The adoption of multi-cloud solutions has exploded in recent years.
Many businesses accelerated their multiyear cloud migration and application modernization plans during the pandemic. This was in part to make up for the absence of simple data centre access.
With the popularity of cloud computing, more and more businesses are turning to multi-cloud solutions to profit from the advantages of various cloud providers. Most firms that switch to the cloud eventually deploy multiple clouds in some way. Even unintentionally, shadow IT might lead to a multi-cloud implementation.
Approximately 73% of the businesses questioned for the VMware Digital Momentum report stated that they were employing two public clouds. Similar to this, 81% of customers of public clouds said they were using two or more providers.
Managing public cloud consumption alongside a mix that may also include private clouds, on-premises assets, and edge clouds is what most people mean by “multi-cloud.”
Don’t worry if all of this sounds very technical. We’ll discuss the specifics of a multi-cloud infrastructure in this blog.
What is a Multi-Cloud?
A cloud in cloud computing is a group of servers that users of the service can access online. A corporation that provides cloud services, or a cloud provider, usually oversees each cloud. A cloud that multiple customers share is referred to as public.
The term “multi-cloud” refers to various public clouds. A business that employs numerous public clouds from various cloud providers includes a multi-cloud setup. In a multi-cloud arrangement, a business uses multiple vendors rather than relying just on one for cloud hosting, storage, and the entire application stack.
The use cases for multi-cloud installations are numerous. A multi-cloud deployment may employ separate PaaS (platform-as-a-service), SaaS (software-as-a-service), and IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) vendors, or it may use a combination of both. Multi-cloud might include various cloud vendors for various services, or it can just be used for redundancy and system backup.
Instead of relying on one provider, multi-cloud can offer more flexibility, scalability, and redundancy. By enabling you to benefit from the finest features and prices offered by each provider, it can also assist you in avoiding vendor lock-in and lowering expenditures.
Why Employ a Multi-Cloud Approach?
So these days, businesses are using multi-cloud solutions to profit from what each particular cloud provider has to offer. According to a VMware survey, 41% of companies employing multi-cloud have experienced lower costs and fewer hours spent on IT.
According to statistics, multi-cloud platform solutions can enhance security, performance, and redundancy. By using different providers, businesses can reduce the risk of interruptions and data loss.
Businesses can tailor their workloads for various geographies or data kinds. Additionally, the solution offers more options and flexibility to enterprises, giving them a competitive advantage. This may include:
- Risk Mitigation – Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Cloud Basket: Imagine relying solely on one cloud provider, and then they have a service outage or a security breach. Oops, your whole operation is down! With a multi-cloud approach, you spread the risk. If one cloud provider stumbles, you can switch to another while minimising downtime and data loss. It’s like having a backup parachute when you’re skydiving through the digital skies.
- Avoid Vendor Lock-In: With multi-cloud, you’re not locked into a single vendor’s ecosystem. You can cherry-pick the best services and prices from various providers. This freedom keeps your options open, allowing you to adapt to changing business needs and technology advancements.
- Cost Optimization – Get the Best Bang for Your Buck: Different cloud providers offer different pricing structures. With a multi-cloud strategy, you can strategically allocate workloads to the most cost-effective provider for each specific task. It’s like coupon-clipping for the digital world, ensuring you get the best deals.
- Performance Optimization: Not all cloud providers excel in every domain. Some may offer superior AI capabilities, while others are masters of data storage. By using multiple clouds, you can optimise your setup for specific tasks, ensuring peak performance and efficiency. It’s like having a wardrobe full of outfits for various occasions – you wouldn’t wear a tuxedo to the gym, would you?
- Geographic Diversity: Different cloud providers have data centres in various geographic regions. This geographical diversity can enhance your disaster recovery and business continuity strategies. If one region faces a natural disaster or connectivity issues, your data and services can seamlessly switch to another. Think of it as having backup homes in different climates; when it’s stormy in one, it’s sunny in the other.
- Compliance and Regulations : Laws and regulations vary from place to place, and they can be as tricky as a maze. Multi-cloud solutions allow you to store data in compliance with regional regulations. This means you’re less likely to find yourself in legal hot water and can focus on growing your business rather than paying hefty fines.
Real-life Applications of Multi-Cloud Strategy
These are industries that have truly embraced the multi-cloud strategy and have significantly improved the way they operate and the results at large. They include:
- Healthcare: Healthcare organisations often use multi-cloud solutions to manage electronic health records (EHRs), medical imaging, and patient data securely while ensuring compliance with stringent regulations like HIPAA.
