Every data analyst will agree that hybrid and multi-cloud adoption is seeing a rise across the world. Flexera’s 2022 State of Cloud Report states that 89% of enterprises have a multi-cloud infrastructure in place and 80% are taking a hybrid approach by combining the use of public and private clouds. On an average, enterprises use 2.6 public and 2.7 private clouds. When compared to traditional on-premise systems and applications, cloud services have strong and vast benefits including ease of use and access, flexibility, agility, scalability, cost savings and brings greater value and performance to any business. It also serves as a huge help in dealing with the large amounts of data volume, real-time data streaming and analytical capabilities.

Challenges of Hybrid Multi-Cloud:

With the IT landscape constantly changing, it is imperative that enterprises evolve to emerging newer technologies to find solutions to challenges and keep customers in their grasp. Although the benefits of hybrid multi-cloud are humungous, it does come with a set of challenges. According to the same Flexera study, a significant number of companies report that only 68% of their multi-cloud investments are spent efficiently and about 32% is wasted due to inconsistencies in usage and matching the right application to cloud services. Multi-cloud trends for 2023 too indicates this problem as it is said the focus will be less on cloud adoption and rather focus on continued growth, efforts to control spend and security.

The crux of the problem lies in distributed data management as several cloud infrastructures are in play and with each having their own framework and approaches. It becomes a challenge for enterprises to govern, secure and integrate fragmented data sets and analytics; affecting time-to-insights and innovation. Also, with the expansion of complex data privacy regulations, getting data management strategies right without impacting the business is a priority for enterprises. Research says that only 35% executives are convinced that they are able to maximize data for business gain, while 69% believe that they need a robust data management strategy to taste success.

  • A practical multi-cloud strategy needs precise orchestration and cloud resource tagging to make sure that the corporate data is present in the right location, under appropriate security standards and in a compliant manner.
  • Another crucial factor is accessibility; while there is no dearth of data storage options like data lakes, data warehouses, on-premise or virtualized data centers, the challenge is to establish effective connectivity between multiple environments.
  • Many proprietary cloud and on-premise solutions have tooling usage and access restrictions and also every environment supports data storage and retrieval only in certain formats.
  • Companies without a strong and mature data governance policy lack the knowledge and visibility to know where different data assets are located and what is the shortest path to accessing them.

Role & Benefits of Data Fabric Architecture in Hybrid Multi-Cloud:

Data Fabric architecture has emerged as the solution to hosting a robust hybrid multi-cloud world. It is a growing trend that enables enterprises to centrally monitor, manage, orchestrate and govern data regardless of its storage location across multiple clouds, on-premise, data lakes or data warehouses. It will deliver quality data at the right time, in the right form and to the right user for reliable insights. Data Fabric facilitates improved data discovery, cataloging, integration and sharing of data across hybrid multi-cloud environments.

It transcends boundaries and cloud constraints to act as an intelligent connecting tissue, that joins together disparate data repositories, data pipelines and data-consuming applications. Instead of establishing a point-to-point data integration, data fabric links multiple clouds through a separate neutral layer that every cloud in an enterprise can interact with. The key benefits of data fabric in hybrid multi-cloud include:

  • Enabling common data services that spans any environment from distributed on-premise, hybrid and multi-cloud.
  • Delivering high-quality data consistently in the right form in a timely manner for wide range of analytical, operational, transactional, governance and self-service use cases.
  • Leveraging the value of data, no matter wherever the data resides. Data fabric assesses, combines and transforms both in-motion and at-rest data from diverse data landscape using metadata, data models and pipelines.
  • Moving datasets from one cloud to another with ease; thus, delivering flexibility, scalability and data optimization.
  • Robust data control and 360-degree view of data to realize the power of hybrid multi-cloud.

Data fabric’s core capabilities are crucial for any deployment of data and analytics solution. A recent study by Forrester on the business value of data fabric notes that companies see 20% reduction in data infrastructure management efforts. With improved data governance, compliance, accessibility and security, enterprises are able to realize anywhere between $0.46 million to $1.2 million in data virtualization benefits. Also, by implementing AI, ML and big data analytical solutions, enterprises are able to develop and deploy data models faster. In addition, companies are able to reduce their reliance on legacy data analytical tools and realize up to $1.2 million to $3.4 million in benefits.

Subashini Suresh