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What are the best ways to manage multiple cloud providers?

While using a single cloud provider can leave your data center vulnerable, a multi-cloud plan may require a more complex management strategy.

IT professionals are increasingly seeing the value in having multiple cloud providers service the needs of their data center. The primary reason is to get out of the “keeping all your eggs in one basket" problem of using a single cloud provider, which can leave you vulnerable to a variety of issues like cloud data center outages and bandwidth problems. But using multiple cloud providers does potentially add to the complexity of cloud storage management.

There are limited software options available for simultaneously managing multiple cloud providers, and those that are available provide more of a monitoring capability than actual management. For now, storage administrators may be better off leveraging an on-premises appliance designed for a specific function, like data protection, that connects to multiple clouds on the back end but manages those connections seamlessly. For example, a hybrid cloud backup product can receive inbound data and then replicate it to two different cloud providers automatically. Hybrid cloud network-attached storage can do something similar for file serving, caching files on the local appliance, but then replicating to two different cloud systems simultaneously. But the use of multiple clouds does not have to be just for a disaster. An organization may need to keep certain data sets in a regionally-based data center to meet data sovereignty requirements, while the rest of their data can be stored in a more generic (and less expensive) cloud storage facility.

Again, the key is the hybrid appliance or the cloud software. It needs to seamlessly manage the back end. This allows the storage administrators to set a data location or replication policy one time and not have to babysit their cloud storage providers.

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