Six steps to implement a successful multi-cloud strategy in your organization: RightScale report

6 Mins read
multi-cloud strategy

The changing cloud landscape

There has been an increased acceptance for cloud computing in the last decade. This is because the cloud helps IT organizations expand their market, accelerate innovation and drive down IT costs, without locking up their investment in costly data centers, that happened traditionally. Now enterprises and industries are shifting their workloads to public cloud, while empowering their on-premise infrastructure with cloud capabilities.

Previously, individual teams and divisions managed cloud in the enterprises, leading to shadow IT. Now CIOs lead the central IT teams to develop enterprise cloud strategy, examine and design the IT services’ delivery approach.

Multi-cloud – the new norm

IDC in Worldwide Cloud 2017 Predictions predicted that more than 85% of Enterprise IT organizations will commit to multicloud architectures by 2018, driving up the rate and pace of change in organizations.*

The cloud choice of most enterprises is multi-cloud as they already use multiple cloud combinations in the form of public cloud with private clouds or with cloud enabled virtual environment.


8 reasons why you should prefer multi-cloud

1. Utilize existing investment – Multi-cloud portfolio helps IT teams utilize existing investment in infrastructure with private cloud services.

2. Get unique capabilities – With different cloud providers, you get unique capabilities and features like compliance, data services, security etc.

3. Freely operate anywhere – Utilize public or private clouds to operate across the globe and expand to new locations.

4. Optimize costs – With a number of cloud options to choose from, the selection of right one per application needs can help optimize costs and get ROI.

5. No vendor lock-in – When you retain the power of moving workloads between different clouds, you get the best negotiated financial terms with the vendors.

6. Get sturdy infrastructure – When you choose clouds spread across different geographies from various cloud providers, you create a robust architecture that ensures uptime for your applications, irrespective of any outages.

7. Expand with time – Multi-cloud portfolio helps you expand your business over time with M&As, projects as and when needed.

8. Be future-ready with cloud – With multi-cloud, you get the flexibility to add or change your cloud provider to evolve as per the market evolution.

6 steps to implement a successful multi-cloud strategy in your organization

1. Find key areas where Cloud can be helpful for your organization

Cloud provides a number of business benefits and in order to formulate a successful cloud strategy, it’s important that you define your aims and motivations for adopting cloud. Your primary goals may be all or few of the cloud benefits mentioned below:

Cloud provides a number of business benefits and in order to formulate a successful cloud strategy, it’s important that you define your aims and motivations for adopting cloud. Your primary goals may be all or few of the cloud benefits mentioned below:

  • Quickening application delivery pace- New DevOps mechanisms utilizing the cloud reduce delays and handoffs between IT and development. With cloud, businesses and developers get access to resources with which they can quicken the pace of innovation and application delivery.
Note: Enterprises can benefit by using public clouds for workloads like development, batch processes and testing that run for limited time period or for those that need to be scaled up or down. Private cloud is economical if workloads are run round the clock on it, but costlier if workloads use resources sparingly.


  • Improving IT efficiency- With Cloud, capabilities of infrastructure team get expanded beyond simple hardware provisioning to providing infrastructure services, both external and internal. Cloud increases operational efficiency by reducing infra costs and increasing IT team’s efficiency.
  • Reducing cost of your IT infrastructure – Cloud providers get hardware in large volumes from vendors in reduced pricing and use open source technologies to reduce their software costs. Thus, using cloud is normally more economical than using full data center resources.
  • Enhancing automation – Self-service and automation help a business drive operational savings by enabling the IT teams to be more efficient.
Note: Cloud management tools like RackNap automate business processes like provisioning and service delivery, saving time and resources. They also provide self-service portals to administrators and customers, helping an organization decrease tickets and their IT teams to focus on value-added activities.


  • Expanding to new markets – Organizations are able to offer their products and services at new, geographically dispersed markets with public cloud.
Note: If you have high-performing applications or in the process of designing them, that have /may have the capability of taking advantage from new geographies, global delivery or web-scalability, then these should be high priority applications for your move to the cloud.


  • Gaining flexibility for investment – With cloud, companies get more flexibility in the way they wish to invest in infrastructure as the cloud prevents them from investing hugely in building data centers or in traditional hosting solutions. They get to decide their infrastructure investment model – CapEx (long term investment and committed use discounts with public cloud) or OpEx (pay per use) depending upon their business nature.

2. Outline your Cloud strategy and make it future-proof

A large number of organizations today use multi-cloud and have hybrid strategy, comprising private or on-premises and public cloud options.

In order to assemble your cloud portfolio, you need to understand:

  • How many cloud options will you need?

