Cloud & Virtualisation

Why multi-cloud, what are the challenges and how can VMware help?

What is the difference between hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud? Why use multi-cloud for my organisation and what are the challenges? How can we benefit from VMware solutions? Here vExpert Bryan O'Connor answers some of his learners' commonly asked questions.


Whenever I teach my various on-premises or cloud-based courses, I always get reminded by my cloud trainer colleagues that in the future, “everyone will be running all their services in the cloud.”

I then ask my learners and attendees these questions:

“In the future, will you run all your IT services purely from a public cloud?” Usually, the answer is, “No, we won’t.”

“Are any of you running services in just one cloud solution?” These answers vary between “no", "yes", and "we actually use multiple clouds”.

As we move forward and more of our services move towards modernisation, questions are being asked, obstacles are appearing, and as different departments perhaps decide to take their services into their own hands, we find that silos are created, and eventually it will come back into the IT departments hands.

The challenge is to manage these multi-cloud environments in a cohesive and transparent (for the user) way.

Here are some of the questions I get asked:

What is the difference between a hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud scenario?

I always think of hybrid-cloud as a mix between a private on-premises cloud and a public cloud solution. Here I have to focus on a management method that allows consistency of management across a common infrastructure layer, such as having VMware on-premises and then running VMware via VMC on AWS for my public cloud offering.

Multi-cloud for me is a bit more complex – I may have VMware on-premises, AWS running my website, and web interfacing services, and then running perhaps Azure with Office 365 for productivity, and Intune for my device management. They all have their own management tools, and potentially hundreds of separate accounts that I need to now coordinate and manage consistently.

What are the challenges for organisations on their journey to the multi-cloud?

  • You'll have multiple systems that require management.
  • There may be unpredictable costs, due to pay-as-you-go models.
  • You may not know 100% which clouds are in use, as developers and departments create their own workloads, leading to inconsistency and perhaps duplication of solutions.
  • You'll need protection of workloads from a high availability, scalability, and business continuity view.
  • You'll have to be backing up workloads.
  • You'll have to deal with lots of service level agreements.
  • Delivering applications, on any cloud, on any device, and making this transparent to the end-user.

Why use a multi-cloud strategy for my organisation?

1. Unique Services:

Organisations have the freedom to choose from different cloud providers to best fit specific application and computation requirements to their own unique business needs.

2. Scalable:

An organisation can quickly scale up to use more resources during peak periods and then scale down when demand lessens, or fewer virtual data centres, depending on demand.

3. Speed:

Global organisations can get services faster in multiple regions by choosing local public cloud vendors at all of their office locations. The closer the data centre, the lower the latency. Using a local public cloud computing provider also decreases response time for higher priority tasks.

4. Compliance with governmental regulation:

Some organisations may need to use multiple cloud storage providers to adhere to government regulations and data sovereignty laws that require certain types of data to reside within the company’s country.

5. Saving time, money and physical space:

Most organisations that employ multi-cloud capabilities use the public cloud for IaaS, avoiding the need to build and maintain their own datacentre. The advantage of using public cloud for IaaS is that users can build a virtual data centre in the cloud without needing a physical piece of hardware. This saves money and physical space, because the company does not have to invest in or store their own hardware. It also saves time, because the public cloud service provider manages, maintains and updates the data centre.

6. Future-proof and flexible:

Opting for multiple cloud services provides benefits beyond spreading the risk of failure across several vendors. By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can get everything they want, or might want tomorrow, without being limited to the services that one vendor provides.

There has to be a way to better manage all these clouds, whether they be on-premises, hybrid or public clouds?

As I work with VMware products and have done for 20 years, my focus will be on how VMware can help me manage the diversity in solutions and clouds that I may have in use now – and in the future.

Can VMware help manage operations when I have applications and services on AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Oracle, and so on?

The simple answer is YES. VMware multi-cloud solutions are designed to help manage workloads that run on the native infrastructure of public clouds. Not only that, VMware can help me to manage multi-cloud and hybrid scenarios that include consistent infrastructure based on VMware technologies that run alongside workloads that run natively in the cloud.

VMware solutions for the multi-cloud

VMware’s building block for cloud solutions is VMware Cloud Foundation, a product suite that contains a number of solutions. It consists of:

  • VMware vSphere
  • VMware NSX-T
  • VMware vSAN
  • VMware vRealize suite

VMware also has solutions to help analyse and manage your cloud solutions, such as CloudHealth by VMware, which allows companies to analyse and manage cloud cost, usage, security and governance in one place with a cloud management platform.

Also, VMware has Cloud Health Secure State that allows companies to gain real-time visibility across clouds.

  • Build a unified security monitoring approach for AWS, Azure, and Google Clouds to understand how a minor configuration change can elevate risk across all connected objects.
  • Monitor ephemeral cloud resources and detect security events within minutes without excessive API calls to cloud.
  • Visualise cloud resource relationships and associated misconfigurations, threats, metadata, and change activity.
  • Explore inventory with typeahead search and investigate risks with powerful visualisation capabilities for navigating cloud topology.
  • Audit configuration changes and track progress developers are making in resolving security violations.

VMware Cloud Partners and solutions

VMware’s original partnership started with AWS and as such, my first foray into hybrid cloud was VMware Cloud on AWS. But VMware has expanded and also provides:

As we move forward, I am sure that most companies will embrace some form of multi-cloud solution, and this area will grow rapidly. What’s important is that all companies research and then select the service that works best for them.

View our VMware courses

Join our webinar

Continue exploring muticloud with QA by joining our webinar on Monday 7 December with special guests Martin Hosken, Chief Technologist for Cloud Services at VMware, and Gabriel Villazan Impastato, EMEA Training Solutions Advisor at Google. Click here to register:

Webinar: Exploring the Skills Essential to Successfully Navigate Through the Multicloud Era

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