Carla Arend
Carla Arend (Lead analyst European Cloud Research)

Multi-cloud – the use of various SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and private cloud services within one organization – is the reality for 80% of Western European enterprises today, but this is rarely based on a deliberate company-wide strategy.

For most enterprises multi-cloud “just happens”, because of Line-of-Business (LoB) leaders individually buying the SaaS services they need, and IaaS and PaaS services being bought on a project-by-project basis.

This means that the move to multi-cloud takes place against the backdrop of antiquated networking and security strategies put in place to handle traffic streams that were mostly centered on the data-center and users downloading content. Management and control were people-centric processes. In the cloud and IoT world, this is no longer the case: there is no central control point, and SaaS applications and sensors generate significant upstream data volumes, requiring automation and orchestration.

Therefore, unplanned multi-cloud environments have a negative impact on application and network performance, security and cost, that can undermine an organization’s digital transformation efforts.  Putting a governance framework in place and defining parameters for which cloud services are the best destination for which applications and workloads will help enterprises calm the multi-cloud chaos and harness the agility and scalability that cloud can offer.

Hybrid and multi-cloud architectures are critical building blocks for digital transformation, but they will only deliver their full potential if the right foundation is in place. This puts networking, security and automation at the top of the list of foundation technologies an enterprise needs to get right to achieve its digital transformation goals, both in the datacenter and at the branch level.

Therefore, key considerations to build the best foundation for multi-cloud success are:

  • What changes do you need to make to your network to ensure optimal performance and great user experience when applications are moving into a hybrid or public cloud environment?
  • Security “of” the cloud and security “in” the cloud are different concepts that need to be understood to ensure security of data, users and applications. How do you get cloud security right to drive cloud-enabled agility but at the lowest possible risk to your enterprise?
  • Cloud-like scalability and access to innovation are the key drivers to implement a hybrid and multi-cloud strategy. What are the pros and cons of automation and orchestration that you need to understand to drive cloud-like scale in your enterprise?

If you want to learn more about this topic or have any questions, please contact Carla Arend, or join IDC’s multi-cloud breakfast.