- Finance and Banking: Financial institutions leverage multi-cloud strategies to enhance security, manage transactional data, and support digital banking services while meeting regulatory requirements.
- Retail and E-commerce: Retailers use multi-cloud setups to handle e-commerce platforms, inventory management, and customer data to provide a seamless online shopping experience.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies utilise multi-cloud solutions for production monitoring, supply chain management, and IoT-based data analytics to improve efficiency and reduce downtime.
- Telecommunications: Telecom providers adopt multi-cloud architectures to deliver scalable and reliable network services, manage customer data, and support the rollout of 5G technology.
- Media and Entertainment: Companies in this sector leverage multi-cloud to handle content delivery, streaming, and media asset management, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted user experience.
- Government and Public Sector: Government agencies use multi-cloud solutions to improve citizen services, enhance cybersecurity, and streamline data management while adhering to compliance regulations.
- Education: Educational institutions deploy multi-cloud strategies to support remote learning, manage student data, and deliver online courses with high availability and scalability.
- Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences: Organisations in this sector leverage multi-cloud to accelerate drug discovery, manage clinical trial data, and ensure data privacy and compliance.
- Aerospace and Defence: Aerospace companies use multi-cloud solutions for engineering simulations, aircraft maintenance, and secure data sharing among global partners and government entities.
When to Use Multi-Cloud
Using a multi-cloud strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, but there are specific scenarios and circumstances where it makes sense to adopt a multi-cloud approach:
- Risk Mitigation: When you want to minimise the risk of downtime due to cloud provider outages or disruptions, spreading your workloads across multiple cloud providers can provide redundancy. If one provider experiences issues, you can shift operations to another, ensuring business continuity.
- Compliance Requirements: In industries with strict data governance and compliance regulations, such as healthcare (HIPAA) or finance (PCI DSS), a multi-cloud approach can help you store and manage data in compliance with regional and industry-specific regulations.
- Cost Optimization: When you want to optimise costs by taking advantage of different pricing models offered by various cloud providers. Different providers may offer better pricing for specific services or offer discounts that align with your usage patterns.
- Performance and Scalability: If your workloads have varying performance requirements, using multiple cloud providers allows you to choose the best platform for each workload. You can scale resources up or down as needed and ensure optimal performance.
- Geographical Redundancy: Businesses with a global presence may benefit from multi-cloud solutions to ensure that data and services are available in different regions. This helps improve latency, disaster recovery, and compliance with data sovereignty laws.
- Avoiding Vendor Lock-In: If you want to avoid becoming overly dependent on a single cloud provider’s ecosystem and APIs, a multi-cloud approach ensures you have the flexibility to switch providers or integrate new services without major disruptions.
How Does Multi-Cloud Deployment Benefit Your Business?
A multi-cloud solution stands as a robust safeguard for your business data. It empowers you with the ability to maintain multiple data backups in diverse locations, effectively shielding against the perils of hardware failures and natural disasters.
But there’s more to the multi-cloud allure than just data security; here are five pivotal reasons why businesses should seriously contemplate adopting this strategy:
1. Customised Precision: Every business possesses unique demands when it comes to cloud services. With the multi-cloud approach, businesses gain the power to mix and match different Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), meticulously tailoring a solution to suit their precise needs. This empowers them to sidestep unnecessary expenses on superfluous features or the limitations of a one-size-fits-all model that may not align with their requirements.
2. Breaking Free from Vendor Shackles: When your businesses opt for a multi-cloud Service Providers (CSPs), you can easily break free from the constraints of vendor lock-ins. This liberating flexibility empowers you to pivot to another CSP should you become dissatisfied with the service or if costs begin to soar. This grants your business a higher degree of autonomy over your cloud services.
3. Fortified Risk Management: Businesses are always looking for methods to strengthen their defences. Distributing their data and workloads among a variety of different cloud service providers is a successful method in this endeavour.
Your businesses can protect your data from harm and insulate themselves from the dangers of service interruptions and disruptive events by utilising the capabilities of numerous CSPs. To protect your digital assets, this is analogous to creating a multi-layered castle.
4. Enhanced Agility and Resilience: Organisations have the unique ability to quickly adjust their resource distribution in response to shifting demand thanks to multi-cloud systems. Due to their agility, they only pay for the precise resources that are being used at any one time, which results in cost savings.