You should consider following areas to determine the benefits of implementing multi-cloud strategy for your organization:

  • Applications you have and clouds used by them.
  • Features, capabilities or services of cloud providers.
  • Suitability of cloud for applications migrated to cloud.
  • Broader benefits of working with particular cloud providers.
  • Concerns with vendor lock-in
  • Future changes effected by cloud provider.
  • Benefits that multi-cloud will bring to your business.
  • Which one is better – virtualization or private cloud for on-premise infrastructure?

Most enterprises choose hosted private cloud over private cloud to complement their existing virtual environment.  This helps them get all benefits of the cloud by just adding a cloud orchestration and management layer to cross over from virtualized to cloud environment.

3. Devise ways to overcome common cloud hurdles

Cloud journey for any organization is rife with challenges, with the most common ones being cost, culture and governance.

Implementing frictionless governance – With the ease of resource accessibility through public cloud, it has become easier for DevOps teams to provision resources within minutes. Though this comes with a multitude of benefits, but IT teams need governance and visibility over these resources for reducing risk and ensuring compliance. This can be done by embedding and automating necessary controls across a variety of areas, including inventory, provisioning, operations and financial as well.

Optimizing spending on cloud – Most enterprises wish to migrate to cloud for reducing their IT expenditure. Traditional data center investment increases spending on wasted hardware resources as not all may be fully utilized efficiently. However, variable billing cycles of cloud helps organizations realize immediate benefits by recognizing and preventing / eliminating waste, helping optimize costs.

Note: Market is full of confusing cloud metrics and models. Hence, an organization’s IT and billing team need to understand different cloud pricing models with different SKUs, allocate cloud budget, analyze complex discount options, forecast cloud use and costs, analyze bills with different line items, track spending, identify waste and do a lot more. 

Here, a multi-cloud management platform can help structure cloud accounts and bills, define universal tag strategy for complete inventory, define basic requirements for governance and security, automate cloud accounts provisioning, provide tracking and reporting, help optimize spending and do a lot more.


4. Identify skills required for successful cloud implementation and develop them.

  • Multi-cloud governance – A multi-cloud environment requires standardized policies for proper governance. The team needs to utilize different tools and approaches for managing each cloud including one-place visibility, standardized access, images/templates, structured accounts, audit trails, implemented and automated cloud policies and monitoring.
  • Multi-cloud cost-management – The team should gain the ability to understand, predict, track and optimize costs across all clouds used by the organization. It includes understanding price and discounts on different cloud, multi-cloud billing, cost visibility and allocation, usage and analysis, optimization techniques and their implementation, forecasting and automated policies.
  • Multi-cloud architecture – The team should understand how multi-cloud environment can be architected to get reliable and scalable performance in the cloud. It’s better to go for automated provisioning and operations in the cloud. Also, multi-cloud architecture necessitates tools and processes that can work across different environments. Important elements include automated provisioning, operations, recovery, infrastructure as code, horizontal scaling, native cloud services, shared security responsibility, disposable resources and comparison between different clouds.
  • Multi-cloud development – The team should utilize best modern development practices for delivering best features and making applications reach market faster. Decide which applications need portability and if containers would be the best approach for reducing work. Also, utilize automation for implementing DevOps and CI/CD practices. The important elements include continuous integration and delivery, DevOps, infrastructure as code, scheduled infrastructure for development/testing purposes, multi-cloud portability and containerization management.
  • Multi-cloud orchestration –  Multi-cloud orchestration involves using automation and APIs from single or multiple cloud vendors along with other third-party services to assemble multiple services. The team needs to understand cloud APIs differences, multi-cloud portability and infrastructure as code.

5. Prepare your enterprise for the cloud journey

For properly managing cloud initiatives, implement a centralized group or cloud team that will define and implement cloud policies and will take care of cost management across organization’s different teams and business units.

The cloud team should include representatives from teams like operations, security, network, application development, compliance, finance, procurement and it’s equally necessary that the team should have strong leadership. Many organizations now have a designated ‘VP of Cloud’ for leading different cloud initiatives. Other primary roles may include:

  • Cloud architects
  • DevOps Engineers
  • Cost management specialists
  • Project/program managers

6. See if a Cloud Business Automation Platform fits your business needs

A cloud business automation platform helps an organization manage different cloud environments, including public, private and virtualized ones from a single pane of glass. It also provides:

  • Cloud billing and provisioning services
  • Support management
  • Inventory management
  • Sales and marketing management
  • Partner management
  • Customer self-service portal
  • Business Intelligence
  • Customizable marketplace to sell Cloud.

Hope this six-step strategy help your organization adopt cloud successfully. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Guest Author: 

Jyotsana Gupta -Team lead, RackNap


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