Flexibility and features are often make a cio choose a multi-cloud strategy. But what is good and what is bad? Here the experts explain and give some tips too.
The race for market share in the public cloud gives cios several options when considering renting software and infrastructure. Differences in price, business needs and features often force IT leaders to seek more than one cloud provider to meet their needs. This is called multi-cloud or multi-cloud.
What is multi-cloud?
When CIOs talk about a multi-cloud strategy, most people think it’s about using two or more IaaS platforms or infrastructure as a service. This can be, for example, AWS, Google Cloud Platform or Microsoft Azure. Some believe it can be a single IaaS provider but with SaaS tools, leased software, from suppliers. Salesforce, Workday, Service-now are major suppliers.
The analysis company Gartner has a more formal definition of multi-cloud given below.
The intentional use of the same type of cloud services by several public cloud providers. Gartner analyst David Smith.
In this design, a mobile app can dynamically move, via containers or other technology, between AWS or Azure based on established business requirements. These mobile apps are managed and monitored for uptime, reliability and security via a single information panel.
According David Smith Few companies tick all the boxes on Gartner’s multi-cloud card because such prescribed, dynamic scaling is difficult to do.
According to a survey conducted by Gartner in November 2018.
Regardless of how you define multicloud, 52 percent of 1,200 respondents use the public cloud and 81 percent use one or more public cloud provider.
The benefits of multi-cloud
David Smith Says
Strategies with multiple cloud services can be developed in different way. Most cios tend to implement a single public cloud service and then use one or more providers to not be locked into a single platform.
– Nobody wants to be locked in or become paralyzed because they use the cloud, he says.
Flexibility and functionality are the most important reasons for a cio to choose a multi-cloud solution.
cio Dana Deasy stated in February.
The Pentagon has chosen AWS as the sole provider of its public cloud infrastructure, but also uses Office 365 and several public and private clouds for certain specific purposes,
This means that we can take advantage of all the new technology from the various commercial cloud suppliers and create applications that are much more resilient and resilient. she says.
E-commerce company Zulily uses Google’s cloud platform to run analytics and customize offers to its retail customers. But when a consumer makes a purchase, the transaction is completed in AWS. Zulily moved its inventory management and other operations in 2018.
Zulily’s cio Luke Friang says that AWS gives Zulily the ability to “innovate very quickly on the technical side”. This in turn helps them to serve their customers better.
And Novant Health’s cto James Kluttz got tired of handling the growing infrastructure requirements to run its electronic patient records and moved its Epic system to a private cloud managed by Virtustream. In addition, he uses Azure for analytics and AI software, leaving the door open to choose either AWS or Google’s clouds depending on business needs.
– The holy grail is elasticity, but even though we may use AWS today, they can be more economically profitable with Google’s clouds or Azure tomorrow. He adds that it is IT leaders’ duty to avoid locking in and maintain flexibility when choosing clouds.
– Going all-in with a single supplier is short-term … but over time, it will turn out.
Disadvantages of Multicloud
According to Sridhar Vasudevan, a key strategist for Insight Enterprises who advises companies on how to implement cloud software.
Multi-cloud architectures involve a number of trade-offs. Many cios are attracted to the cloud to reduce costs, but it becomes more challenging as they migrate to a multi-cloud environment.
Multicloud also creates more complexity. Container software and orchestration can make it easier to use the services, but their adaptations and data do not always work downstream to the next cloud. It is due to data persistence problems.
In addition, it naturally involves greater risks of passing over several clouds, at least in theory, as it involves more points of contact for security threats.
– A lot of data is exposed when you go from one cloud to several, says Sridhar Vasudevan.
According to Tolga Tarhan, CTO of AWS consulting partner Onica.
One must also not forget the competence problem. Companies that use computer services from AWS, Azure and Google may have difficulty with skills that support security, compliance and regulatory requirements for each platform.
Tolga Tarhan says he has seen companies roll back multi-cloud implementations six months after they were put into production because it has been difficult to keep up with the work.
– The team must create their tools across all platforms and build best practices for backup and security. It can be challenging.
Tips for multi-cloud
Really large-scale deployments of several clouds in companies are rare today, says David Smith. Despite this, many cio’s have come a long way on the multi-cloud journey. For those who have not done, Horticultural Analysts Lydia Leong and Sridhar Vasudevan recommend the following strategy:
- Choose strategic partners. Choose a strategic provider that has wide capacity, but leave the door open to take advantage of more cloud providers. Lydia Leong recommends piloting projects with multiple cloud providers. Then your IT department is challenged to manage multi-cloud environments.
- Educate others on the company. If finance and purchasing organizations believe that cloud services are a commodity of any kind, they can try to pressure the company or IT department to choose the cheapest service. Then the CIO must ensure that the managers there gain an understanding that there is an important value in cloud suppliers’ innovation and differentiation and that it reduces the business value if they are treated as raw materials, Lydia Leong points out.
- Create a cloud policy. Create a policy that specifies which application loads can be placed with the cloud providers, adapted to the application type, application design and the application stack. What features do you need today and in the future? Sridhar Vasudevan believes that this will go a long way to meeting the challenges when new functions are launched in new cloud environments.
- Integrate and iterate. Work with your devops teams so that they develop competence for integration between applications and data sources that are available from different cloud providers, says Lydia Leong.
- Think about locking problems. When it comes to strategic applications, they rarely gain enough to be able to move between clouds to justify the development time and cost required. They can therefore be tied to a single platform, Lydia Leong believes. But if some of your apps need to be able to move, you need to use containers like Docker, Kubernetes Orchestration or Cloud Foundry PaaS.
Multi-cloud can provide some benefits. But then it is important that you as a cio do a cost-benefit analysis and think about the countless compromises. Or you can stick to a strategic partner – at least to begin with.
– My customers are still pondering how to get a single cloud to work, says Sridhan Vasudevan.
And when customers build that cloud, his call is as follows:
– If you really focus on developing the things the company needs in a single cloud – do you create the conditions for multi cloud?