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App Dev4 min read

Navigating Multi-Cloud Complexity: Insights into Best Practices for Success

Martin Hosken
Navigating Multi-Cloud Complexity

Amidst high inflation, market volatility, and geopolitical tension, businesses are facing the dual pressures of limited budgets and the need to stay competitive through innovation. Navigating an environment that demands more productivity with fewer resources is challenging. However, this challenge also presents an opportunity, and many organizations are not just surviving but thriving.

So, how are these organizations succeeding? They are achieving greater efficiency by optimizing their digital infrastructure and adopting multi-cloud strategies. These strategies involve moving workloads, applications, and data across different clouds to accelerate their digital and operational goals. While some may assume this approach only adds to costs , our research indicates that only 30% of EMEA cloud-smart organizations experienced negative financial impacts. This suggests that costs can be effectively controlled by implementing best practices.

Multi-cloud complexity explained

For all its advantages in delivering a platform for innovation and efficiency, running multiple clouds can cause complexity. And, without visibility across the cloud estate, from the delivery and management of IT services and apps across clouds in a consistent, compliant way, knowing which workloads to migrate first, and who is using which resources and how they are impacting cost, it can be easy to overspend on running multiple clouds.

In fact, 74% of IT leaders across EMEA report difficulties controlling cloud expenses. But this expense goes beyond eating into the IT budget. Multi-cloud complexities can block new products or services getting to market quickly, ultimately placing a business at a further financial disadvantage. Delivering apps sits at the core of a business' competitiveness for many of those using the cloud, and time to market is a critical aspect of beating the competition. And time to value is an imperative for the bottom line.

Recognising what drives this multi-cloud complexity can alleviate the cost pressures and here, I highlight the three leading causes:

  1. Over-provisioning infrastructure: Multi-cloud environments offer flexibility in cloud provisioning, allowing teams to scale up resources whenever needed. But this is both a blessing and a curse, as it can often lead to more money being spent on infrastructure than is necessary, and teams quickly running over budget.
  2. Misunderstanding the app migration process: Migrating apps to the cloud or between different environments is inherently complex, time-consuming, and costly. It’s not always a straight-forward migration and companies often overlook the resourcing it requires. One of the main issues lies in the fact that not every app performs as expected in the cloud, which means each one needs to be stress-tested when migrated. As a result, achieving a single successful migration requires detailed planning and significant in-house or outside expertise.
  3. Facing acute skills shortages: The pressure to retrain staff to help innovate in areas like multi-cloud is a challenge due to the technical skills required by each employee. However, many organisations find there’s a gap between where expertise is and where it needs to be. This can delay app migrations, hamper multi-cloud management, and impact an organisation’s ability to scale quickly.

Best practice for managing multi-cloud complexity

An ideal multi-cloud strategy allows organisations to seamlessly monitor, manage and secure workloads and applications across multiple clouds, enabling them to go to market quickly while keeping costs down. It almost sounds like an impossible task, but luckily, it isn’t. There’s no rehosting, refactoring, rearchitecting, rebuilding or replacing required.

Compatibility with containers allows teams to move workloads across multiple providers, or clouds, helping them to work at speed, and not waste time and money on migrations. Automation enables teams working across multiple clouds to rapidly deploy applications to scale without operations becoming overwhelmed.

Other critical components of successful multi-cloud management include:

  • Choosing the correct cloud for each application and ensuring management of each application is consistent.
  • Avoiding vendor lock-in, where organisations can get stuck with a particular vendor due to the cost of shifting being so high.
  • Being strategic in every approach and not rushing any of the processes involved in running multi-cloud environments.

Illuminating an industry ‘cloud smart’ approach

Mercedes-Benz.io, a world-renowned and champion innovator, handles the end-to-end responsibility for digital solutions for one of the globe's leading car brands, Mercedes Benz. Its developer team needs the best and most consistent experience across clouds to keep pace with high demand and accelerate innovation. With a direct focus on building software using Cloud-Native principles, 12 guiding practices for developing cloud-native applications, they were able to do just that.

Mercedes-Benz.io has enabled its developer team to increase its production and scaling capabilities, significantly accelerating time to market . In addition, the project's success has freed Mercedes-Benz.io to focus solely on creating the luxury experiences the group is renowned for and not worrying about the complexities of multi-cloud. Mercedes-Benz.io's story is a perfect example of multi-cloud's value-add. When managed correctly, multiple clouds can spur incredible innovation, at pace, while not incurring excessive cost, having a crucial impact on the bottom-line.

This is a great example of a business that is successfully using the benefits of multi-cloud to rapidly produce applications to scale, meeting demand and accelerating innovation while controlling costs.

The race to ‘cloud smart’ is on for long-term ROI

The ultimate goal for businesses is to be in a position to embrace the cloud’s full potential, benefitting from its strategic scalability and ability to unlock innovation , without letting the costs spiral. With just 19% of EMEA businesses identifying as ‘cloud smart’, leaders have a significant opportunity to place themselves on a path to long-term ROI, and remain competitive without expansive budgets, by adopting best practice in managing multi-cloud complexity. This will provide them with the agility, flexibility and innovation to secure a sustainable path to growth.