration capabilities. And if you need help navigate the multicloud maze our Cisco Cloud Professional Services portfolio can provide additional guidance and reduce your risk profile.

Originally published on November 29th, 2016

By Enrico Fuiano, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager, Cisco Cloud Marketing

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