Cloud computing is booming globally despite known cloud security and privacy issues. The cloud computing market is overwhelmingly dominated by big tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Google. However, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses which makes it difficult to have one cloud solution that fits all needs. Here is where having a right multi-cloud strategy can help businesses to manage their changing requirements at a lower cost.
Some Interesting Multi-cloud Adoption Trends & Statistics:
- The trend of adopting a multi-cloud strategy will continue till 2024 with 64% of organisations deploying various cloud models over the next three years, according to Nutanix’s latest survey
- A hybrid multi-cloud strategy is appropriate for addressing significant problems such as interoperability, security, cost, and data integration, according to 83%
- Large enterprises were the most likely to use multi-cloud, while only 60% of small businesses and 76% of mid-sized organisations had multi-cloud infrastructure.
- 81% of all companies have a multi-cloud strategy already implemented or in the works.
- According to 74% of enterprises, they are getting the best of both worlds and thus define their strategy as a hybrid or multi-cloud.
What is a Multi Cloud Strategy
Multi-cloud strategy is a cloud approach wherein an organisation makes use of more than one cloud services from two or more public cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure etc.
In simple words, businesses make use of multiple vendors for cloud hosting, storage and full application stack instead of sticking to one vendor.
Advantages of a Multi-cloud Strategy
Adopting a multi-cloud strategy helps businesses to lower operating costs, reduce dependence on a single vendor (no vendor lock in), increase flexibility, tighter security, lesser overall downtime, better service reach and improve overall performance.
Disadvantages of a Multi Cloud Strategy
Of course, there are few downsides of adopting a multi-cloud strategy such as different and varying price structures, IT infrastructure complexity, need to hire cross-platform specialists to manage / control multi-cloud systems and open to more security risks, unless it is managed effectively.
When to use Multi-Cloud Strategy
A multi-cloud strategy works best only when it is used and managed in the right way. Businesses should consider a multi-cloud strategy
- If downtime is a mission critical for them and can severely disrupt their business
- If they have a right team with required skill sets to take maximum advantage of multi-cloud approach
- If they wish to achieve operational excellence and deliver value to their customers
- If they know exactly how to manage costs, performance and security aspects
Multi Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud
Multi cloud and hybrid cloud are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same. Both are cloud deployment models that integrate more than one cloud, however there is a key difference between the two.
In order to understand how hybrid cloud is different from multi-cloud, it’s important to learn about public cloud and private cloud services.
In a public cloud, businesses make use of shared cloud infrastructure offered by third party / public cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform etc. It’s the cheapest cloud environment among all and easy to scale on-demand.
Whereas in the case of private cloud, businesses have their own cloud infrastructure that’s exclusive to them – which is usually on-premise. However there are many companies such as Microsoft, HP, IBM, Google, Amazon etc that offer private cloud services. It’s an expensive cloud environment that is difficult to scale, but offers greater control and security.
Let’s come back to multi-cloud vs hybrid cloud infrastructure
In simple words, a multi-cloud system means that a business uses a combination of two or more public cloud services (services like IaaS, PaaS or SaaS) from different public cloud providers. This allows businesses to select the providers that best fits their needs in terms of choice, price and flexibility.
Whereas a hybrid cloud system means that a business uses a combination of two or more cloud deployment models – that combines at least one public cloud and one private cloud. This allows businesses to choose and manage their workloads in either private or public clouds as required. However, this system is even more difficult to configure, deploy and manage as compared to multi-cloud.
Key Challenges for a Multi-cloud Strategy
Below are the most common challenges that every business faces with multi-cloud strategy that you should be aware of
- Identifying, selecting and deploying the right cloud service from the wide range of services offered by public cloud providers and finally integrating them all.
- Keeping costs under control can be challenging in the multi-cloud approach unless it is managed effectively and keeping the architecture simple.
- Adapting to security controls for each cloud in a different way.
- Keeping up-to-date with cloud providers’ new service launches and upgrades and making adjustments from time to time.
- Shortage of talent to help manage a multi-cloud environment.
How to Create a Multi Cloud Strategy
Here is a list of steps that you can follow to create a robust multi-cloud strategy for your business.
- Know your multi-cloud requirements and define your goals. You should be clear on why and what you want to deploy to multiple clouds. Will it be cloud agnostic etc. etc.
- Research and choose the right providers depending upon your workload and business needs. Conduct a SWOT analysis for the selected providers that you are considering.
- Think about cybersecurity at the start. Know about the security controls, tools along with best practices to be followed for each cloud environment to make a safe multi-cloud system.
- Build your strategy on how to tackle governance issues and excessive cost that arises due to scale.
- Create a dedicated team with the right skill and experience to manage your multi-cloud environment. Define roles and responsibilities for each team member to boost efficiency and accountability.
- Review and refine your strategy at regular intervals in order to adapt to changes in cloud services, new features rollout, upgrades etc.