Additionally, when resilience is a key priority, multi-cloud is spectacular. If there are issues with one CSP, businesses may rapidly switch to another, allowing them to bounce back from any setbacks.
5. Top-Tier Infrastructure at Warp Speed: Businesses that want lightning-fast performance usually need high-speed infrastructure. Multi-cloud comes to the rescue by making the best CSPs, those with the quickest and most reliable infrastructure, available. It’s similar to controlling a speedy sports car on a multi-lane highway to ensure a smooth and efficient journey.
Defining Hybrid-Cloud Computing
Applications are run in a mixed computing environment in a hybrid cloud. This environment includes processing, storage, and services from on-premises data centres, public and private clouds, as well as edge locations. Hybrid cloud computing strategies are widespread since only a few people currently solely rely on a single public cloud.
Today, one of the most popular infrastructure configurations is a hybrid cloud strategy. Organisations frequently need to move apps and data gradually and methodically, therefore cloud migrations frequently result in hybrid cloud installations. You can use on-premises services as usual in hybrid cloud setups while also benefiting from the adaptable options for storing and accessing data and apps provided by public cloud providers like Google Cloud.
How Does a Hybrid Cloud Function?
A few of the most common public cloud computing services include:
- Google Cloud Services
- IBM Cloud
- Microsoft Azure
Initially, hybrid cloud architecture concentrated on the mechanics of converting portions of a company’s on-premises data centre into private cloud infrastructure and then connecting that infrastructure to public cloud environments hosted off-premises by a public cloud provider.
This was done by integrating cloud resources across environments with sophisticated enterprise middleware, such as Red Hat OpenStack, and unified management tools for monitoring, allocating, and managing those resources from a central console or single pane of glass.
When to Use Hybrid Cloud Computing
Hybrid cloud computing is like a Swiss Army knife in the world of IT infrastructure—it’s versatile and can be incredibly handy in specific scenarios. Here are some situations when using hybrid cloud computing is a smart move:
- Data Security and Compliance: When your organisation deals with sensitive data or operates in a heavily regulated industry (like finance or healthcare), a hybrid cloud allows you to keep critical data on a private, on-premises cloud, while still utilising public cloud resources for less sensitive tasks. This ensures compliance with data protection regulations and provides an additional layer of security.
- Scalability Needs: Hybrid clouds are excellent when your workload fluctuates. During periods of high demand, you can seamlessly burst into the public cloud to access additional resources, while maintaining a stable, on-premises infrastructure for everyday operations. This scalability helps you avoid over-provisioning on-site hardware.
- Testing and Development: If your organisation frequently develops and tests new applications or software, a hybrid cloud allows you to create isolated, scalable environments in the public cloud. This saves time and resources compared to setting up and maintaining separate on-premises testing environments.
- Geographic Reach: Businesses that operate globally can benefit from hybrid clouds. You can deploy applications and services closer to your customers or users by leveraging public cloud data centres in various regions, reducing latency and enhancing user experiences.
- Legacy Systems Integration: If your organisation relies on legacy systems that are difficult to migrate to the cloud, a hybrid approach allows you to keep these systems in place while leveraging the public cloud for newer applications and services. This avoids the disruption and cost of completely overhauling your infrastructure.
- Intermittent Workloads: Some workloads are only needed intermittently, like batch processing or seasonal demand. With a hybrid cloud, you can tap into public cloud resources when required and scale down during idle periods, saving costs.
- Flexibility and Future-Proofing: A hybrid cloud strategy provides flexibility to adapt to changing business needs. You can gradually migrate workloads to the cloud, ensuring a smoother transition and future-proofing your IT infrastructure.
- Mergers and Acquisitions: When organisations merge or acquire others, they often inherit different cloud environments. A hybrid cloud can facilitate cloud integration by allowing each entity to maintain its existing infrastructure while still sharing resources and data through the cloud.
Multi-Cloud vs Hybrid-Cloud Providers: The Pros and Cons
Everything under the sun has its good and bad side. As they say, nothing/no one has it all. Therefore, in this section, we are going to break down the most common benefits and limitations that come with contracting hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud providers.
Pros Of Multi-Cloud Computing Providers
- Cloud Solutions – Promoting Innovation
Multi-cloud offers organisations a playground of innovation. It allows them to cherry-pick from a buffet of cloud solutions offered by different providers. This flexibility empowers businesses to choose the most suitable tools and technologies for specific needs.
