Using a multi-cloud storage strategy can be a great way to reduce costs, ensure reliability and improve cloud performance. Like any complex solution, using multiple clouds for storage can cause long-term problems if not designed and implemented correctly. What is multi-cloud and how does an enterprise decide if a multi-cloud strategy is right for them?
What is Multi-cloud? The Evolution of Cloud Computing
If you are an IT professional or cloud computing decision-maker for your business, chances are you’ve heard of public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and perhaps multi-cloud strategy. What is multi-cloud? Multi-cloud is a more recent strategy that uses more than one public cloud service like AWS, Azure and GCP with the capability to simultaneously integrate with on-premises resources.
As an enterprise invests in cloud infrastructure, adopting one cloud service provider (CSP) and perhaps an evolved hybrid environment with public and private cloud infrastructure, the natural progression is to mix these strategies together. Why all the complexity? As business units grow, customers demand SaaS applications, ERP, Salesforce, Office 365, Dropbox and other platforms/applications that run on the cloud. Over time, these services become integrated without formal architecture. This process is known as “shadow IT.” As these systems become integrated, IT organizations attempt to manage the offerings on an enterprise level with multiple cloud environments. Combining and managing these SaaS applications with the existing cloud solution, whether it’s a public or hybrid cloud approach, creates a multicloud environment.
What’s the Difference between Multi-cloud and Hybrid Cloud?
Though often used interchangeably, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructures have very significant differences and are utilized differently. Hybrid cloud integrates a private on-premises environment and a public cloud environment to operate as a single unit, with custom scaling (or Azure Autoscaling). Multi-cloud uses multiple vendors whereby different applications or business outcomes are derived from whichever vendor provides the optimal solution at that point in time. In a multi-cloud strategy, IT professionals can utilize hybrid cloud and other cloud solutions simultaneously.
Multi-cloud Strategy Benefits
In addition to accommodating more apps and platforms brought on board via shadow IT, utilizing a multi-cloud strategy can cut costs, ensure reliability and improve performance. Mixing and matching among CSP’s offerings enables IT to provide more specific (cost-effective) solutions to the needs of various business units. A multi-cloud strategy also helps organizations avoid vendor lock-in, making IT more responsive to new capabilities or service needs.
Multi-cloud strategies are not for everyone though. Many IT organizations are not equipped to deal with the added complexities and make mistakes while implementing and managing a multi-cloud environment. Many pitfalls can be related to inadequate security, miscalculated storage requirements, incorrect contracts and overspending. Tools such as cloud management platforms (CMPs) and cloud service brokers (CSBs), do exist to help enterprises manage multiple clouds but the drawback is that these services limit features and customization in exchange for simplicity.
When to Use a Multi-cloud Management Strategy
Is your enterprise ready for a multi-cloud strategy? It is if any of the following scenarios describe your IT business unit:
- There are operational advantages due to a wider choice of services.
- Unscheduled downtime would severely disrupt your business.
- You have the right people in place to take advantage of the opportunities.
- You have a solution in place to help manage costs, performance and security.
- You have a global group of developers and you want to push resource efficiencies to them.
The Azure Cloud Experts can help you find a cloud strategy that will exceed your business needs. If you need assistance with an existing cloud strategy or are looking to get started, contact us today. Looking for a cloud service provider in San Diego? We assist with more than just the cloud!