Building a multi-cloud platform

There is so much choice in the cloud marketplace, and there are specific reasons why certain companies go down particular cloud routes.

For example, looking at Google, it has some fantastic capabilities around machine learning and artificial intelligence — products such as Tensorflow. There may be areas of a business that want to take advantage of that.

Those in the insurance industry, for example, that are looking to do fraud analytics by leveraging machine learning capabilities with public cloud vendors (such as Google), can be more efficient, make decisions quicker, faster and better, and do that on a wider scale.

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“Many customers today look at multi-cloud as necessary for accessing the best tools and the best capability for their business needs,” says Lee James, EMEA CTO, Rackspace — the managed cloud computing company.

“That may be at a very basic level, it may be computers that need to be more efficient, or it may be in support of particular technologies or decisions.”

“I think it’s really important that when customers look for the solutions, they look to take an advantage of multi-cloud and see where it best fits. Then it becomes really important that you have a provider and a partner that can help you take all those multi -loud offerings, because they may be done by business units, by geography, by commercial reasons, by technical reasons or by relationship reasons.”

“It’s really important that when we see customers take more and more multi-cloud propositions, they build an organisation around those multi-cloud proportions or partner with somebody that can enable them to see that through a single pane of glass and be able to manage all of those multi-cloud offerings and capabilities for them.”

Avoiding vendor lock-in with a multi-cloud strategy

The benefits of adopting a multi-cloud strategy are well known to forward-thinking businesses. However, how can they avoid vendor lock-in?

Building a multi-cloud platform

Organisations looking to build a multi-cloud platform need to leverage a provider to develop a ‘cloud centre of excellence’.

It’s all about making sure that companies are this question first: How do I organise myself for the cloud?

Many CTOs, CIOs, IT managers (or similar) struggle with the same problems — ‘I see all of these great technologies that I want to take advantage of, but I’m conscious that all of these products come with regular updates, I’ve got demands that come through to my business on a regular basis, I’m running my own IT estate as well and I need to make sure that I’ve got the right skills in place if I am delivering a multi-cloud capability’.

Rackspace, for example, works with its customers in a professional services capacity; to relay what is possible, build a ‘cloud centre of excellence’ and manage the infrastructure.

To embrace multi-cloud and build a multi-cloud platform, organisations need to think in a product-led way. They’ll need to develop products that the customer requires in a certain size and a certain scale.

“So, the organisation needs to think like a product organisation, it needs to think how we consume applications and services in our day to day life today, and then be able to offer that back on a consistent basis, back to their users,” says James.

“If they don’t, customers will elsewhere to secure and develop those services. That can obviously lead to some risk and some challenges around security, cost optimisation, dividends and regulatory control.”

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Use cases

“Without naming names, we’re working with one of the leading banks at this moment around their public cloud adoption, an insurance company [building their] multi cloud platform and also one of the leading supermarkets, helping them to cope with the upcoming traffic of Black Friday,” continues James.

“We’ve seen our customers’ demands change as well. It’s not just about online, customers want the perfect experience, whether it’s online, or whether it’s in the high street. It’s not just about ordering and fulfilment, they also want that perfect experience when they’re returning a set of goods as well.”

“In retail, it’s really important to keep that experience seamless. So, it’s not just about what happens at the front end, but the experience has to be through the whole customer journey.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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