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Making the Move to Multiple Clouds

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Last month’s GCP Next 2016 conference for Google Cloud Platform users reinforced the company’s intent to become a major cloud platform player sooner than later. Google has made it clear that it intends to join the likes of Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure as leaders in public cloud. As Google makes strides, it will give organizations the ability to move to yet another cloud platform. Earlier this year, Dell’s Jim Ganthier, VP and GM of Engineered Solutions and Cloud, told Mark Cox at Channel Buzz that multi-cloud environments will top the list of key changes in the cloud this year.

I wholeheartedly agree, especially after spending most of March speaking with Dell Systems and Information Management (SIM) customers, partners and sales teams about cloud implementation strategies. For customers, it’s no longer a question of “if” they’re moving to the cloud, but “when” and “how fast” they can get there.

What’s driving the ongoing move to multiple clouds – a combination of on-prem private clouds and several public cloud options – is the freedom to pick what’s best ultimately for the business, based on economics, value and need. Every company has specializations best suited for particular applications and environments, which can be addressed effectively across the gamut of on-prem, private and public cloud implementations.  However, cloud continues to be much of the focus for new IT investments.

As the reality of having multiple cloud types and platforms sinks in, customers are exhibiting a greater sense of urgency to have the right management software tools. After all, enabling multiple clouds introduces a new level of complexity, which is why companies are looking for solutions to help simplify migrations, centralize and reduce management risk, and protect each environment. Also, they want to automate as much administration as possible to collect ample data to provide useful business insights while at the same time freeing up IT time so they can focus on new technologies that will help propel the business forward.

For example, in the near future, it will be commonplace for companies to run Active Directory on multiple platforms, such as on-prem, Azure and AWS. The key will be synchronizing AD properly across those different environments so that permissions, distributions lists, and so forth can be updated and managed centrally. Moreover, it’s crucial to ensure that AD environments can be recovered easily and quickly should any instance become corrupted while meeting compliance requirements at every level.

In peeling back the multi-cloud management onion, it’s easy to see how optimizing each layer can be difficult and laborious. That’s why we’ve been making big bets across the SIM portfolio of Windows, Performance Monitoring, Data Protection, Endpoint Systems Management and Database Management solutions to continually add value while easing new multi-cloud complexities. Not only can companies leverage cloud platforms to centralize management of databases and DevOps, they also can quickly roll out new services, such as Disaster Recovery as a Service. Simply put, the growing use of hybrid and multiple clouds is changing the fundamental ways IT thinks about managing IT.

In this new cloud world order, many pain points disappear, but new ones will emerge as customers take advantage of best-in-class PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS capabilities from different providers. For instance, one of the first things we help organizations do is replicate on-prem applications to their cloud-based environment as a failsafe strategy. Once there’s a comfort level with that approach, it’s possible to turn the replication into a true migration to the cloud. In some cases, that same application can be replicated to another cloud for an extra measure of protection.

Taking that one step further, we provide true application recovery—not just replication—in the cloud. In doing so, we’re blurring the lines between business continuity and backup and recovery while enabling Dell customers to leverage the cloud for things they couldn’t do previously.

On the database side, we’re helping countless customers replicate and manage a multi-database environment and leverage our database tools for managing non-traditional databases, including databases running in the cloud. We’re also expanding support for non-traditional databases, like MongoDB and Cassandra, while making it easier for customers to manage all database types in cloud environments.

The same holds true for other parts of the SIM product portfolio, as the common goal is to take existing on-prem tools and make them hybrid-aware while moving forward with SaaS-based offerings for the multi-cloud era. The result: a simpler way to move to the cloud, plus a centralized approach for managing, securing and safeguarding core business applications regardless of where they live.

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