5 reasons why it’s important to mix and match in your cloud strategy

Thanks to the cloud and related technologies, businesses can now run innovative software from a variety of vendors.

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The rise of the cloud settled the age-old debate about whether IT teams should choose an array of exceptional technologies from various providers, or a fully integrated stack of (mostly unexceptional) applications from a single vendor.

Thanks to cloud computing, you can have the very best applications—and the very best clouds—for the IT tasks at hand. And you don't have to deal with the headache of investing heavily in infrastructure and building it yourself.

Here's a quick look at five ways the cloud and related technologies enable your IT team to launch, integrate, scale, and secure the full spectrum of applications.

1. You can pick the best cloud for the job

While businesses may end up running most applications in a single cloud, there are lots of reasons to diversify and adopt a multi-cloud strategy. The major cloud infrastructure providers have individual strengths—and a well-planned multi-cloud strategy enables you to pick the cloud platform that offers the best combination of technical features, pricing, and performance for each application.  Some examples of workloads that may be better running on one hyper-scale cloud over another could be enterprise business applications, big data or high-performance computing (HPC) workloads.

A multi-cloud approach offers the added benefit of protecting you against vendor lock-in. You'll also be in a stronger negotiating position if a cloud provider unexpectedly changes strategy, raises prices, or fails to meet service level agreements.

2. Cloud providers support APIs

Integration challenges used to be the number one obstacle to adopting innovative applications from a variety of software makers. But the ubiquity of application programming interfaces (APIs) has made it easier than ever to integrate applications and move workloads between clouds.

The major cloud infrastructure vendors offer APIs that provide access to back end processes and data. Engineers can use those APIs to integrate solutions manually, or they can use an integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS) to facilitate and manage interactions between applications, clouds, and on-premises data centers.

Keep in mind that while APIs enable application integration and cross-cloud compatibility, they can also open up a business to security vulnerabilities when not properly managed. Exposed APIs open the door to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and data breaches. That's why it's important to maintain a strong focus on security. But more on security in a minute.

3. Cloud providers are scooping up the best apps

You won't have to scroll through many technology news headlines before finding a story about a large cloud platform provider acquiring a small, successful software startup. It happens all the time, because cloud vendors want to offer leading = technologies at each layer of their software stacks for businesses of all sizes.

It’s also because modern startups have built their technology with robust APIs from day one, meaning they are far simpler to integrate post acquisition, allowing the industry giants to be opportunistic with the new features, niches, verticals and/or use cases these solutions enable.

It's worth mentioning that what one person considers "leading edge" may not be the right choice for your specific IT requirements. You still need to carefully weigh the options before committing to a particular cloud vendor’s software portfolio.

4. Cloud security continues to improve

Launching and maintaining an effective multi-cloud software strategy requires businesses to frequently move data from on-premises data centers to the cloud, between clouds, and across the global internet.

Security is a major concern as businesses embark on these projects. Companies don't want to sacrifice their security posture as they move into new cloud environments and adopt new applications. And after cloud migrations are complete, businesses want security levels to be as strong if not stronger than before.

With the rise of cloud-based security options, businesses can protect data and applications from DDoS attacks, malicious bots, API attacks, and other cyberthreats threats during all phases of data migration and beyond. Look for vendors with network architectures and product strategies that are focused on protecting sensitive data.

5. Container technologies are ready for prime time

Companies that develop and deploy homegrown cloud-native or hybrid cloud applications also want to realize the benefits of running those apps on the best cloud platform for the job. The emergence of popular container technologies like Kubernetes and Docker makes deploying and scaling applications across on-premises and cloud environments faster than ever before.

Containers allow software developers to package applications into highly portable, self-contained environments. All of the application's code, libraries, and dependencies are combined as an immutable artifact. Containers are similar to virtual machines but are far more lightweight. That's because every virtual machine requires its own copy of the underlying operating system. Containers can run multiple workloads on a single operating system.

What’s the bottom line? The future is bright for companies that are willing to take the time to mix and match the right software with the right clouds.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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