When you make the leap to cloud computing, you’ll likely find yourself learning new lingo when choosing the right solution. Containers. Permissions. Deployment. And maybe even the term, “multi-cloud strategy.” What exactly does that mean?
Do you even need a multi-cloud strategy in your cloud digital transformation? It depends.
Are you interested in working with only one cloud provider, or do you want the power of different providers backing your cloud infrastructure, data and collaborative apps?
There’s no right or wrong answer, only the one that’s right for you. That's one of the basic tenets of cloud adoption 101
What Is a Multi-Cloud Strategy?
Before we dive into the reasons why a multi-cloud strategy might be right for you, let’s examine exactly what it is.
When you are migrating to the cloud, you have a choice of leading cloud service solutions. For example, you could migrate to Google Cloud Platform or another provider. These services allow organizations to run all computing applications in the cloud rather than using on-premise servers. This provides the cloud infrastructure services, security, backup, disaster recovery and support needed to keep operations working seamlessly and reliably.
Many organizations follow a cloud strategy using a single provider. For example, this means that they build their apps and infrastructure completely one one cloud services provider’s solutions. All data is hosted and secured by this service provider.
It’s a great way to take your computing environment to the next level in the cloud. It’s also a good option for smaller companies or those that aren’t as nimble with IT.
A multi-cloud strategy is exactly what the name suggests. You use solutions from multiple cloud services providers to get the best results from your network architecture by capitalizing on provider strengths. You can do this completely in the public cloud or in a combination of public and private cloud solutions. The latter is known as a hybrid cloud solution, a topic we will address in a future blog. (Stay tuned!)
Perhaps you have a multi-cloud environment that features storage and computing solutions from two top providers. Some of your applications would leverage resources in one platform, while others would operate through the other. The same could be the case for compute and networking activities.
There’s also some back-and-forth sharing. For example, if you know you'll be transferring workloads between providers upfront, depending on need, your development team can create apps that work across those providers in your multi-cloud environment.
So what’s the benefit? There are many reasons why a multi-cloud environment can be a great option for your cloud architecture. Here are three why you should investigate if a multi-cloud strategy could be right for you...
1. Avoiding Vendor Lock-In
If your applications are designed for only one platform, you are tied to that solution, making your organization pretty dependent on that provider. If you decide to move to a new platform, it could be difficult and costly to make the switch, depending on your needs and current architecture requirements.
In a multi-cloud environment, you maintain more control over your cloud computing operations. You have the leverage to seamlessly shift your workloads as needed, provided you’re managing your multi-cloud architecture properly. Your cloud computing environment is entirely unique to your organization. You determine what roles your cloud service providers play within your organization's unique architecture.
Different departments within your organization likely have varied cloud computing needs. Your app dev team and IT admins won’t use the same apps as those in the sales office. Multiple clouds can address the fact that some necessary applications can run better on one platform than another.
A multi-cloud approach also provides the added flexibility to transfer to a new provider when pricing structures or capabilities are more appealing than those offered by your current cloud provider. It also allows you to optimize cloud-usage costs across providers.
2. Optimizing Performance
The ability to pick and choose which services run on a particular platform in a multi-cloud environment helps you create a level of performance that’s specific to your organization’s needs. In a single-cloud environment, you might not get optimal performance from every application.
A multi-cloud strategy borrows from each incorporated platform’s strengths, allowing your IT team to run workloads in the most appropriate environment and seamlessly shift to another one if needed.
3. Improving Reliability
This ability to shift between platforms also comes into play from a security angle. Let’s use a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) as an example. If your cloud provider is hit with a DDoS attack in a single-cloud model, there’s always a chance you could face some costly downtime for at least some, if not all, applications.
Larger organizations with massive traffic often use backup clouds and maintain targeted load-balancing across these clouds. They can split traffic to optimize performance and mitigate widespread outages across their network. Should one provider have an outage, these customers are able to redirect traffic to another provider’s cloud infrastructure.
If you have a multi-cloud strategy in place, added resiliency and a failover solution are built into your architecture. If one cloud is affected by the attack, you can instantly shift its load or the affected services to another cloud environment. You can even have the load or services set to revert back to the normal distribution when the crisis ends.
This sort of resilience isn’t as available with a single-provider. You gain more flexibility and peace of mind using two or more providers for your cloud architecture.
Gaining a Competitive Advantage
A smart cloud computing solution, whether you land in a single cloud or spread services across multiple ones, can give your organization that proverbial leg up over the competition.
To ensure that you deploy the best solution, be sure to take these considerations into account as you plan your next steps:
- Budget forecasting and planning
- Seamless cloud migration services
- Change management and cloud transformation services
- Cloud managed services to help you make the most of your solution.
Exploring these important considerations will guide your cloud journey and help you determine whether a single or a multi-cloud strategy is the best choice for your organization. You want a solution that’s cost-effective, easy to deploy and simple for your workforce to embrace and learn how to use on a daily basis.
When you choose to deploy a multi-cloud strategy, you can be secure in the knowledge that you have the power of multiple clouds backing up your applications and data. And you’ll have the ability to securely and cost-effectively leverage that power in a way that works best for your organization.