IDC predicted that over 85% of business IT will consist of multi-cloud architectures by the end of 2018. As industry insiders, we’re pretty sure that will turn out to be true. But what does it mean to the average business owner? What does “multi-cloud architecture” really mean?
Cloud technology, albeit powerful and flexible, does come with limitations, so to expect a single cloud model to address all your IT challenges is simply unrealistic. This is where a multi-cloud approach comes in.
What is it?
A multi-cloud model is the implementation of multiple cloud services from different providers. This strategy frees you from vendor lockdown and allows you to combine cloud services to better support your various storage, computing, and networking requirements.
For instance, finding a cloud provider who offers services from Amazon Web Services, Google, and IBM is no easy task. However, a multi-cloud approach means you can partner with multiple vendors to piece together an ideal solution.
How is it different from hybrid cloud?
While multi and hybrid clouds are sometimes used interchangeably, there are real differences between the two.
A hybrid cloud is a mixture of an on-premises private cloud (e.g., the server sits in your office) and a public cloud infrastructure that communicate, integrate, and work with each other to complete a specific task. For example, applications deployed in this cloud model could use web services from a public cloud while storing sensitive documents in a private cloud. This strategy is designed so data can be easily moved between the two systems for on-demand security and privacy.
Multi-cloud, however, lets you mix and match public cloud services from different providers. Each cloud service performs its own function and isn’t necessarily connected to your other cloud systems.
All this is to clarify that a multi-cloud should be viewed as more of a cloud management strategy and hybrid cloud as the underlying technology.
When is multi-cloud the best option?
Initially, the multi-cloud approach gained popularity because it was safer than public cloud for storing data. Today, it's useful because many industry regulations require that you store data in multiple geographic locations. Multi-cloud makes it easier to pick and choose providers that, although separate from each other, meet the geographic and security requirements specific to your needs.
But there’s a lot more to multi-cloud than simplified compliance and security.
Possibly the most obvious benefit to a multi-cloud strategy is the flexibility that comes with it. You get the best of every cloud platform, thereby optimizing the performance of your technology infrastructure while ensuring the dynamic support for all your applications and workloads.
For example, you could use a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering to develop, run and manage applications, without having to build and maintain the underlying development platform.
Another option is Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which can support and govern core infrastructure components such as servers, storage and networking hardware that need to run even if local power is lost.
Finally, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) can be used to deliver everything from analytics to data modeling, and specialized functions to users anywhere in the world -- all while keeping you compliant with data regulations.
Resources for growth
With the freedom to utilize multiple cloud structures and providers, you’ll be able to gain access to as many resources as you need to grow and innovate. Your sales team can use cloud services from one provider while your HR team uses another.
What’s more, you’ll also be able to choose computing resources closest to your location, which leads to quicker load times and faster customer service.
The only downside to a multi-cloud approach is the fact that it requires the help of technicians who are certified to handle several different systems. You lose all the efficiencies that this strategy provides if you have one technician for Microsoft Azure and another for Amazon Web Services. There aren't many companies that can offer multiple-system service, but SimplyClouds can help.
When should you adopt a multi-cloud model?
This of course, will vary from business to business, but some tell-tale signs include:
Your current cloud infrastructure is causing more problems than it’s solving
Your current cloud provider doesn’t support the services you need or want
You have widely distributed servers and rely on multiple data centers
The total cost of ownership for your cloud solutions is higher than you anticipated
If you have any questions regarding cloud technology, just give us a call. At SimplyClouds, we take the time to talk to our clients so they can make the most informed decision about their business IT. No strings attached, just down-to-earth insights from our cloud experts.