Multi-Cloud Management: What Do You Need to Know For 2021?

Data & Analysis

This year, our team at Catchpoint put together the IT Monitoring Trends 2021 Report. We focus on seven key trends that will shape year two of our new, unstable normal. The goal: to help you as either a “boots on the ground” engineer or a C-level exec to know what to expect of the year ahead. We also share actionable best practices for how to shape your IT monitoring strategy. Check out the full report here.

Multi-cloud and hybrid-IT management is one of the seven trends. Are you looking to better understand best practices for managing the complexity that a multi-cloud approach brings? In this blog, we’ll look at why multi-cloud and hybrid-IT management is essential and how to develop a robust monitoring strategy.  

Multi-Cloud Management: Why Is It Essential?

“By 2021, over 75% of midsize and large organizations will have adopted a multi-cloud and/or hybrid IT strategy.”

A multi-cloud and/or hybrid IT approach allows businesses to select best-of-breed features and share workloads across two or more cloud providers. This brings benefits in flexibility, reliability and can lead to cost efficiencies. Many businesses also have multi-service strategies for essential third-party solutions, such as CDN and DNS.

Remember that multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are different. Multi-cloud usually refers to the use of multiple public clouds from different providers. Hybrid cloud refers to a setup that comprises public clouds, private clouds, and legacy data centers.

While having a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud strategy brings with it many advantages (from improved resilience of systems to the ability to benefit from different providers’ key strengths), it undoubtedly also leads to more complexity.  

Five Challenges When Managing Multi-Cloud Environments

Senior IT analysts, engineers, and architects tasked with managing multi-service providers will recognize the main challenges in managing multiple cloud environments. These include:

  1. Confusion over how to best utilize the different cloud toolsets, user demands, and rules.
  2. Spiraling costs from not having a sufficient handle on the different cloud environments and their pricing structures.
  3. A lack of visibility and observability over the entire infrastructure.
  4. Determining when to monitor from within a cloud provider and when to avoid this.
  5. How to identify and localize performance issues when services are part of third-party components.

Robust Evaluation Frameworks are Essential

IT teams need robust evaluation frameworks to gain insight into these complexities. You need visibility into every cloud environment you manage. You need to know what’s running where within a complex environment that spans multiple providers. Monitoring and management go hand in hand.

What’s more, the data provided by your monitoring tool needs to be reliable and neutral. ITOps teams need to slice and dice that data and leverage the ability to look at both real-time telemetry and back at historical trends. A note of caution: not all monitoring solutions store raw data, which severely limits the critical ability to compare past and present trends.

Network routing and performance from different cloud providers to internal data center

The Benefits of a Multi-Cloud Management and Monitoring Strategy

A rigorous multi and hybrid cloud management strategy will lead to:

  • Greater visibility across the entire multi-cloud environment (by monitoring all workloads).
  • Improved security to deal with cloud security issues proactively.
  • A consistent security posture across different cloud providers and the increased attack surface they represent.
  • Simplified, centralized management – reducing the strain on IT teams, freeing up time for other tasks.

Find out how Catchpoint can help monitor your multi-cloud solution (including how to design corresponding tests and analytics) in this 5-minute How-To video.

Using Monitoring to Select and Evaluate a Multi-CDN Solution

At Catchpoint, we are seeing growing numbers of customers adopting a multi-CDN posture. This allows them to benefit from greater failover and reap rewards from the different focuses of different CDNs (e.g., one may be security-focused while others are more geared around developer needs).

Before deploying a CDN, Catchpoint can help organizations go through a competitive benchmarking process. This will help assess how much faster one CDN is than the origin, and across multiple geographies. During the evaluation, customers can compare one CDN vendor against another to strategize over how best to utilize a multi-CDN solution.

“Some brands run their entire business on our network edge and Catchpoint helps instill trust that they have made the right decision.”

Ameer Badri, Sr. Director of Solutions Engineering, Netlify

Benchmarking for Managing Multiple CDN Vendors

Benchmarking doesn’t stop once a provider is selected. It is also essential when managing vendors.

It is up to you, the consumer of the CDN service, to make sure that performance goals obtained during the evaluation process continue through delivery. A continuous CDN monitoring strategy should target key features and deliverables of each CDN in play, such as:

  • Network performance
  • Web performance
  • CDN infrastructure
  • Origin to edge stability
  • Content integrity validation  

Being able to accurately pinpoint and quickly resolve performance issues at the edge or origin is essential to ensuring customer satisfaction and providing a low mean time to resolve.

Catchpoint CDN mapping dashboard, showing object download speed by region.

Conclusion: Managing Complexity within a Multi-Cloud Infrastructure

A multi-cloud infrastructure introduces not only many benefits, but also significantly greater complexity. A rigorous multi-cloud management and monitoring strategy is essential.  

The following points need to be addressed and evaluated for each cloud provider on an ongoing basis:

  • Performance and availability
  • Reliability and SLAs
  • Technology stack and cost
  • Security and compliance

Curious What the Other Six Key IT Monitoring Trends for 2021 Are?

Check out the full IT Monitoring Trends 2021 report to read about the other trends. From the greater use of automation sparking greater blind spots to tips on how to control SaaS sprawl, we’ve got you covered.

Published on
April 14, 2021
, updated on
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