Five steps to mastering multicloud management

Cloud-native apps, containers and data storage are complicating multicloud management - these tips can help mitigate the challenges

Commissioned As an IT leader, you have the daunting task of managing multicloud environments in which applications run on many public clouds and on-premises environments - and even the edge.

Operating in this cloud-native space is like conducting a symphony orchestra but with a major catch: You're managing multiple orchestras (cloud providers and on-premises systems), rather than one. Each orchestra features its own musicians (resources), unique instruments (services) and scores (configurations). With so many moving parts, maintaining harmony is no trivial pursuit.

Take for example the relationship between different parts of a DevOps team. While developers build and test containerized applications in multiple public clouds, operators are playing a different tune, focused on scaling on-premises systems. These teams accumulate different management interfaces, technologies and tools over time. The result? Layers upon layers of complexity.

This complexity is then magnified when we consider data management challenges. Shuttling data between public clouds and on-premises systems becomes harder with the increase of data gravity, and even container orchestration tools, such as Kubernetes, require deep technical skills when it comes to managing persistent storage. And the data reflects this struggle. According to a recent VMware State of Kubernetes research report published in May, 57 percent of those surveyed cited inadequate internal experience as a main challenge to managing Kubernetes.

Achieving consistent performance, security and visibility across the entire symphony - your IT infrastructure - remains a hurdle when you account for the different instruments, music sheets and playing styles.

A playbook for managing multicloud and Kubernetes storage

There is no silver bullet for managing storage and Kubernetes in multicloud environments. But here are some steps you can take for running modern, cloud-native apps across public clouds and on-premises systems alike.

- Educate. Your IT operations and DevOps teams must learn about the various container and storage services available across public cloud and on-premises systems, as well as how to manage the technologies and tools that make them hum.

- Standardize. You're not going to have a single tool to handle all of your needs, but you can simplify and streamline. For instance, standardizing on the same storage can help you reduce complexity and improve efficiency across multiple clouds and on-premises environments, making it easier to respond nimbly to shifts in your multicloud strategy. Pro tip: Examine where applications and data are living between on-premises systems and public clouds and whether those workload placements align with your goals.

- Automate. One of IT's greatest magic tricks is automating manual tasks. Why manage containers and storage piecemeal? Tools exist to help IT operations staff automate chores such as provisioning storage, deploying containers and monitoring performance.

- Test. Testing and deploying your applications frequently is crucial in multicloud environments with numerous interdependencies. Not only will this help you detect and fix problems, but it will also ensure that your applications are compatible with various cloud and on-premises systems.

- Manage. Pick a multicloud management platform that empowers your team to consolidate activities from discovery and deployment to monitoring and day-to-day management from a single experience spanning multiple public clouds. Streamlining processes will make IT agile when responding to business needs.

Hype versus reality

The last step is critical. Yes, the multicloud management platform provides one unified experience for managing multiple resource types. But the onus is on you to select the right partners who can deliver on their promises and make life easier for your staff, rather than moving your processes to a system that doesn't meet your IT service requirements.

And while there is talk of a supercloud, or one platform architecture to rule all clouds, solutions are emerging to help you manage your multicloud estate today.

Dell APEX Navigator for Multicloud Storage, available later this year, is a SaaS tool designed to help IT and DevOps teams provide deployment, management, monitoring and data mobility for APEX block and file storage across multiple public clouds and move data between on-premises systems and public clouds.

Dell APEX Navigator for Kubernetes, available next year, is designed to simplify management of Kubernetes persistent storage, enabling storage administrators and DevOps teams to deploy and manage Dell's Kubernetes data storage software at scale across both on-premises and cloud systems.  

Ultimately, these tools, which are integrated into the Dell APEX Console, help customers reduce time switching between different management experiences - so they can focus more on innovation or higher-level business tasks.

As an IT leader, the conductor of your own multicloud symphony, making sure all the orchestras in your IT infrastructure play in tune and at the right tempo is paramount - with consistent governance monitoring and management.

Just as a skilled conductor must master how to blend each orchestra's unique sounds to create a unified masterpiece, managing a multicloud environment requires you to master each cloud provider's offerings and each on-premises systems operations.

To orchestrate them effectively, you need a strategy that helps you maintain coherence and consistency as well as reliability and performance.

What steps will you take to master your multicloud symphony orchestra?

Click here to learn more about Dell APEX Console.

Brought to you by Dell Technologies.

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