What Is Multicloud Management?

Businesses that use a multicloud approach face a number of challenges for managing their deployments.

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Multicloud Management

Learning Objectives

After reading this article you will be able to:

  • Understand what a multicloud strategy is
  • Learn about the challenges of managing multicloud deployments

What does a multicloud strategy look like?

A public cloud is a cloud service that a vendor offers to multiple customers. If Cloud Vendor, Inc., offers their cloud storage product to both Acme, Inc., and Example, Inc., then their service is a public cloud service.

A multicloud strategy includes multiple public clouds from different vendors. Acme, Inc. may decide to use several public clouds in addition to Cloud Vendor, Inc.'s service, with different computing workloads or cloud services running in each cloud.

Multicloud deployment

More and more businesses today are choosing to go with a multicloud strategy. Managed properly, a multicloud deployment can increase reliability, reduce the risk of vendor lock-in, and add essential business capabilities.

What is multicloud management?

Multicloud management is the process of tracking, securing, and optimizing a multicloud deployment. Multicloud management presents different challenges than managing one cloud or managing a legacy IT setup. Each public cloud vendor has different features. Each vendor also offers different tools for managing their cloud service, their own APIs, and different service-level agreements (SLAs)*. Internal employees may be experienced with one type of public cloud but not with another. In addition, the disparate clouds have to be connected and secured.

*A service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract that specifies the services a vendor will provide, and the conditions for providing those services.

What is the difference between multicloud management and hybrid cloud management?

A hybrid cloud deployment also involves combining multiple clouds. However, the term "hybrid cloud" refers to a combination of two distinct types of infrastructure. A hybrid cloud will combine a public cloud with a private cloud or on-premises legacy infrastructure. Private clouds and on-premises infrastructure give an organization more hands-on control over their cloud servers and cloud security policies. Learn more about hybrid clouds.

How does multicloud management work?

Even though they're increasingly common, multicloud deployments are relatively new, and tools and best practices for managing multiple public clouds at once are still developing. It is possible for internal IT teams to manage each cloud separately, but this is time-consuming and not ideal. There are very few tools built solely for multicloud management, but several more comprehensive modern IT solutions will include multicloud management.

Cloudflare aims to simplify many aspects of multicloud management by providing a single place for controlling the security, performance, and reliability of a multicloud deployment. By combining DNS, load balancing, reliability services, and other essential technologies in one dashboard, Cloudflare can help businesses overcome some of the major challenges of multicloud management.

What are the challenges of multicloud security?

Multicloud introduces a number of security challenges. Each cloud may have different security policies, and vendors may have different safeguards in place. Multicloud organizations have to figure out how to apply a consistent, effective security policy across all cloud resources.

Some public cloud providers let their customers configure important security settings themselves. It's crucial that internal teams understand these settings and configure them properly – especially if an IT or DevOps team does not have experience with a certain cloud. Many data breaches have resulted from misconfigured cloud servers (such as the 2019 Capital One breach).

Multicloud deployments also share some of the same security challenges faced by any cloud deployment. Unlike traditional on-premises technology, there is no clear network perimeter that a firewall can defend. Instead, a cloud firewall or web application firewall (WAF) should be deployed. User access control is very important as well, since cloud resources can be accessed from anywhere.

How does Cloudflare assist with multicloud security?

Cloudflare and Multicloud

Cloudflare provides an infrastructure-agnostic solution for security. Cloudflare customers can manage much of their cloud deployments' security from a single dashboard. The Cloudflare WAF blocks malicious traffic, SSL from Cloudflare is easy to enforce across all web properties, and Cloudflare Access enables companies to control access and protect cloud resources without using a VPN.