Simply put, multi-cloud is a strategy that allows organisations to employ different cloud solutions for a wide selection of different projects. A multi-cloud approach can include both public and private clouds, or a mixture of both. Cloud computing has become a mainstream part of the IT world and whether it’s used to address complex IT architecture, increase digital agility or ensure operational governance there is an overwhelming trend towards multi cloud across all enterprise organisations.
So why consider multiple cloud service providers? There are number of reasons why multi-cloud scenarios just come into being– acquisitions, siloed departments, shadow IT arrangements etc. However, most multi-cloud strategies are skillfully put in place to take advantage of an ecosystem of clouds that optimise for cost, capabilities, and benefits.
The 3 main reasons why multi-cloud strategies are chosen:
1) Differing areas of expertise
In today’s digital world, whether it’s to achieve cost or performance benefits, companies need to run workloads in environments that are optimal for the job function they address. Each cloud provider is traditionally known by its customers for having a certain area of expertise. For example, Microsoft Azure is the dominant home for enterprise organisations, Google is known for its analytics platform and many developers have a preference for building on Amazon Web Services. Even though these dominant platforms are branching out into each others territories, IT teams often decide where to place workloads based on their reputations. When presenting a business case and justifying spend -why wouldn't you lean on well-established reputations?
Earned reputations aside, it certainly makes sense for IT leaders to scrutinise all cloud environments often. With providers increasingly shifting their solution offerings, committing to one cloud can be an immense trade off – especially if those capabilities critical to operations are reduced. Staying a-breast of all options within your established provider and beyond is essential.
2) Achieving resilience
Beyond picking the best cloud for individual workloads, companies need to design an ecosystem that runs smoothly and with high uptime. Even providers with excellent reputations can suffer outages, slow-downs, or security breaches.
The digital world moves so quickly that even seemingly small delays between transactions could impact corporate functionality or customer loyalty. A good, multi-cloud approach should ensure that mission-critical applications and data are accessible and functioning despite any unforeseen digital disasters. Fundamentally, multi-cloud strategies place IT resources in close proximity to customers hence ensuring better latency and fewer dropouts.
3) Avoiding vendor lock-in
From an IT development standpoint, if an organisation links all of their data and applications to one cloud’s infrastructure then lock-in costs could rise as they scale up their cloud activities. Scale often also equates to a need for more innovation. Innovation that a single provider may not be able to serve or also not choose to deliver loyalty pricing on. Lock-in diminishes the opportunity to leverage both functional and financial value.
From a commercial standpoint, multi-cloud strategies provide businesses with valuable negotiating power. As companies scale their cloud strategies they create a stronger position from which to command more from their existing cloud providers. Whether it’s to request they add new resources or to make a case for competitive pricing, scale, aligned with the possibility of new alliances strengthens their hand.
As the number of cloud providers rises and IT environment becomes more complex, IT teams need to ensure that their expertise and bandwidth are always available to stay on the pulse of updates. As a result, data centres and networks providers have been stepping up to help handle cloud management, allowing precious internal resources to focus on their primary business goals. Avoiding reliance on one IaaS provider and having a partner that offers all the multi-cloud connectivity options required remains key to executing a successful multi-cloud strategy.
Whatever the motivational reasons, multi-cloud strategies allow companies to take advantage of the core values of cloud migration: the flexibility to scale, the ability to quickly capitalise on evolving digital innovation and to save infrastructure costs.
Learn more about Cloud Connect, our multi-cloud connectivity service here.