For instance, your business can harness the machine learning prowess of one provider for data analytics while utilising another’s robust database services. This freedom fosters innovation by enabling businesses to experiment with cutting-edge solutions and tailor their technology stack precisely to their requirements.
Multi-cloud scalability is akin to having an elastic IT infrastructure at your fingertips. It enables organisations to seamlessly adjust resources based on fluctuating demands. During peak periods, such as holiday sales or product launches, businesses can swiftly scale up to accommodate increased traffic and workloads. Conversely, during quieter times, they can scale down, avoiding unnecessary expenses. This dynamic resource allocation not only saves costs but also ensures optimal performance and user experiences.
- Data Security
In the realm of data security, multi-cloud adopts a fortress strategy. Dispersing data across various cloud providers enhances protection against cyber threats and data breaches.
Even if one provider experiences a security incident, the data stored with other providers remains secure. This distribution also supports compliance efforts, as businesses can store data in regions that align with specific regulatory requirements.
Multi-cloud provides organisations with the freedom to explore, innovate, and experiment without the fear of vendor lock-in. They can try out new services, test emerging technologies, and even pivot to different providers if they find a better fit—all without the constraints of being tied to a single vendor’s ecosystem.
This flexibility encourages a culture of exploration and adaptability, allowing businesses to stay at the forefront of technological advancements without hesitation.
- Workload Distribution
Multi-cloud excels in optimising workload distribution, ensuring that each task finds its ideal environment. Critical workloads can run on a cloud provider known for robust performance and high availability, while less demanding tasks can be executed on a more cost-effective platform. This meticulous workload management leads to enhanced overall performance and reliability, as no single provider is burdened with all responsibilities.
- Service-Level Agreements (SLAs)
Multi-cloud empowers organisations to be discerning consumers of cloud services. They can select the most advantageous Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) from different providers, tailoring contractual terms to their specific needs. This flexibility ensures that critical services receive the highest level of performance and uptime guarantees, while non-essential services can be managed with more cost-effective SLAs.
Disadvantages of Multi-Cloud Computing Providers
One of the prominent challenges of multi-cloud is the complexity it introduces. Managing multiple cloud environments, each with its own interface, cloud management tools, and policies, can become intricate. IT teams must develop expertise across various platforms, leading to increased training and skill requirements. Coordinating tasks, troubleshooting issues, and ensuring consistent performance and security across diverse environments can be demanding.
The intricate integration puzzle is another hurdle in multi-cloud environments. Combining services from various providers and ensuring seamless communication between them can be challenging. Differences in APIs, data formats, and networking configurations may lead to compatibility issues. Integration solutions are often required to bridge these gaps, adding complexity to the architecture. Ensuring data consistency and reliable processes across integrated services demands meticulous planning and ongoing management.
- Vendor Lock-In
Ironically, while multi-cloud aims to avoid vendor lock-in, it can sometimes introduce complexities related to vendor management. Striking the right balance between leveraging the strengths of multiple providers and avoiding dependency on any one of them can be challenging. Organisations may find themselves navigating intricate contractual relationships, billing structures, and compatibility issues as they aim to prevent vendor lock-in.
- Data Sovereignty
Multi-cloud’s approach of distributing data across various regions to enhance data security and compliance can also be a double-edged sword. Managing data sovereignty, which involves adhering to data storage regulations across multiple jurisdictions, can be complex. Ensuring that data is stored in the right locations to comply with regional laws while maintaining accessibility and availability can be a logistical challenge.
Pro of Hybrid-Cloud Providers
Let’s get into more detail about the advantages or advantages of hybrid cloud computing providers:
- Data Security – Enhanced Control and Protection
Hybrid-cloud providers offer organisations greater control over data placement. This enhanced control translates into stronger security. Critical and sensitive data can be kept within on-premises or private cloud environments, where organisations have full visibility and control over security measures. This control allows for the implementation of custom security policies and measures, ensuring that data remains highly secure.
- Scalability – Flexibility and Cost-Efficiency
Hybrid-cloud’s scalability combines the best of both worlds. Organisations can leverage the flexibility and speed of public cloud solutions for peak demands or rapid expansion while maintaining on-premises resources for baseline workloads. This versatile approach not only ensures optimal resource allocation but also helps manage costs efficiently.
Organisations pay for public cloud resources only when needed, avoiding over-provisioning and unnecessary expenses. It’s like having a dynamic infrastructure that expands and contracts as your needs fluctuate, all while keeping costs in check.
