When companies make the move to multi-cloud for optimised service and system delivery there is one overriding question that must be solved – where should everything go, asks Pieter le Roux, modern platform lead at Altron Karabina.

In the past, cloud adoption was defined by the best fit for the business with one provider. Today, companies don’t need to put their eggs into one proverbial digital basket.

Multi-cloud allows companies to pick the best options across cloud providers to create a cloud framework that dips corporate toes into multiple digital pools.

Choosing the best now boils down to the best solution for a company’s unique requirements and, as a result, companies can now shop around for cost, fit and purpose. It has created an entirely new breed of cloud rather than just one best-of-breed.

However, it introduces challenges. Where does the company put its data? Which cloud is which? Which is the realistic best for the business? The answer lies in nine simple steps:

* A workload analysis that unpacks what workloads the organisation wants to migrate, which it wants to bolt, the purpose of these workloads and their characteristics.

* Classify the services by asking if the software is platform-based or if it’s infrastructure. Use this as a springboard to work out what your placement considerations are and where you need to put your data. Which takes you directly to step three which is …

* The location of the data must be carefully navigated to ensure tight costs and even tighter controls with smooth access and compliance controls. This asks if the cloud provider has a presence in the region where you want to put your data and if it is just one data centre or multiple data centres.

* Next, the key factor is performance and scalability. Does your business want to scale easily or is this service simply a server bolted on? This allows you to make decisions that align with your organisational growth and performance metrics.

* A cost analysis is the big bell that must be rung at this point in the process. Your ingress and egress costs, your overall costs – these must be transparent and clear before the first step is taken into any multi-cloud infrastructure. Is your business ready to pay the costs associated with storage compute? Do you know how much it costs for your data to move smoothly between data centre, business and customer? This will play a significant role in formulating your choice of cloud provider as some are more expensive when it comes to egress while others are more expensive with regards to infrastructure. Knowing the costs means knowing how to build the cheapest framework that delivers the best service.

* Compliance and data resiliency are next. How resilient is the solution you have on the table? Will it be backed up and scalable? Does it meet compliance requirements? Is it hosted within the correct country? And, can the business protect and secure it in a way that delivers comprehensive peace of mind? At this point, you need to know both data resilience and residence to ensure your company’s data is secure, compliant and under control.

* Security and governance are, of course, critical to any multi-cloud development. You want to know if these are built into the platform and services provided or if your role is to manage and monitor the data while the service provider does the rest. There are cloud providers that do offer a rich array of services within this arena but the conversation will come down to cost. However, it’s worth noting that managing multi-cloud with multiple tools is a nightmare that no business wants – it’s ideal to focus on going with a single tool that has a comprehensive overview and purview.

* Avoid vendor lock-in and mitigation. Can you move your workloads? Can you move your services? Can you change your cloud provider? Many cloud providers have incentive schemes where they provide a significant discount to companies if they commit to a long-term relationship so accepting this cost saving comes down to how locked in you’re prepared to be.

* The final step is to unpack all this data into a decision matrix that allows you to take a clear look at every one of these points and weigh them so you can assess exactly which cloud providers and services are best for your business. This weighting is the best way to understand your cloud breed needs while staying within costs and aligning with your expectations.

It is this visibility that allows companies to truly thrive within a multi-cloud framework without surprises and with results.