The triumph of the cloud continues unabated. Only the hyperscalers benefit from cloud growth? No, thinks Mareike Jacobshagen, Head of Global Business Partner Program at DE-CIX. Properly set up, a multi-cloud ecosystem brings added value to all parties involved, from distributors, managed service providers, system and consulting houses to the end customers. […]
Companies that want to master the cloud transformation today face many questions. They often seek external help. But even for service providers, such large transformation projects are often still a challenge. Therefore, the DE-CIX (German Commercial Internet Exchange) wants to make these companies enablers of the cloud and provide them with modern interconnection products.
Complex IT landscapes and cloud jungles
The requirements for IT departments are becoming increasingly complex. It is necessary to use a wide variety of on-premise and cloud resources skillfully, to provide interfaces for a wide variety of services or to cleverly integrate them into internal systems, as well as to manage a network that can deal with all these challenges, and to include the connection to partners and suppliers. Especially the past pandemic years have accelerated this trend. Remote work concepts had to be technically implemented quickly and many digitization projects were preferred. Above all, the run to the cloud is not slowing down: virtually all companies are now using cloud services in one way or another.
However, the cloud transformation does not always run smoothly. For example, in a DE-CIX market study in 2021, 90 percent of the companies surveyed stated that they were struggling with the performance of their cloud services such as Microsoft 365. 50 Percent of the respondents also stated that they had problems with critical data, security or cost aspects. There are many different reasons for this. One of the most important: it is not THE cloud, but there are a variety of different cloud services, SaaS offers from the cloud for different application scenarios, as well as the possibility of moving a large part of the company’s IT to a cloud. It quickly becomes confusing and complex to ensure a smooth interaction.
Putting everything on a cloud card?
It is not surprising that IT departments like to put everything on a cloud card under these conditions and obtain data, applications or other resources from only one provider. But this concentration on just one cloud carries significant risks. What if a massive incident occurs despite a service level agreement – just think of the fire in the data center of a French cloud operator in spring 2021, with the consequences of which many companies were still struggling days later.
If you rely on only one cloud partner, you will inevitably create a “single point of failure” – after all, failures can also occur at the largest tech companies. Especially in the financial sector, the discussion about the regulation of “cloud concentration risk” is in focus. For example, the European Banking Authority sees the task of monitoring and managing this risk in financial institutions. But even for their own interest, companies should not put everything on a horse when it comes to the cloud. A multi-cloud strategy can better distribute risks.
Multi Cloud creates flexibility
With a multi-cloud approach, more resilient infrastructures can be built and the so-called vendor lock-in is avoided. But this comes at a price: such ecosystems are more complex than a centralized approach and only work if the various cloud resources, SaaS offerings and the connection to your own data centers work harmoniously together. So it takes a body that orchestrates all this.
This role can be taken by IT system houses and managed service providers who have been working in partnership with companies for a long time and can now act as a cloud navigator. From such a partner, companies can not only obtain SaaS offers from the cloud, it also ensures a direct and high-performance connection to the various providers. Since the consultants know the offers of the various providers and the needs of their customers exactly, they can add new, suitable services to their portfolio if they are interesting for a company.
Interconnection, the key to the cloud
Only by reselling SaaS offers you do not yet become a cloud navigator. For this purpose, the connection of customers to the cloud must also be achieved. For this purpose, the consulting and system houses must also deal with the topic of interconnection, i.e. the direct interconnection of networks. For this, in turn, you will need the help of an interconnection specialist.
Even if we always like to talk about the cloud, we should not forget that there is not just one. For reasons of resilience, in order to avoid vendor lock-in and to map individual use cases, companies are even well advised to rely on several providers. However, this also makes the ecosystem correspondingly complex and the various resources want to be connected. This is an opportunity for consultants and system houses, which can become a kind of central cloud aggregator by including modern interconnection services in their portfolio. On the one hand, this benefits you, but also the end customers, who receive all services and know-how from a single source.
*The author Mareike Jacobshagen is Head of Global Business Partner Program at DE-CIX.