In a fast-moving, unpredictable and oftentimes volatile cloud marketplace, many companies have implemented or are considering a diversified cloud strategy to offset cloud vendor instability. An article by SeachCIO recently highlighted several CIOs and their approach to a diversified cloud strategy.

A Cloud Strategy | Simplified

A diversified cloud strategy, meaning the use of a combination of on-premise solutions and both public and private clouds, can be effective in risk reduction and workload optimization. However, it is important to decide beforehand what type of data and applications it plans to keep on premise and which to put in the cloud; and whether that decision is based on reducing risk or optimizing workloads. Companies that look to outsource to multiple cloud vendors to optimize workloads create a complex challenge. With multiple vendors, a company must monitor and manage the flow and movement as well as the quality of service over several different cloud environments. CIOs must decide which suppliers to go with, but also implement a governance strategy.

A Map of Complexity

The above approach creates a map of complexity, CIO of the city of Palo Alto, Jonathan Reichental, explains in the CIOSearch article. “Everything has to talk to each other,” he said. This strategy also involves the involvement of new personnel and possibly increased workloads for existing employees. Other CIOs agreed with Reichental. A diversified cloud strategy may not be a good fit when it comes to mission-critical applications and projects.

“You wouldn't want to parse up your SAP environment into five different places just because you want to have protection,” David Rutchik, a partner at Pace Harmon LLC says.

When it comes to mitigating risk in a volatile cloud vendor marketplace, Reichental suggests choosing a cloud provider who isn't going anywhere – Microsoft Azure. According to Microsoft, more than 57 percent of Fortune 500 are using Azure. Additionally, the growing customer demand for cloud and hybrid services is expected to reach $108 billion by 2017.


However, forming a cloud strategy isn't as simple as picking the biggest and most successful cloud provider. Azure, on the downside, had a significant global outage on November 19, 2014, that lasted 14 hours. Reichental says the type of cloud provided by the cloud vendor is key. With a public cloud, there are no protections or redundancies guaranteed, so a diversified cloud strategy is necessary in order to gain some protection. With a private cloud, he says, you can get service levels and multi-year contractual commitments. “You protect yourself…by having redundancy built into your overall agreement that has a separate disaster recovery capabilities, that has termination rights, things like that,” Rutchik said.

For more information on this topic: Is a Cloud Solution Right for Your Business?

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