Cloud Services / Contributed

Reasons to Opt for a Multicloud Strategy

24 Aug 2021 7:00am, by

Pavan Belagatti
Pavan is a pioneer in the field of growth hacking in India, a DevOps influencer and a Google-certified digital marketer. He has written over 100 articles on DevOps. He usually writes about DevOps, marketing and growth hacking. He is a guest contributor to some of the top websites around the world.

With an ever-increasing demand for DevOps and releasing software quickly, the strategies that support this approach are also in high demand. Technologies such as Docker and Kubernetes have revolutionized the way software is built and shipped. Enterprises today have innovative ways to streamline their business and reduce noise and disturbance that affect their growth. Major clouds provide many of the resources and support that any organization needs.

But along with benefits of DevOps comes challenges such as vendor lock-in, rigid systems with no customization and more. To address such scenarios, organizationsare intentionally pursuing a strategy that includes a multicloud approach.

Let’s get to the deeper side of multicloud.

Cloud Evolution

Cloud computing has evolved over time and today organizations have a number of cloud provider options from which to choose.  Let’s see how the cloud grew from on-premises to multicloud, step by step:

  • On-premises: On-premises applications, owned and fully managed by the company.
  • Cloud: Services and products hosted by an external or a third-party vendor.
  • Hybrid-cloud: Mix of public or private clouds along with on-premises applications.
  • Multicloud: Purposely leveraging multiple cloud providers for IT and architectural strategy. Multicloud and hybrid multicloud are often used interchangeably.
  • Hybrid multicloud: The word hybrid used in hybrid multicloud is to signal the continuous association and use of on-premises applications across multiple clouds.

Multicloud makes use of two or more public cloud providers to serve an organization’s IT services, infrastructure and various tasks around computing power resources, virtual data storage, etc. The multicloud strategy provides more flexibility and reduces dependency on one cloud provider.

According to the annual RightScale “State of the Cloud” report, the use of multiple clouds is an emerging pattern among enterprises. It reveals that 92% of the enterprises have implemented a multicloud strategy. It is also among the five biggest cloud-computing trends shared by Forbes.

A Multicloud Strategy

Suppose you are a big organization like Netflix, and all your data is handled by only one cloud vendor like Amazon Web Services. It is like giving all the critical keys to one person. Do you know the dependency and expectations this creates? Huge. What if you carefully select the best of the best services from different cloud providers? It looks like a feasible solution, and this is how a multicloud strategy works.

A multicloud strategy empowers and upgrades a company’s IT systems, performance, cloud deployment, cloud cost optimization and more. The multicloud approach presents a lot of options for the enterprise. For example, some services are more cost-effective from one provider at scale versus those from others. Multicloud avoids vendor lock-in by not depending on only one cloud provider, but by helping companies select the best breed of cloud services from different providers for application workloads. The multicloud pattern provides system redundancy that reduces the hazards of downtimes, if they occur. The multicloud strategy will help companies raise their security bar by selecting the best breed DevSecOps solutions. An organization that implements a multicloud strategy can raise the bar on security, disaster recovery capabilities and increased uptime.

Hybrid Cloud vs. Multicloud

A hybrid cloud approach spreads workloads over the cloud and on-premises, but an multicloud approach includes running the workloads on more than one cloud provider.

Image credits: vmware

It is easy to differentiate the multicloud and hybrid-cloud architecture by considering where the non-cloud resources are residing. Usually, the hybrid clouds use existing on-premises resources such as storage, security, monitoring and database, whereas multiclouds use those residing in the cloud from the same or another provider.

When to Opt for a Multicloud Strategy?

When uptime is critical for your business, and you can’t afford even the most minor downtime, opting for multicloud becomes a must. By sharing data across multiple cloud providers, companies can develop high availability as similar redundant systems become active when one goes down. It also helps to keep the application resilient without altering the quality of service.

One such example is MongoDB Atlas, which has extended to nearly 80 regions, allowing users to select from any of these locations across major cloud providers — AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. Multicloud becomes important when your leadership has a long-term vision and thinks that investing in multicloud today will definitely help reap the benefits tomorrow.

Multicloud becomes a good option when enterprises want to have the flexibility and create a competitive advantage over their competitors, and when the critical business data becomes important because the multicloud approach will have better backup and recovery capabilities. Enterprises like to avoid vendor lock-in and dependency on a single cloud provider, and multicloud becomes a great option here.

Multicloud is one of the crucial things to consider for enterprise cloud DevOps transformation. While some companies might think only one cloud provider is enough, it is always a better option to select a vendor that caters services across all major clouds. Vendor lock-in can be easily avoided by opting for the multicloud strategy.

image courtesy of JFrog.

JFrog, the company best known for its binary repository manager Artifactory recently launched a multicloud DevOps platform to help enterprises choose the best breed of solutions ranging from binary repository, CI/CD, DevSecOps, software distribution and more.

Most of JFrog’s enterprise clients have an apparent strategy when it comes to a single provider: They will not enable themselves to take the risk of hosting the DevOps and IT workloads on only one source.

The concept of multicloud is to provide enhanced capability, freedom, lower IT costs and flexibility to move around and access data. In addition, this helps enterprises take advantage and shift between public cloud providers as per the requirements. Of course, like any other approach, there are some disadvantages to this as well, but the advantages of multicloud easily outweigh the disadvantages for sure.

Before opting for a multicloud approach, getting a solid understanding of the technology stack and what would work best for you, and knowing modern cloud native best practices should be your starting point. While multicloud has become an intentional thing now, it’s much more than hosting in multiple places. When looking at cost, risk and benefit, you should also consider all phases of development and vendors that support your journey.

The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners. TNS owner Insight Partners is an investor in the following companies: Docker, JFrog.

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