Trending: why everyone is signing up to multicloud
How do you stay ahead in technology? The answer used to be that you sought out the best vendors and engineers and bought up their products and skills, integrating the technology seamlessly into your workflow. In many ways, that hasn’t changed, but – faced with diverging technological branches – many companies have decided to keep their options open. This is the strategy known as multicloud. Here’s how it works.
What is multicloud?
First of all, it’s not hybrid cloud, which is a combination of private and public cloud infrastructure. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but they’re not at all the same thing. Multicloud is about choosing cloud vendors. Traditionally, you would accept tenders from a variety of vendors, then pick the one who offered the best value and fit for your needs. And it’s exactly those differentiators cloud vendors developed to win bids that have led to multicloud. Now companies are faced with an array of vendors with different strengths, they don’t want to harness their carriage to one horse. They can sign up with multiple vendors, picking out the strengths of each for different business use cases.
Why are companies opting for multicloud?
The average number of cloud vendors for large companies is now three to four (there’s a variance between public and private cloud). The main incentive is to avoid ‘vendor lock-in’ where opting for a single provider encourages a dependency on a particular technological roadmap, according to that vendor’s MO. Giving yourself the option to exploit the strengths of a number of individual vendors and the ability to chop and change as benefits and priorities change is a core driver for a multicloud strategy.
Are there other benefits to multicloud?
Yes, plenty. Sometimes multicloud happens by accident as companies acquire or develop technology strains that require a different cloud partner. Or there may be compliance issues, where data is required to be held in a particular territory. There’s also a disaster recovery element, where resources can be shifted on to a secondary platform in the event of an outage on the principal network.
Who are the key multicloud vendors?
No one sells multicloud, per se. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t primary options for companies pursuing a multicloud strategy. AWS, as you might expect, leads the pack, with Microsoft Azure in a strong second, trailed by Google Cloud Platform. VMware cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud are also contenders in the space.
How do companies manage a multicloud strategy?
Deploying multicloud has its benefits, but simplicity is not one of them. There are a range of strategies available but a shift is afoot. On the decline is an organic approach to multicloud where vendors have been added on an ad hoc basis. On the rise is an intentional multicloud strategy where companies have set out to create a robust architecture exploiting the benefits of multicloud in an organised and systematic manner.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”