On Cloud Nine

As these higher-value services continue to open up new opportunities, enterprises are turning to numerous vendors for their cloud needs. Multicloud – the use of computing and storage services across several cloud-hosting environments – provides an array of benefits for organisations in a wide range of industries. For instance, it adds a measure of redundancy, ensuring that, even if downtime occurs from one provider, outages are avoided. Further, cloud diversification enables firms to position their providers closer to their users – a boon for global enterprises hoping to improve performance and reduce latency issues. The multicloud approach also prevents customer lock-in.

According to a study by the International Data Corporation, 86 percent of enterprises expect they will require a multicloud strategy to support their business goals within the next two years. Given this expected rise in activity, Rajaraman was quick to outline three key dimensions that enterprises should consider before making the move to a multicloud system: “The first is, how are your applications built and how do they integrate across different clouds? Once that is established, you must consider how you intend to manage your data, move it, govern it and encrypt it. Finally, given that you have multiple clouds, you need to discern how you’re going to manage everything, from monitoring to picking the right cloud with the right cost points and the right capabilities.”

IBM is advantageously positioned in this respect. In terms of its product portfolio, it boasts a plethora of applications – from Java and WebSphere to databases – that can be made available across multiple clouds. What’s more, IBM’s data governance and security products can be supported on various clouds. IBM has also recently announced a new cloud management platform. “[Our new platform] manages containers and clusters of containers wherever clients are, whether they’re on premise, on IBM Cloud or on other clouds,” Rajaraman explained. “From a governance perspective, this ensures we have a view of all of the outlets across different clouds. It can also ensure that the configurations across these clouds are consistent, so that they can be governed, they can be used for [high availability and disaster recovery], and so on and so forth.”

Robinson added: “One of the things we continue to hear with multicloud is that many firms are a little fearful that it may amplify the complexity of the environment that they’re dealing with. We feel, however, that there’s a handful of very key emerging standards that we’re not only supporting with our products, but [we’re] also really helping to shape the open source communities around them. For almost every enterprise that we talk to, one of their primary concerns is vendor lock-in, so many of them want to have the flexibility of moving between one vendor [and] the next.”

Robinson has also encountered many enterprises that try to go down the open source route on their own, only to find they are quickly faced with a number of challenges. “Many times that’s when they come back to IBM to say, ‘Look, you’ve got officers on the board, you can sponsor projects yourself, you understand what we’re dealing with in terms of the complexities – can you help us drive this through as well?’ So this is maybe the reason that even though clients definitely want to be open and flexible, they view IBM as a very safe haven.”

Transformation of any kind is tough. But with the right partner, the adoption of multi cloud and hybrid cloud isn’t an arduous task: it’s an exciting step towards business processes that are more effective than previously imagined possible.