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Multiclouds in an Enterprise – a Love-Hate Relationship

Mazin Yousif

Pages: 4–5

Abstract—Do enterprises need multicloud? The simple answer is yes and I believe it is a huge yes.

Keywords—cloud; multicloud; middleware; IoT security


In my 2017 January/February letter, I referred to the RightScale survey that was published in December 2016. One of its findings was that businesses use an average of six cloud providers. This seems appropriate for a variety of reasons. A user may shop around for the best price on a cloud service even if that means using a new provider. Location of the datacenter(s) where a cloud service is delivered may be important to the end-user, for latency reasons. Multiple providers may be used due to fear of lock-in or due to reliability and continuity concerns regarding data, services, and applications.

Using multiple cloud providers may (or may not) exhibit challenges to the business; as it all depends on the complexities of the business, its operational model and its application architecture and IT footprint. That said, although multiclouds provides multiple benefits, in general they also come with multiple challenges. Not all enterprises are aware of these challenges, and those that are may not have plans to address them.

Here are few of the issues that enterprises are grappling with:

Perhaps the most compelling necessity for multiclouds is a good governance and management framework to orchestrate among cloud services or providers and provide full visibility to all cloud usage, performance and security. This includes analytics for better efficiencies and cost controls. It may also require integration of software components or building service wrappers to benefit from the cloud services. Let’s not forget security & compliance, and privacy: protection of personal data is becoming increasingly important.

This issue of the magazine focused on the role of middleware for multiclouds. I would like to thank Luiz F. Bittencourt, Rodrigo Calheiros, and Craig Lee for serving as guest editors for this special issue, managing the review process for all submitted papers. I encourage you all to read their introductory letter. The columns in this issue cover diverse topics ranging from whether cloud brokers are still relevant (Cloud Technologies); to describing blockchain standards for compliance and trust (Cloud StandardsNow); to describing a software-defined membrane for policy-driven edge and IoT security (Blue Skies); to addressing the challenges and research opportunities for biometrics in the cloud (Cloud and the Law); and finally, describing real-world experiences in a multicloud exchange (Cloud Economics).

Mazin Yousifis the editor in chief of IEEE Cloud Computing. He’s the chief technology officer and vice president of architecture for the Royal Dutch Shell Global account at T-Systems International. He has a PhD in computer engineering from Pennsylvania State University. Contact him at mazin@computer.org.
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