IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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Why one cloud is not enough
Tue, 30th Apr 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Time is money for any business, and this becomes even more important when the organisation is faced with an outage or disruption of some sort.

Downtime – whether the result of a planned upgrade or an unplanned disaster – is the bane of many CIOs, especially when transferring between different cloud environments. Business resilience is fundamental which means data and applications need to be available and protected continuously, not just once a day.

For large enterprises, each hour of downtime can cost $700,000 on average. This is a hugely significant chunk of revenue for any business. A downtime calculator can provide you with a more accurate view of what downtime can cost your organisation.

With organisations constantly striving to innovate, adding new internal and customer-facing services into their existing cloud network, the challenge for CIOs becomes even more acute. Embracing digital transformation adds layers of complexity within IT infrastructure which need to be protected and made resilient.

More data in more places means more systems to keep online at any given time, and for some, the potential risk of this going wrong has slowed the rate of adoption.

Many organisations are still trying to use different IT resilience tools and approaches for different environments which is an inefficient and clunky approach, with separate point solutions for backup, data protection and cloud mobility.

Indeed, many organisations are just backing up the data stored with each cloud provider, rather than replicating the entire environment to create a quick restore point.

Foundations for success

When it comes to circumventing the challenge of downtime, the stakes have never been higher. However, for a business making use of third-party services from the likes of AWS or IBM Cloud, and CSPs, how can it ensure that service availability is maintained during setup, and not impacted when a provider goes down?

The answer is not as simple as ‘choose reliable providers. Even leading cloud providers which have access to the best software and hardware available, and copious redundancies can be susceptible to downtime. That's why it's not just a case of simply backup and recovery but building an IT resilience approach for near-real-time protection that can help, no matter what happens.

Monitoring and mitigating

It's no longer a matter of if but when systems and services go down. As a CIO, it's about planning your infrastructure and digital transformation in such a way that you become IT and business resilient.

This means being able to restore and transfer your systems back online as quickly as possible. Build up your IT resilience by making the most of a multi-cloud approach and continuous protection.

Embracing a multi-cloud approach not just in your service offering, but also in your resilience planning is highly beneficial. Storing backups of data not just in different physical locations, but also potentially with various providers to ensure that you will have access to it, no matter what.

This means that in the event of workloads failing to automatically failover, you have built additional redundancy into your IT systems. Seamless integration between different providers is critical here, allowing businesses not just to move data in the event of a problem, but also for the flexibility to add and scale new services on the go.

Some multi-cloud resilience platforms also enable CSPs to remotely manage and upgrade customer services, all while decreasing or preventing downtime entirely.

For businesses looking to ensure that any maintenance takes place not just at a convenient time, but also with the smallest possible interruption, IT managers should be asking their providers whether this is a possibility, and if not, what tools are needed to make it so.

We anticipate seeing a greater shift to multi-cloud. According to IDC's Australian information technology industry predictions for 2018 report, enterprises spending on cloud services and cloud-enabling hardware, software, and services by 2021 will more than double to over A$9.8 billion, with over 65 per cent on multi-cloud.

Delivering an always-on business

A resilient solution that works across a variety of cloud environments and service providers will be essential for supporting organisations in their adoption of hybrid and multi-cloud - while still reducing the risk of downtime.

Meeting customer demand for an innovative, always-on business is complicated. It is not just offering new services, innovating and developing to meet and exceed the customer need which often requires a range of cloud services and providers; it also means proving reliability. IT resilience is a key part of that.

Ensuring that your services are always available, able to be restored easily from a single point down to mere seconds, no matter what happens, is critical. When your environment is spread across a whole range of cloud environments, it has never been more important to build a multi-cloud resilience strategy to keep your business online. After all, time really is money.