In today’s tech-driven world, most organizations work in hybrid or multi-cloud environments. A recent study showed that about 86% of respondents perceive their cloud architecture as multi-cloud. Although these statistics are encouraging, many businesses often experience significant integration challenges in hybrid/multi-cloud architectures.
Failing to create a dedicated plan of action to resolve these challenges can result in a low success rate and high risks in the multi-cloud environment. Therefore, companies must devise innovative ways to connect applications and data sources with the hybrid cloud architecture. This will enhance the performance and success of data. But what is a hybrid/multi-cloud architecture? And what are some integration challenges faced by companies that adopt this cloud infrastructure? Let’s find out.
Hybrid Vs. Multi-Cloud Architectures
The two architectures are similar in that; they use multiple cloud providers. However, in a hybrid cloud architecture, an organization utilizes and combines cloud services from the public cloud and private cloud providers. On the other hand, multi-cloud architecture involves using multiple public cloud vendors to host your company’s data, infrastructure, and applications.
7 Integration Challenges in Hybrid/Multi-Cloud Strategies and Their Solutions
Although these cloud architectures provide more scalability and flexibility, they introduce various integration challenges, including the following:
1. Data and Application Integration
Integrating data across several clouds and on-premise systems is complex. Data may reside in different locations, structures, and formats. As a result, it makes it challenging to attain seamless data integration.
On the other hand, application integration across multiple clouds and on-premise systems is often challenging. Some applications may run smoothly in one infrastructure and not the other. This further complicates their integration, making the process more time-consuming and resource-intensive.
To address this challenge, you must implement robust data integration strategies, including data movement, synchronization, and transformation techniques. Doing so will help you seamlessly integrate your applications and data across various cloud providers.
For application integration, businesses should design their apps with interoperability in mind. For instance, they should create integration patterns and implement APIs to facilitate seamless integration and data flow between different architectures.
2. Architectural Complexity
Migrating your IT infrastructure to multiple cloud environments involves significant changes in the existing architecture. It’s even worse if you initially had on-premises infrastructure only.
To address this issue, organizations must redesign their applications to ensure they can run in new cloud environments. Also, train your team to equip them with the necessary skill set to effectively maneuver the architectural changes and complexity.
3. Compliance and Data Protection
Businesses are often governed by different regulatory requirements depending on their industry. At the top of these requirements is ensuring data security and privacy. Regulations such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) hold companies responsible for protecting personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive data records.
Organizations that process data, including cloud service providers, must follow such controller instructions. It often comes as a contractual agreement, like binding corporate rules and standard contractual clauses.
Using hybrid or multi-cloud architectures increases the number of data processors. This further increases the risk and intricacy of these integrations.
Organizations should develop governance frameworks, controls, and policies to address this integration issue. Also, they should consider reputable cloud providers with a proven track record of compliance. This will help maintain regulatory compliance, data security, and privacy standards across the hybrid/multi-cloud architecture.
4. On-Premises Integration Structure Maintenance
As initially stated, implementinghybrid or multi-cloud architectures changes the existing infrastructure significantly. When you deploy these cloud strategies, it becomes difficult to maintain the integration structure of on-premises data and other supporting systems.
Businesses must balance the needs of hybrid/multi-cloud systems with on-premises integrations to solve this challenge. This will help retain existing connections between applications and data.
5. Performance Optimization
Every organization wants to optimize its operations in the cloud to get the best outcome from its investment. However, achieving maximum performance in a hybrid or multi-cloud environment is often challenging. Some factors hindering performance in these cloud architectures include workload distribution, network congestion, and data latency.
Businesses should carefully design and optimize their apps, load-balancing techniques, and data placement strategies to address this integration challenge. Doing so will ensure efficient resource utilization. Also, it will help them achieve optimal performance across different architectures.
Some strategies to consider include the following:
- Using edge computing for latency-sensitive workloads.
- Utilizing content delivery networks or CDNs to distribute data.
- Implementing caching mechanisms.
- Deploying load-balancing and auto-scaling algorithms to automatically adjust resource allocation.
Hybrid and multi-cloud integrations often require a higher level of agility that’s not needed when you depend on on-premises deployments or single-cloud architecture. For instance, if you have nodes in multiple cloud apps, a high degree of agility is required to quickly shift between nodes at varying points in time. This potentially adds latency to the already complex architectures.
Organizations should design their applications and systems to facilitate a seamless transition of services in hybrid/multi-cloud environments. For example, they can use edge computing to minimize latency. This will ensure nodes in different cloud applications automatically switch based on their location in the multi-cloud environment.
7. Identity and Access Management
The cloud is a risky environment because it’s accessible to everyone as long as they have an internet connection. This means whoever you entrust your data to canaccess it, regardless of their location. Therefore, managing access controls, security policies, and user identities is crucial to ensure that only authorized individuals can access your data.
However, managing access and user identities in a hybrid/multi-cloud environment is complex due to the varying infrastructure. Therefore, you should implement a centralized identity and access management system during the integration. This will help provide consistent access management, authentication, and authorization throughout the hybrid/multi-cloud architecture.
Hybrid and multi-cloud architectures are beneficial to businesses. They help prevent vendor lock-in and improve flexibility, efficiency, and productivity. However, these cloud architectures often present several integration challenges associated with data protection and compliance, identity and access management, and performance optimization, to mention a few. Therefore, businesses should implement measures to mitigate these challenges to optimize the value of hybrid/multi-cloud environments.