Benefits of a multi-cloud strategy
The model of using multiple cloud services for your organisation's data and applications has an impressive list of advantages.
A growing number of organisations are adopting a multi-cloud strategy. More than 85% of enterprise IT organisations will commit to multi-cloud architectures by the end of 2018. Its application might be a tough concept to grasp, but the idea of multi-cloud computing is a simple one. It is the choice of an organisation to distribute its software, applications, assets, and data not on one cloud environment, but rather across several.
On the surface, this idea might appear to go against the grain. For security purposes alone, having all your organisation's data and apps in one place seems to be the best way of protecting your data and assets. Moreover, many cloud providers offer extra benefits and discounts as the number of services you use increases.
The model of using multiple cloud services for your organisation's data and applications, however, has an impressive list of advantages that can provide security, flexibility, cost-effectiveness, performance optimisation, improved reliability, and more to increase your organisation's efficiency and ensure it stays up and running 24/7.
"The adoption of multi-cloud environments is growing as organisations see the value of expanding their cloud platform portfolio as the fastest way to better serve customers, partners, and employees." - Mohamed El Haddouchi, Director of Solutions and Innovation at Infradata
Avoid vendor lock-in
Perhaps the most attractive benefit for some organisations is avoiding vendor lock-in. When IT adopts a multi-cloud strategy it is their own business that has the leverage, rather than any single cloud provider. When it is clear upfront that the workloads may end up transferring between providers, development teams can build apps that work across providers. This approach makes it easier to transfer between cloud service providers when pricing or differing capabilities make a different route more appealing.
Competing in today's digital economy heavily depends on an organisation's ability to run workloads within the most appropriate environments – whether the goal is to take advantage of cost savings or capitalise on performance optimisation opportunities. Every provider has strengths and weaknesses and it is not uncommon to leverage multiple providers to complete one customer transaction. A properly designed and managed multi-cloud architecture gives organisations the freedom to seamlessly shift the transaction as needed.
A multi-cloud strategy can also improve reliability. One of the worst terms to hear when you’re a network or security architect is a single point of failure (SPOF). Some SPOF events occur through machine errors, others can happen through unintentional human error and some as a result of a hack. With multi-cloud, an otherwise passive cloud can seamlessly serve as the failover solution when the primary cloud has issues processing a requested service. Once the primary cloud has recovered operations can automatically revert.
No organisation looks the same today as it did a year ago. That will be reflected in your cloud solution needs. When your organisation grows, you need the cloud to do the same for you. When you no longer need certain elements to be in the cloud, you should be able to scale them down to a local server. Large cloud environments often won't cater to your individual organisational unit needs. By employing more than one cloud-hosting company, particularly a mix of private and public ones, you can match your needs to the solutions that fit best, and alter them as the needs evolve.
Lower risk of DDoS attacks
As cloud deployments have grown, so too has the likelihood of DDoS attacks not just taking a service down temporarily, but ultimately keeping it down. A well designed and managed multi-cloud architecture helps lessen the impact of DDoS attacks by providing a level of resiliency not available with a single provider. If a cloud provider suffers an attack, this strategy lets you instantly shift the load or impacted services to other cloud environments.
Every business has a bottom line, and with the exponential growth in technological solutions, it can be a battle to weigh the benefit versus cost. Clearly moving your systems to the cloud can allow you to reduce CAPEX on your own hardware. However, cloud downtime or inefficiency can cost your company money, time and reputation, any of which can cause major damage to how you do business.
Just like any other service your organisation uses, different cloud providers are good at different things. Finding the right combination of cloud providers to match your business needs and your chequebook can give your organisation an efficiency boost while reducing costs accordingly.
Using a multi-cloud strategy to achieve digital transformation
A growing number of organisations are embracing a multi-cloud strategy as part of their digital transformation. Each benefit associated with a multi-cloud strategy can prove instrumental in establishing or maintaining a competitive advantage in today's digital economy.
Every major cloud platform—including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform—has a range of data-related services in the areas of cloud data warehousing, big data, NoSQL, and real-time streaming, to name a few. Some workloads run better on one cloud platform while other workloads achieve higher performance and lower costs on another platform. By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, organisations are able to choose best-in-class technologies and services from different cloud providers to create the best possible solution.
As more companies position themselves in a multi-cloud world, IT departments in general, and CIOs in particular, need to take on more strategic roles as facilitators between various areas of the organisation. This trend reflects the fact that digital transformation is not a one-time phenomenon, but an ongoing process. Companies that seek to remain ahead of the curve will be in a better position to respond and continually transform themselves in a quickly evolving digital landscape.