More and more enterprises are adopting a multi-cloud strategy. The reality is that most enterprises are already consuming multiple clouds whether they intended to or not. With so many public cloud services to choose from, and Shadow IT constantly lurking in the corner, there’s a good chance that a given organization may already be using AWS, Azure, Digital Ocean, Box, and more. It’s now the job of central IT to try and herd these cats into a cohesive strategy with proper controls and security applied. Different public cloud services have some key differentiation points and specialized offerings that might benefit a specific line of business or workload. When evaluating the multiple options available, business owners will select the ideal tool for the job rather than comprise on a substandard option because that is the public cloud service singularly blessed by Central IT.

The benefits of a multi-cloud strategy, in short, it is the ability to select the best tool for the job. Can you hammer in a nail with a screwdriver? Sure, but it makes a little more sense to use a hammer. Likewise, as the old proverb goes, when all you have is a hammer… By embracing a multi-cloud strategy, your Central IT group can empower business units to select the best possible platform for their workload. This will lower the barriers to entry, improve time to market, and make your developers happy.

What are multi-cloud’s drawbacks? You’ve made your developers and business folks happy, but probably not your infrastructure and operations team. They now have to manage more environments with the same number of people. They need to track access, security, and monitor all these new environments. Your accounting department may likewise be nonplussed. Each of these services will be billing on a consumption basis, and workloads tend to be like goldfish. They will expand to fill the space they inhabit. In the case of public cloud, that space is vast and expensive.

One way you can make managing multiple clouds easier is by leveraging a multi-cloud management platform. Look for a multi-cloud management platform that has the features that address your key concerns around cloud adoption. Those concerns typically are:

  • Cost: A multi-cloud management platform should help in tracking and optimizing costs.
  • Security: a multi-cloud management platform should be able to assess and audit the security posture of the various clouds it manages.
  • Automation: Those operations folks need a platform that enables them to manage more with the same head count. Automation and standardization are their best friends.

When comparing multi-cloud management platforms, you have to consider what is most important for your business. If cost is the priority, then assess the tool in terms of how it manages and reports on cost. You should also make a list of functionality that is core to your requirements. If a platform doesn’t have what you need, then move on. Beyond that, look at how the platform is priced. Is it based on consumption, a simple monthly fee, or a per environment license? Make sure that the cost structure scales in a way that is efficient and sensible for your business.

Finally, while a comprehensive multi-cloud management platform is ideal, there are other options. Organizations will often use a managed service or rely on multiple tools to oversee specific components of their multi-cloud strategy. For the same reason that you ended up with a multi-cloud strategy, you may need multiple, purpose-built tools to manage it. For example, your operations team may have a monitoring platform, your accounting team will have a cost tracking platform, and your engineers will have a separate automation platform that are all essential to your business. But whether it’s using multiple tools designed for a particular purpose, a managed service, or a multi-cloud management platform, you've got many options to find your best tool to manage the job.