As Gartner’s Milind Govekar recently said, “There is no business strategy without a cloud strategy.” But in 2021, some of the world’s biggest brands suffered disruptions in their services due to outages from their cloud service providers, including Google, Slack, Venmo, Disney+, Facebook/Meta, Tinder, iRobot, The Washington Post and Sony.
While the outages do not negate the overall benefits of moving to the cloud in the first place, they do make IT leaders think twice about putting all their eggs in one cloud provider’s basket. In this article, we will be exploring the multi-cloud strategy, its advantages and how to prepare for your multi-cloud future.
Let’s Be Clear About Cloud
The adoption of a cloud strategy was evidenced in a 2021 O’Reilly survey in which 48% of participants reported a plan to migrate more than half their applications to the cloud while 20% planned to migrate all their applications to the cloud.
Cloud migration is a multi-factored decision made by business leaders to migrate electronic assets from local servers to the cloud. Cloud storage is rapidly overrunning on-premises data warehouses because of its many positive business impacts including scalability, speed, collaboration, continuity, security and rapid ROI. Although it is simple to select one provider, we’re seeing more and more organizations opt for multiple providers to avoid the negative impacts of outages.
Multi-Cloud Strategy: The Dominant Choice
Cloud revenue continues to reach new heights. Gartner predicted cloud revenues globally will reach $474 billion in 2022. That number represents a significant increase from $313 billion in 2020.
The challenge among many IT leaders is continually mapping the use of the cloud in relation to their business goals. This alignment is critical to the success of overall objectives as cloud solutions need to match business requirements, whether related to security, compliance or other issues.
Cloud-based solutions are highly sought after by businesses and IT leaders. In the quest for the “perfect” solution, multi-cloud options are highly appealing. Benefits of a muti-cloud system include:
- Avoiding vendor/provider lock-in
- Allowing for scaling as business grows
- Increasing security to thwart attacks
- Harnessing unique capabilities of different providers
Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to slightly different approaches.
Hybrid, strictly speaking, is the use of cloud infrastructure in conjunction with bare metal (aka traditional) data centers. As such, it has been an approach favored by enterprises migrating to the cloud in phases.
Multi-cloud, as the name suggests, involves the use of more than one cloud provider to provision IT. Many would argue it’s also the future of operating as a cloud-first entity.
Fast-Tracking Digital Transformation
Digital transformation can be a long haul, however, businesses adopting multi-cloud solutions are navigating the digital services path more quickly.
Why does the cloud present itself as the best solution for businesses?
- Rapid advancement of cloud solutions
- Apps are becoming more readily suited for development and deployment
- Skepticism toward the cloud is now waning; businesses are porting databases and mission-critical apps to the cloud
- Cloud is key to delivering AI services, an area of increased growth
Flexibility meets Functionality
Flexibility is undoubtedly a major attraction in relation to cloud choices. However, making the correct decisions is imperative to meeting strategic business objectives. The cloud proves beneficial to leaders as, in combination with data engineering, they can procure a comprehensive view of relevant data.
The first critical component to selecting the correct cloud solution is market research. The necessity of this step is two-fold. Yes, it takes time to conduct research, but in the end, diligence can end up saving both time and money.
Of course, businesses and providers want their relationships to be symbiotic. App migration may go well and all proper dynamics function at the onset, but what happens when a switch needs to be made? It can prove to be both burdensome and costly. With this reason in mind, it’s important to continually weigh both short-term advantages and longer-term flexibility.
Another essential component when assessing options is ensuring seamless interoperability between systems. Simply defined, interoperability is the ability of computerized systems to connect and communicate with one another without regard to their manufacturer or industry.
In a modern economy, IT leaders are called on to be increasingly conscientious about cloud services to alleviate any issues with future data portability.
Edge Computing on the Rise
Edge computing is a subset of a distributed computing topology in which information processing is located close to or at the location where that information is produced or consumed.
With the trend of edge computing on the rise, the lines between edge and cloud computing continue to become more obscure. Cloud vendors need to use an edge strategy, and some already employ their own specific suite of services aimed at making data processing seamless.
Data processing and transition should not be an arduous task. This factor alone influences leaders when making decisions on their cloud journey. Digital maturity is a competitive advantage for which all businesses should strive.
Adapting to Multi-Cloud
A more complex cloud environment can be challenging, but the task is manageable. By dedicating the time and resources necessary, businesses can adapt to muti-cloud or hybrid systems with considerable ease.
Whether through necessity or design, a multi-cloud or hybrid system has numerous benefits in relation to compliance, security, efficiency, scale, and performance. The multi-cloud strategy is here to stay.