- Cost Optimization – Maximising Efficiency
Hybrid cloud providers enable cost optimization by leveraging public cloud resources for specific tasks. During peak demands, organisations can harness the power of the public cloud without the need for significant investments in additional on-premises hardware.
This cost-effective approach ensures that resources are allocated efficiently, leading to significant cost savings. It’s like having a cost-effective assistant who steps in when needed, ensuring that you’re not paying for idle resources.
- Flexibility – Versatility in Infrastructure
The versatility offered by hybrid cloud providers is a key advantage. Organisations can combine the benefits of both public and on-premises infrastructure to create a customised environment that suits their specific needs.
This flexibility empowers them to choose the most appropriate platform for each workload or application, ensuring optimal performance and resource utilisation. It’s like having a toolkit with both traditional and modern tools, enabling you to tackle a wide range of tasks effectively.
- Workload Distribution – Optimising Performance:
Hybrid-cloud computing providers excel in workload distribution. Organisations can strategically place workloads in either on-premises or cloud environments based on performance, compliance, and availability requirements. This optimization ensures that each workload runs in its ideal environment, leading to improved overall performance and reliability.
Disadvantages of Hybrid-Cloud Providers
Let’s examine the drawbacks or difficulties related to hybrid cloud computing providers in greater detail:
- Complexity – A Balancing Act
Setting up and maintaining a hybrid-cloud architecture can be a complex endeavour. It requires organisations to strike a delicate balance between on-premises and cloud resources. Coordinating and managing these diverse environments demands a deep understanding of both, as well as the ability to navigate the complexities of integration, security, and data management.
Additionally, ensuring that workloads are distributed optimally and consistently across the hybrid environment can be challenging. It’s like orchestrating a high-wire act, where precision and balance are crucial to success.
- Integration – Bridging the Gap
Ensuring seamless integration between on-premises and cloud components can be complex. Differences in technologies, data formats, and networking configurations may lead to compatibility issues. Organisations often require sophisticated integration solutions to bridge these gaps, adding to the complexity of the architecture.
Careful planning and ongoing management are essential to maintaining smooth communication and data flow between the two environments. It’s like building a bridge between two islands with varying terrains, requiring careful engineering to ensure a sturdy connection.
- Cost – Higher Upfront Investment
Hybrid-cloud deployments may involve a higher upfront investment compared to fully public cloud deployments. Establishing the necessary on-premises infrastructure, including servers, storage, and networking equipment, can incur substantial costs. While the long-term cost savings may be realised through efficient resource utilisation and scalability, organisations must be prepared for these initial expenses. It’s like investing in a diverse portfolio with the expectation of future returns, but with an initial financial commitment.
- Risk Management – Covering All Bases
Comprehensive risk management is essential in a hybrid-cloud environment. Organisations must address risks related to both on-premises and cloud components, which can vary significantly. This includes data security, compliance, disaster recovery, and vendor-specific risks. Developing and implementing a cohesive risk management strategy that covers all bases is critical to ensuring the reliability and security of the hybrid infrastructure. It’s like maintaining a safety net that not only catches you when you fall but also adapts to the different environments you operate in.
- Infrastructure Management – Coordinating Diverse IT Landscapes
The coordination and management of diverse IT environments can be challenging in a hybrid-cloud setup. IT teams need to oversee on-premises infrastructure while simultaneously managing cloud resources, each with its own set of tools, interfaces, and management processes. This dual management responsibility requires skilled and well-coordinated teams capable of maintaining operational efficiency across the hybrid landscape. It’s like juggling multiple balls in the air, each requiring attention and precision to ensure they all stay in motion.
In the dynamic landscape of modern IT infrastructure, the choice between multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud computing providers is akin to navigating uncharted territory. Each path presents its own set of challenges and rewards.
Multi-cloud offers unparalleled flexibility, scalability, and innovation potential. However, it demands a sophisticated orchestration of multiple environments and the mastery of integration intricacies.
Hybrid-cloud combines the best of both worlds, with control over data security, scalability, and cost-efficiency. Nevertheless, it necessitates a delicate balance between on-premises and cloud resources, requiring meticulous management.
In this journey, Telco ICT providers emerge as invaluable allies, bridging the divide between telecommunications and IT infrastructure. They provide the connectivity, security, and expertise required to navigate the complexities of multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments.
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