Multi-cloud strategy: Adopting the best on offer to perfectly match your needs

Get freedom from vendor lock-in, perfect solution fitment, cost-benefit and geographical proximity with a thoughtful multi-cloud strategy.

In the last blog post, we talked about the four stages of any enterprise’s cloud adoption journey. We also mentioned that stage 4: the multi-cloud stage is the ideal state for any enterprise. In this blog post, we’ll explore multi-cloud in greater detail.

When we talk to CIOs about moving to the cloud, we hear roughly the same set of questions:

— What if my vendor doesn’t have all the capabilities I need, or I find that they’re not a good fit for me, but I’m now locked in?

— If I don’t own the infrastructure, that gives me no control over security. Can I really be sure that my data is safe?

— How can I save costs? Do I have any negotiating power?

We’re glad you asked! Let’s talk about these.

Multi-cloud strategy gives you the freedom to pick and choose what’s right for you

A well-considered multi-cloud strategy can ensure that you aren’t constrained by vendor lock-in.

Each vendor wants to be your one-stop cloud provider, and as such, they’re always jostling to provide innovative new solutions to different problems. A multi-cloud strategy lets you match vendors that excel in different areas to your different platforms and their needs. A department or branch that needs a large number of Windows licenses may find that they save costs on Azure, compared to AWS or GCP.

Netflix, famously an AWS loyalist, has utilised GCP for disaster recovery and AI, among other things. Netflix also worked with Google on its custom tool chain, Spinnaker, a deployment orchestration engine allowing developers to deploy code on multiple clouds with cloud specific configurations — preparing for the future.

Not owning your infra not owning your data

Cloud providers understand that security is one of the main reasons enterprises abstain from moving to the cloud. And they work their backsides off for security solutions. Each cloud provider offers robust policies, technologies, and controls to ensure cloud security. More importantly, since their business depends on it, cloud providers also keep their protections consistently updated — something even the largest of enterprise customers can’t replicate for their on-premise systems.

In fact, cloud providers have a shared responsibility model where IT security tasks are divided between them and the customer, letting businesses retain direct control over security. This includes customizing the security controls based on the customer’s information security policy.

Multi-cloud strategy gives you better negotiating power

A multi-cloud strategy means that you do what’s right for your business, and this includes cost-effectiveness. Some enterprises may feel hesitant to let cloud providers know that they are leveraging other services as well. Don’t! Using multiple services gives you more negotiating power, and you are likely to be offered better terms. This apart from the benefits of choosing different cloud platforms for the areas they excel. Case in point – Netflix using Google for AI while using AWS for content storage.

Multi-cloud minimises latency/outage

Outages are not a 100% avoidable. Sometimes, it happens. But a multi-cloud strategy can protect you from exactly this. A disaster recovery site on a vendor other than your primary cloud vendor ensures that when there’s an outage, your business can still function.

A multi-cloud infrastructure lessens latency for end-users, as the data is spread out around the globe and travels from the server nearest to the end-user. This is a great way to maintain a unified end-user experience for global.

Multi-cloud ensures global availability of services

A multi-cloud strategy also lets global companies avoid the pitfalls of geographical restrictions. If one vendor does not provide services to a particular country, the organisation can enlist a different vendor that does. For example, at the time of writing this blog, GCP is not yet available in Africa — a company looking to expand there may choose Azure for their operations in that region, while keeping their GCP operations intact so they don’t have to deal with migrating data across geos — which can come with many potential complications, such as complying with data residency laws.

451 Research made an interesting find in their Cloud Transformation Vendor Window study in 2018. 48% of AWS users use Azure, while 51% of Azure users are using AWS. This overlap is almost entirely to host and support operations in different regions (AWS for North America and Azure for Europe, for example). As Microsoft’s introduction in their (exhaustive) comparison guide of Azure and AWS states,

“As the leading public cloud platforms, Azure and AWS each offer businesses a broad and deep set of capabilities with global coverage. Yet many organisations choose to use both platforms together for greater choice and flexibility, as well as to spread their risk and dependencies with a multi-cloud approach.”

A thoughtful and strategic multi-cloud strategy is the most flexible, adaptable and cost-effective way to go. If you have a question we haven’t already answered, write to us! We love a good challenge.

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