Towards a Multi-Cloud Future
Towards A Multi-cloud Future

Cloud computing has seen a wide adoption rate as it enters its second decade, while the major objections of moving to the cloud are gradually reducing over time. It is now been seen as a necessary driving force in digital transformation.

In the early days of cloud computing, enterprises started by building their own private cloud then in order to cut down on their capital expenditure, they moved some of their workloads to the public cloud.

Over time, businesses have come to realize that the right cloud service is neither private nor public cloud but a mixture of both. This has led enterprises to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, which is a combination of the best of the private and public cloud. It delivers the highly secure capabilities of the private cloud and the numerous features that are being offered by the public cloud. Recently, a new cloud deployment model has emerged which is referred to as ‘Multicloud’.

A multi-cloud architecture involves the use of two or more public clouds. The term multi-cloud was borne from the fact that most enterprises now utilize multiple public clouds, with each cloud having its own unique use case. This is because no one provider has the right solution for all of a customer’s needs. Some of the common drivers for multi-cloud include:

  1. Vendor Capabilities And Independence: Ability to switch between vendors, thereby avoiding vendor lock-in. In addition, a specific service from a particular provider might be needed.
  2. Cost and Utilization: some services might be cheaper at a certain cloud provider when compared to another provider.
  3. Resilience and Disaster Recovery: a multi-cloud disaster recovery strategy will make assets more accessible and better protected in the event of a disaster. In addition, data is better protected from accidental deletions when stored in multiple clouds.
  4. Compliance and Security: Due to data sovereignty reasons, It might be required that data should be domiciled in a particular location. However, only one cloud provider has a data center in that region. Hence the use of multiple cloud providers

While the multi cloud’s benefits are attractive, it does possess some challenges too.

One of the major challenges with incorporating a multi-cloud strategy is the potential for a difficult integration across the various cloud providers. IaaS seems to provide the highest level of portability but it becomes more complex to move workloads between clouds when one moves higher up the stack e.g. from IaaS to PaaS.

Another major challenge is cost management. Due to the peculiarities of the various cloud providers, managing cost is a major issue as each provider’s financial model varies.

Recommendations

Create an abstraction layer where multiple clouds can be managed from a single pane of glass to enable users also create a platform where customers can manage the costs of multiple clouds. This issue has already been addressed by some solutions. E.g. Cloud Health which was recently acquired by VMware, provides a crucial multi-cloud management platform that works across AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, giving customers a way to manage cloud cost, usage, security and performance from a single interface.

In conclusion, going by the recent trends, it is safe to say that the future is ‘multicloud’. However, enterprises need to develop a proper multi-cloud strategy in order to mitigate the risks involved in a multi-cloud deployment model.

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