Businesses large and small are moving to the cloud in droves to improve efficiency, minimize risk and reduce IT expenditures. On the heels of this trend, many organizations are also adopting a multi-cloud approach, which can offer greater control and additional cost savings over a single cloud platform.
In fact, 79 percent of companies in a recent survey by 451 Research say they are working with more than one cloud provider, and nearly a third work with four or more cloud or hosting services.
Here at Rackspace, most of our upper mid-market and enterprise customers have a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, either by design or through changes made over time. Many have expressed the desire to ultimately go to a single public cloud; however, the reality of their environments and workloads require a phased-in approach, with the first priority being a migration out of their data center, followed by optimization and application modernization.
Others will choose to go with a multi-cloud environment long term, as different applications are more cost effective or efficient to run on certain cloud platforms. In either scenario, having the expertise to help strategize, plan, perform a TCO analysis and assess which applications should reside where is critical to cost optimization. This is where Rackspace can help.
Whether you are in the early planning stages of a migration to the cloud or have already employed private or public cloud servers for data and application management, the multi-cloud model can maximize your return on investment. Rackspace offers comprehensive multi-cloud services, from initial planning to streamlined support. We handle the complexity and expertise of a multi-cloud environment, so our customers can focus on strategy and driving innovation in their business.
Managing technology decisions
IT leaders face a central challenge: how to take advantage of cloud capabilities while maintaining appropriate levels of technology governance and oversight. Individual users and business units often tap into the accessibility of cloud services consumed through the Internet —from SaaS HR management systems to cloud-based CRM software — circumventing IT as they try to organize and share information more efficiently.
The resulting “shadow cloud” not only presents significant security risks through the creation of untold back-door exposures, but can drive up technology costs through unmanaged process changes, redundant expenditures, and the missed opportunity of enterprise-wide pricing incentives.
At the same time, shadow cloud activities inevitably deliver increased speed and innovation to the business, and the trend isn’t going anywhere soon. Consequently, IT must adapt to a new environment in which their primary role is a trusted advisor rather than the command center from which all technology activities are managed. This shift in responsibilities also opens the door to new opportunities, notes cloud commentator David Linthicum. “These shadow cloud deployments give you the green light to put more stuff on the cloud, including applications and data,” he says.
Finding a balance that supports innovation with an eye for governance is critical to providing internal customers both flexibility and production-level support in a scalable, centralized environment. Defining this strategy requires up-front planning to establish a multi-cloud model that produces a reliable process and framework.
Embracing multi-cloud capabilities
In a recent IDC study, 86 percent of businesses predict the need to employ a multi-cloud strategy within the next two years to achieve their business goals. Taking a strategic approach to multi-cloud can ensure that costs are kept in check and that the selected systems and environments are best suited to the needs of the business.
In addition to developing a bespoke architecture to streamline operations, you can reduce costs by increasing leverage with vendors, prioritizing core business areas and moving agile applications away from legacy enterprise systems to highly elastic public cloud solutions.
Of course, the transition to multi-cloud involves numerous facets that are frequently beyond the capabilities of an in-house IT team. More than half of all respondents in the 451 Research survey noted that they wanted a cloud provider who could broker contracts with other services providers and deliver multiple cloud services, such as backup and recovery, cloud readiness assessment, migration services and premium support.
“Integration and management costs can cancel out price differences among providers,” notes Tom Nolle, president and founder of CIMI Corporation, “and in some cases, these costs could even outweigh the cloud services’ benefits.”
Making the move
Drawing on our deep multi-cloud experience and expertise, Rackspace recently launched Global Solutions and Services (GSS) to help customers leverage the benefits of public and private cloud platforms through a multi-cloud strategy. The expanded set of professional services meet the varying needs of SMBs, mid-market companies and enterprise-class organizations. GSS capabilities include planning, assessment, design, migration, management and optimization for cloud migration projects.
Our Cloud Accelerator service, for example, is specifically designed to help organizations that lack in-house expertise choose the most appropriate and cost-efficient cloud platform for each application, and minimize business disruption during onboarding. Rackspace experts partner with your organization to develop a readiness assessment, then deliver a detailed analysis of the app and infrastructure portfolio, business case and estimated ROI, and a comprehensive deployment strategy. This upfront planning and strategy expertise is designed to help you define the best roadmap to the cloud for your business — whether dedicated, hybrid or multi-cloud.
From migration planning to load testing, Rackspace can clear a path for achieving your multi-cloud objectives. We act as a trusted advisor to help you choose the right vendors for your needs and evaluate the costs and hurdles of reconfiguring your operations and applications for a multi-cloud model.
Our depth of experience as a managed cloud provider with Fanatical Support for both AWS and Microsoft Azure and our breadth of expertise as a services support partner for Google Cloud Platform, VMware, Microsoft and OpenStack, make us uniquely qualified to drive innovation with multi-cloud and help transform your business.
Learn more about Rackspace Global Solutions and Services and our multi-cloud offerings.