Today, cloud adoption has become mainstream. As organisations continue to digitise and optimise different parts of their business, they are moving all types of workloads to the cloud.
In fact, as the pace of innovation in the cloud and the availability of new tools and services continues to explode, Gartner® forecasts worldwide public cloud end-user spending will reach nearly $600 billion in 2023.
Why multi-cloud environments may offer more benefits
However, what we are also seeing is a move away from a single cloud to organisations splitting an application, or company’s tech stack, across more than one cloud environment. There are clearly benefits of a multi-cloud strategy and these include: flexible distribution of workloads, increased security and reliability, avoidance of vendor lock-in, the opportunity to go with best-of-breed options, versatile DevOps environments, and reduced costs.
There are technologies that will be superior to others, and for an organisation’s specific business requirements having the right cloud infrastructure matters. This is where a multi-cloud environment might be better for different use cases. Additionally, for any enterprise using cloud services across multiple geographies, finding one public cloud infrastructure provider to meet all its diverse needs might be a struggle.
Your cloud strategy must mirror your business drivers
That said, senior IT leaders must start by understanding the main business driver for moving their organisation to the cloud, and those drivers need to be reconciled with business application requirements. Some applications are CPU-intensive, others are memory-intensive, and others are cost-sensitive.
Of course, like any technology, there are hurdles associated with being multi-cloud. There could be multiple languages to contend with from one service to another, and there can be an over-reliance on security tools. Trying to backup or restore management across multiple environments can also be challenging, as well as both choosing the right operating system and understanding the management costs and resources associated with differences in hardware.
It is therefore important to consider multi-cloud for specific application needs. Examples include public clouds for cost-sensitive apps and private clouds when performance is critical. A multi-vendor approach can also help reduce the risk associated with compromising performance and cost within a single portfolio.
There are many advantages to a multi-cloud strategy
In the current economic environment, cost is obviously a key consideration, but there are other advantages of a multi-cloud strategy; the desire to increase agility and avoid or minimise vendor lock-in is one of these. This decision may be driven by a variety of factors, including availability, performance, data sovereignty, regulatory requirements, and labour costs.
Modern applications are, by design, created in a more modular style. This means they can span multiple cloud providers or consume services from multiple clouds. The ability to implement strong governance is another advantage. To ensure operational control, enterprises want to unify the administration and monitoring of their IT environment. They want to standardise policies, procedures, and processes and share some tools, especially those that enable cost governance and optimisation across multiple cloud providers. Advantages also include better disaster recovery and easier migration for some data and applications.
Are cloud providers ‘stickier’ than we think?
That said, is it really practical to port applications over to another cloud providers, or are cloud hosts “stickier” than most companies realise?
With any migration between environments, the complexity and time taken to successfully complete the process will depend on the level of integration the organisation’s applications have with platform level services and APIs, along with the level of management access to the platform itself. However, more so now than ever before, it is definitely practical to port applications between environments, clouds, and other services.
However, with all projects, the right due diligence, planning, and design can streamline and ensure success for organisations looking to move workloads to a different environment. Alongside this, technology advancements have made this process more effective and less time-consuming, with a wide variety of choices for organisations to consider to achieve their migration strategy.
Technology alone is not enough. It’s about combining technology, expertise, and the right process to ensure success and to get to the right business outcome. Organisations should look to companies that have in-depth migration expertise to guide them through. With any successful migration, it’s about a considered design, a comprehensive plan, thorough testing, and validation.
Why it is important to become cloud smart
Today most modern enterprises will have at least two or three different cloud providers, and the trend is moving towards getting cloud smart and choosing the right provider for the organisation’s needs. Finding the right place to house applications and data, based on their individual requirements and objectives, will ensure the best possible customer experience for each.
Different cloud environments have a variety of core attributes, and benefits, meaning spending more time in the planning and design phases can ensure greater success in the longer term. The good news is that there are a variety of tools available for customers to cover a wide spectrum of multi-cloud requirements including streamlined management, cost control, data protection, security, connectivity, and migration. The flexibility and benefits of these tools continue to evolve and improve year on year.
The power of hybrid agility
Organisations should embrace diversity in the cloud landscape and discover the power of alternative cloud solutions. The best solution will be defined based on the organisation’s business objectives, and a thorough evaluation process to ensure these objectives are met. Open source or agnostic technologies are important considerations for organisations as they offer flexibility and high levels of compatibility when it comes to approaching core elements of multi-cloud.
Ultimately, those organisations that tap into customised solutions that align with their unique needs will embrace the power of hybrid agility and multi-cloud approaches that lead to optimised costs, enhanced security, and enable seamless scalability. Those that embrace the diversity of the cloud ecosystem will fuel creativity, drive technological advancement, and uncover new possibilities for growth.