Today, “multi-cloud environment” is not a new terminology for enterprises. When an organization takes the initiative to adopt infrastructure and services from different cloud vendors, we say that it is leveraging a multi-cloud environment. There are extremely convincing reasons that multi-cloud is providing huge agility and cost efficiency to enterprises with its flexibility to separate different workloads into different environments depending on their specific requirements.
As companies continue to progressively deploy services from multiple providers, business benefits such as increased agility, improved disaster recovery, faster time to market, cost optimization, improved power to negotiate, lower dependency on a single vendor, and product innovation are expected to increase. However, along with these advantages, the multi-cloud journey does introduce a few natural challenges such as difficulty in managing costs, reduced performance (in some instances), increased security risks, difficulty in controlling operation overheads, and management.
Working with leading enterprise customers and cloud vendors, we have identified key pain points, related best practices, and tools and frameworks that can help enterprises to begin or evaluate their multi-cloud journey.
In a similar tone, Gartner says by 2022, 80% of companies leveraging the cloud, will have a multi-cloud approach. Avoiding a multi-cloud approach makes organizations fully dependent on one cloud service provider (CSP) for all their cloud-related services, and in such instances, there is a possibility that a few of the services may not offer the best value or service to address a specific situation. In most cases, either too much or too little is done to fit into the exact requirements of the user. As an example, if an organization is looking at using Azure Function for all client-facing event handling, and then, aims at taking the event data to a robust analytics platform for finding better insights out of the event logs, Azure might not be the best choice. It would be ideal to drain the data to GCP to get the task completed.
Below are a few key reasons that depict why adoption of multi-cloud architecture is becoming a mandate for progressive organizations:
- Choice of Service: No single cloud vendor provides the best set of services for all of an organization’s needs. However, a multi-cloud environment allows enterprises to choose the best service from multiple vendors for specific requirements. For example, MS Azure might be the ideal choice for fully managed (PaaS) runtimes while GCP or IBM Cloud could be the preferred choice for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) services.
- Reduced Vendor Lock-in: A multi-cloud environment empowers organizations to choose services from multiple vendors which eventually help them not only to distribute workloads across multiple providers but also to reduce vendor-specific dependency. Organizations have the necessary controls if they want to migrate to a different provider—when the quality of services degrades, prices go up, etc.
- Low Latency: Latency plays a crucial role while making a decision involving cloud adoption. Choosing a service and infrastructure near to users can lead to better performance due to minimum server hops. When an organization plans for multi-region deployment of an application to provide a uniform and seamless customer experience, a multi-cloud strategy empowers them to choose the closest services and infra from multiple providers.
- Increased Disaster Recovery: Multi-cloud environments help organizations to better manage their disaster recovery by adding the flexibility to choose redundant servers from different cloud providers. A multi-cloud arrangement allows replicas of applications in two or more clouds. In case of downtime in one cloud, all relevant requests can be redirected to the applications hosted in the other cloud. This arrangement can also be extended to multiple regions to achieve greater resiliency.