Multi-cloud: What and why?

Paul Godfrey, IT Support Specialist 24 October 2019
The concept of cloud IT evolved to hybrid cloud and now is moving towards multi-cloud. Multi-cloud simply means an approach to use two or more cloud providing services in an organisation. Multi-cloud as the name suggests, involves getting your data on multiple services be it private or public cloud, based on the business requirements. So why would you need multi-cloud? Well as we all know, multi-cloud is the future of IT, and any growing organisation should be planning on migrating their existing infrastructure to the cloud if they have not done so already. Having a physical server, storage or a backup in your infrastructure soon starts to sound outdated when everyone else has already got their business running in the cloud. With the growing cost of setting up a data centre, and keeping it running, any business should be desperate to save on the physical space and associated costs. These issues led businesses to initially consider utilising the cloud and now with the increased advantages, multi-cloud is in high demand. If you would like more information on the key benefits to be considered for multi-cloud adoption take a look at these blogs and guide from SADA Systems.


Multi-Cloud Project Plan


Convincing businesses to migrate to the cloud can be a challenge and proving it’s cost-effective can be tedious. However, by explaining that implementing the right multi-cloud strategy will bring great benefits to the organisation, then any concerns around cloud migration are negated and it becomes an easy win. A great cloud proposal should provide the business with undeniable facts and figures such as those in this survey by RightScale on understanding why multi-cloud is preferred over single cloud. This survey shows the adoption rates of the multi-cloud technology in comparison with the single private and public cloud and will surely intrigue the business and make them pay serious attention to your multi-cloud project plan. Be sure to read this great article “How to improve your multi-cloud strategy: Expert advice.” for more elements to consider in planning for multi-cloud.


Potential benefits to business


Below are the few of the key advantages to be considered while planning to move to multi-cloud.


Redundancy


The first and the foremost benefit that a multi-cloud could offer would be redundancy. This feature will intrigue the business organisations who operate mission-critical applications which demands less or no downtime as the option to span those applications or servers across multiple cloud platforms is often a key factor for business continuity. Take a look at this article by Privo, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) partner, listing 3 redundancy benefits that cloud-based applications offer.


Saving Infrastructure Cost


For any organisation, the prospect of making savings on IT infrastructure costs is highly enticing. Although it can be difficult to prove in your initial projection that multi-cloud is cost-effective, the truth is that in the long run multi-cloud will save your business money. It is important to highlight the key point that multi-cloud could not only help you get rid of the physical server maintenance cost, but also on the costs involved in refreshing end of life equipment. With multi-cloud you only pay for what you use, so in other words it’s pay-as-you-go.


Geographical Flexibility


Nowadays the leading cloud providers have spanned their Data Centres across multiple locations all over the world. If a business is specifically interesting in running their workloads over different geographical boundaries, then multi-cloud would be their best bet. Actifio, an upcoming cloud provider, has provided some insights on the additional benefits on choosing multi-cloud over a single cloud platform.


Multi-Cloud Concerns


While considering the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy, it is also essential to address the concerns which could put your business transition to multi-cloud at stake. With cautious planning and scaling, an organisation can overcome the risks of multi-cloud and turn them into your favour.


Management Complexity


Although multi-cloud is redundant, secure and scalable, it definitely needs expertise in multiple cloud technologies. If an organisation is already struggling with the lack of expertise or process in a single cloud platform, then considering multi-cloud should be put on hold until further preparations are in place. Complexity in terms of management of the cloud infrastructure should not be taken lightly when thinking about moving from the single cloud provider to Multiple. Although this concern has become less of an issue with the increasing number of multi-cloud management technologies available in the market. Take a look at this useful cloud management tools comparison guide from TechTarget, to find out more about the options available to you.


Security Grey area


All cloud providers will claim that they have implemented all possible means to protect data but as we all know, any off-site data is prone to security risks. The same applies to the multi-cloud wherein the risk of security is just propagated. Although a certain level of security is the responsibility of the cloud providers, there are a few layers which will remain as the responsibility of the company. In general, security benefits should not be overestimated on any cloud platform and the same is applicable for multi-cloud. Here are some ways to mitigate the multi-cloud security threat.


Compliance


Be it a bank, an insurance company or any other business needing to prove compliance with regulatory bodies, running services on multi-cloud bring up new concerns. When business data is running on multi-cloud it becomes far more difficult during auditing to prove that the business is compliant with standards. This insightful article by Security Intelligence gives you some top tips on addressing any compliance requirements in multi-cloud environment.


Underestimating Cost


Even though multi-cloud is cost-effective in the long term, you might need to consider the migration cost. If there is a lack of proper plan and technical competency, migration costs can go up considerably. Your plan should never miss the comparison of different cloud providers against the services that you need. Also when implementing a multi-cloud strategy, the business should also focus on the pricing discounts that each cloud provider would offer against the other. Most companies would miss this part of planning due to workload and the lack of focus.


Conclusion


Whilst there are some concerns relating to implementing a multi-cloud infrastructure, many enterprises are considering the benefits far outweigh these and are still opting for multi-cloud. By putting forward a business plan showing the long-term benefits and facts proving how the features of multi-cloud could be customised to fit your business needs, then your business could soon be joining leading organisations across the globe who are looking to the future with multi-cloud infrastructure.