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Interview: Dell explores the core tenets of multi-cloud

16 Jun 2020

When organisations and IT teams hear the word ‘multi-cloud’, many ideas will come to mind, but many will say it’s just the tip of the IT iceberg. 

Dell Technologies A/NZ CTO Melissa Osborne says that multi-cloud is a ‘catch-all’ term that covers many different things, such as on-premise and off-premise cloud, public, private and community clouds, as well as infrastructure, platform, and software-as-a-service. The best approach to cloud is often a blend of these, hence the term ‘multi-cloud’.

But multi-cloud is more than just an IT strategy – it requires a cultural shift across the business, as well as a vision, long-term planning, and the tools and skills to realise the benefits, she says.

A broad multi-cloud strategy helps to achieve business goals

According to a Dell Technologies survey on digital transformation, a third of business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region are worried that they are unprepared for the current pace of technology change. 

Australia and New Zealand are mature technology markets, so organisations in these countries have been slower to take advantage of multi-cloud. However, maturity comes from learning and sharing lessons – good and bad.

“Organisations across A/NZ are looking for information, and I urge more organisations to share their lessons – especially the benefits of cloud vs. the challenges or failures. Organisations are also looking for skills and ways to bring the entire organisation along,” says Osborne.

A multi-cloud strategy is how businesses build, store, maintain, protect and exploit our data resource to give them a competitive and innovative edge. It ensures businesses can develop and deploy fast, keeping up with the pace of change.

“Leveraging a multi-cloud approach incorporating multi-cloud resources allows organisations to transform IT by significantly improving agility and flexibility while controlling costs, and reducing business resilience risk,” she says.

Organisations wishing to investigate multi-cloud need to fully understand their goals and where they want to be, because ultimately moving to multi-cloud is a business decision. Organisations should understand their current positions, their goals, their customers, and if everyone in the company is willing to support the cloud journey.

Organisations that have existing multi-cloud systems should also continuously evaluate their performance, in terms of assessing and reviewing their existing cloud solutions to ensure they meet changing business needs.

Cloud providers provide local investment

“A/NZ has been fortunate to have public cloud providers invest in onshore solutions along with a strong local cloud community. There is also a strong ‘cloud-first’ leadership from government and across the industry. This allows organisations to readily embrace multi-cloud,” says Osborne.

This investment in local cloud has created a diverse marketplace, but it can be a challenge for organisations to compare cloud providers.

When engaging with cloud providers, organisations should treat the process as any other outsourced arrangement. A few considerations should include:

  • Contractual obligations: Not all cloud providers have the same capabilities. Not all are willing to alter their terms and conditions. Can you meet your organisation's obligations and legislative requirements? 
  • Who owns security? AWS coined the phrase ‘security in the cloud, and of the cloud’. What are you responsible for and what risks are you inheriting?
  • What happens when things change: ownership, suppliers, sovereignty, leadership (and culture) and personnel/skills? Who helps during cybersecurity incidents, and what is possible? Can you meet your customer/regulators expectations?
  • Cost – what is your total cost of operations? Have you factored in migration, any mitigations, and ultimate repatriation costs? Can you repatriate?
  • End-user experience - don’t forget why you are doing this! Will the experience meet the expectations you set, and will it scale over time? Does the cloud provider innovate, and will you get access to new services?

As a cloud provider, Dell Technologies brings the added advantages of experience and a wide partner ecosystem across the entire market. 

The company helps organisations operate consistently across private and public clouds, unifying environments, simplifying management and reducing risk. Support can range from a small private cloud offering all the way to architecting multi-cloud solutions for large enterprises. 

Osborne says that Dell Technologies invests in innovation, helps to prepare its customers for emerging technologies, and strives to drive human progress. 

“The events of 2020 have accelerated digital transformation in most organisations. Much of the workforce had to move to remote operations almost overnight. It also highlighted digital gaps and identified the need to bridge digital divides across our society,” says Osborne.

But Dell Technologies does not drive progress on its own.

Dell Technologies co-creates innovation with partners

It is important to ensure that interoperability is a key part of any cloud service because data exists everywhere – at the edge, in the data centre, out to public clouds.

“While data and associated applications are multiplying, IT resources and budgets aren’t. For organisations to turn data into competitive differentiators, they need a way to manage it seamlessly and consistently and the ability to deliver relevant business insights,” says Osborne.

Dell Technologies has partnership offerings with Amazon Web Services Inc., Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and VMware. 

The Dell Technologies Cloud platform built in partnership with VMware or Virtustream Enterprise Cloud are both designed to help customers build a multi-cloud that combines flexibility, agility and cost savings with security, visibility and manageability.

Dell Technologies and Google Cloud have just launched Dell Technologies Cloud OneFS for Google Cloud to control exponential data and application growth and ease the flow of files across private and Google clouds. 

Dell Technologies also recently announced Enterprise SONiC Distribution, which builds on the open-source Software for Open Networking in the Cloud (SONiC) to provide a more flexible network on Dell’s PowerSwitch Open Networking hardware. By breaking switch software into multiple, containerised components, enterprises can simplify network management.

Dell Cloud Storage Services directly connects Dell’s PowerStore platform to major public clouds including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud as a managed service. Cloud Storage Services also provides Data Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) to VMware Cloud on AWS. 

2020 and beyond: The road ahead for organisations & cloud

As 2020 created the urgent need for remote working infrastructure and flexible cloud environments, organisations should not be complacent and let things fall back to ‘the way they were’.

“Those businesses that are looking to learn from this situation and to continue to transform and embrace Industry 4.0 technologies will get ahead of further disruptions and be well position for future success. Multi-cloud will remain an enabling technology for digital transformation moving forward,” concludes Osborne.

Learn more about how Dell Technologies can assist your multi-cloud journey – click here for more information.