Cloud computing has a long history of evolution, starting with the rise of Salesforce in 1999 followed by Amazon Web Services in 2002. Eventually, around 2006-2009, we see the introduction of Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Web 2.0. The current raging trend in cloud computing is the multi-cloud approach. Earlier, when companies adopted the cloud mode, they had only two alternatives: public cloud deployment or private cloud deployment. With the hybrid multi-cloud approach, the cloud applications are spread across multiple service providers. Certain amount of data is preserved on private server while other data is sent off to the cloud. The emerging popularity of multi-cloud approach is evident through surveys which spell its adoption by companies. Gartner predicted that over 50% of the enterprises would be using multi-cloud (hybrid) approach by 2017.
While deciding the deployment strategy for your company, the primary concern must be to jot down your data requirements and choose the service providers which fulfill these functions adequately. Gordon Davey, the cloud strategy director at Dell (UK) pointed out that “Platforms chosen for a specific purpose will often have less over-provisioning, will often have over-provisioning and will usually outperform a generic multi-purpose solution. The aggregated cost and performance benefits of using the right platform for the right workload can often make a very compelling business case.” What advantages and challenges would you encounter while experiencing multi-cloud approach? How is the multi-cloud approach better than other deployment methods? Here are the five advantages of multi-cloud mode:
When you spread cloud deployment across service providers, it creates space for competitive prices that reduces the burden on your IT spending budget. The ideal choice is to associate with a cloud provider who would assist you towards other cloud providers that can fulfill your IT requirements better. For instance, IBM acquired Gravitant to empower SoftLayer cloud clients to have a dashboard-view of which cloud providers are optimal choices for placing their workloads. The service levels and expenses are also taken into account. Another case is of Cisco’s acquiring of CliQr owing to which Cisco customers can now gather real-time models for their cloud workloads.
In multi-cloud approach, the primal motive is to create a functional network of cloud service providers where all data needs of company are rightly positioned and implemented. For this reason, the spectrum of cloud service providers available for deployment is vast including local VAR options to the giant providers like Google, AWS and Microsoft.
When you deploy your applications across a series of service providers, you reduce the dependence on single vendors as was the case previously. Owning such autonomy can help negotiate terms with the vendors to arrive at favorable service-level agreements, pricing and others.
The golden piece of advice for investment is to diversify. Once your workload is spread across a network of service providers, you reduce the risk of facing complete shutdown in case any one of them faces service outage.
Every cloud service provider is accompanied by a matrix of consistently evolving features. When you sign up with many cloud service providers, your deployment strategy also faces the benefit of using varying capacities to fulfill the needs. The age of high-end customization is made possible with multi-cloud approach where a company can create a strong network of cloud service providers to answer to each need fully.
While the multi-cloud approach is gaining popularity and its loyal followers, it is not without challenges. Here are four major multi-cloud deployment challenges:
Companies tallying through a series of features provided by cloud providers can distract from emphasizing and recognizing the specific needs of your business. While attempting to make complete use of the features, the business could incur a lack of direction in its IT plans.
Multi-cloud approach is still in the infancy stage and at such a fertile time, there is a risk that cloud brokers would rise to negotiate the atmosphere for enterprises. The task of cloud brokers would be to unite the multiple service providers’ features, to standardize the implementations and check on the risk, governance and compliance. While cloud brokers could help businesses to manage their cloud approach efficiently, the burden of cost which previously vanished because of the multi-cloud approach could see a comeback through the brokers.
With multi-cloud, it is undeniable that companies have greater choice to fulfill their IT needs. Suppose that you decide to deploy with three cloud providers where each of them fulfills a certain business function with their features. You are looking only to exploit those specific features in their systems. However, today most companies market complete systems and not the tools independently (for pocket-friendly prices). Under such conditions, shopping for independent tools across service providers could burn a hole in the pocket.
Companies which adopt multi-cloud approach will need to go through rules and regulations of each service provider to ensure that it syncs with their security needs.
Multi-cloud approach is a consistently developing field today, with concrete evidence of their popularity. While it will have to deal and manage challenges mentioned above, we can imagine that cloud computing could outrun our imagination to eventually provide company-specific ideal data solutions.
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