Multi-cloud has been discussed within the cloud computing industry for a while, but there is still confusion about what it is and where it fits within the terminology of private, public, and hybrid cloud.
What most agree on is that multi-cloud is about mixing and matching the best-of-breed solutions and services from different cloud providers to create the most suitable solution for a business. It minimises the amount of vendor lock-in and gives organisations more flexibility with their cloud solution over different price-points and by leveraging relative strengths, advantages, and geographic locations.
A recent Dimensional Research survey of more than 650 IT decision-makers found that 77 percent of businesses are planning to implement multi-cloud architectures in the near future. This signifies a big change in perspective for business leaders when you consider that cloud adoption for businesses was relatively uncommon five years ago. It also demonstrates that the benefits of multi-cloud can be applied to a wide range of sectors and industries.
Why adopt multi-cloud solutions?
There are a number of benefits that multi-cloud deployments bring, including:
- Improve disaster recovery and geo-presence
- Ability to use unique cloud-specific services from different providers as they are needed
- Ability to leverage the public cloud benefits of low-cost and unlimited scalability in order to move agile applications to the cloud
- Use of a private cloud for red-tape bound applications or more traditional infrastructure
The phrase “don’t place all your eggs in one basket” is equally applicable to cloud environments. To spread risk across multiple platforms minimises the possibility of downtime as well as being able to be make the most of public cloud cost-savings without being locked into one vendor.
With a multi-cloud disaster recovery plan, businesses become more resilient than ever. Being able to failover from one public cloud provider to another means a business can still carry on as usual, even in the unlikely scenario of one provider being unavailable.
Multi-cloud also gives companies the ability to take advantage of cloud data centres based in various geographic regions. Directing traffic to data centres closest to users based on their location is vital for latency-sensitive applications. Storing data locally also minimises issues over data sovereignty.
Nobody said it was easy
It can be challenging to manage your solutions across different cloud environments and from different vendors. Whilst this is not necessarily an immediate problem, if not monitored and controlled properly, operational issues start stacking up at a rapid speed, leading to difficulty maintaining access control, bug patches and security updates.
Additionally, the flipside to the potential for multi-cloud cost savings is that the complexity of the different cloud environments can make it difficult to understand the pricing differentiators among all of the cloud providers and the various services that they offer.
The importance of a helping hand
Navigating and managing multi-cloud solutions can be daunting if you do not have an experienced in-house IT team to keep on top of it all. Not only this, managing cloud services takes up time and IT resources which could be better spent elsewhere in the business, such as creating new features and supporting customers.
Many organisations are therefore turning to a managed cloud services provider to assist them with their multi-cloud solution. By partnering with a trusted partner, companies can avoid many of the pitfalls associated with multi-cloud. For instance, by using a proprietary single pane of glass solution from a managed cloud services provider, companies can check all is well with their cloud services from one place. Companies can also utilise their cloud services more efficiently and easily monitor changes and updates.
Long-term management and maintenance of the multi-cloud deployment can be carried out by the provider, which gives the benefit of round-the-clock support to ensure any issues are promptly resolved.
The future of the multi-cloud and what lies ahead
A study conducted by IDC last year found that 86% of enterprises predict they will need a multi-cloud approach to support their solutions within the next two years. Businesses want the best possible infrastructure, services, and platforms.
However, in order to ensure that a company’s multi-cloud deployment is successful, a business’ different cloud services need to function smoothly and cohesively.
A multi-cloud strategy is transformative for businesses, allowing them flexibility to scale offerings, save on hosting solutions, and ultimately offer better solutions to their customers. By keeping a few key factors in mind when considering a multi-cloud infrastructure, companies can guarantee a successful and pain-free transition as well as create opportunities for innovation.