The use of two or more public cloud providers to serve an organization’s IT services and infrastructure is known as multi-cloud. There is no single provider of multi-cloud services.

A multi-cloud strategy typically includes a combination of major public cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft (Azure), and IBM.

Organizations select the best cloud services from each cloud provider based on cost, technical requirements, geographic availability, and other considerations. This could imply that a company uses Google Cloud for development/testing, AWS for disaster recovery, and Microsoft Azure for business analytics data processing.

Organizations that adopt a multi-cloud architecture may leverage multiple public clouds in combination with private cloud deployments and traditional on-premise infrastructure.

The ability to selectively distribute workloads between various computing infrastructures via a multi-cloud approach provides these organizations with competitive advantages such as cost savings, reduced barriers to innovation, stronger disaster mitigation, and business continuity planning, and increased efficiency.

Problems with Data Availability in Multi-Cloud Environments

Aside from the benefits, multi-cloud adoption can present a completely new set of challenges. Data availability is one of these challenges. It is the process of maintaining access to your data at the required level of performance in situations ranging from normal everyday operations to disaster recovery operations.

Many of these data availability issues have already been addressed by individual cloud providers within the context of their own clouds or services. Cloud providers currently offer cross-service consumption, cross-region replication, snapshots, and backups to help combat data availability issues.

But what happens when we consider the same data across multiple cloud providers? Organizations would have to coordinate data availability and security across multiple cloud providers. Before attempting to use the same data sets across clouds, consider the following:

  • How do I use the output of one cloud provider’s service as the input for another cloud provider’s service?
  • How can I ensure that data management policies are consistent across multiple cloud providers?
  • How can I read and write to the same data set across multiple cloud providers in a secure manner?
  • How can I ensure consistent performance by managing capacity and performance across multiple cloud providers?
  • These are just a few of the data availability issues you may face when implementing a multi-cloud strategy.

What Is the Difference Between Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud?

Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are both common cloud deployment architectures, but each has its own distinct definition and are not the same thing.

A multi-cloud architecture consists of two or more clouds of the same type. Some organizations deliver services using multiple private clouds, while others use multiple public clouds from different vendors – both are examples of multi-cloud architectures.

A hybrid cloud architecture solution is one that combines public and private cloud infrastructure and allows for orchestration between the two. Hybrid cloud architecture may also include on-premise data center’s that are linked.

Deployments of multi-cloud and hybrid clouds are not mutually exclusive. A hybrid cloud and a multi-cloud strategy are being pursued by an organisation that orchestrates workloads between an on-premise data centre, a VMware private cloud, and multiple public clouds.

How Safe Is Multi-Cloud Computing?

The goal of multi-cloud security is to protect data consistently across multiple cloud providers. Third-party partners handle various aspects of security in a multi-cloud approach. It is critical to clearly define and distribute security responsibilities among the parties during cloud deployment.

Who is Making Use of Multi-Cloud Computing?

Organizations are continuing to embrace the multi-cloud environment, with enterprise adoption of multi-cloud architectures at an all-time high.

According to an International Data Corporation multi-cloud management survey conducted in 2019, 81 percent of enterprise organizations were using multiple public clouds along with one or more private cloud deployments to support application workloads while maintaining privacy and reducing IT spending.

In the ninth annual State of the Cloud Report, 554 IT professionals from public and private sector organisations with 1000+ employees were polled about multi-cloud adoption in their organisations. In total, 93 percent of respondents said their companies had adopted a multi-cloud strategy to meet their computing needs.

Another cloud adoption survey looked at how enterprises were incorporating services from the big three multi-cloud vendors (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform) into their network architectures. According to the findings, 40% of respondents used two or more of these providers, while an additional 18% used all three providers for various application workloads.

What exactly is a Multi Cloud Approach?

For a variety of reasons, multi-cloud is an approach that has many IT leaders scratching their heads in confusion. Whether it is due to a lack of understanding of how to leverage multi-cloud or a failure to recognize the value of this approach, we know that Multi-Cloud is here to stay. According to Gartner, multi-cloud strategies will increase from 10% in 2015 to more than 70% by 2018.

When an IT leader believes that utilizing a multi-cloud approach is in their organization’s best interests, a new stage of confusion usually emerges. They frequently do not understand how to navigate a multi-cloud strategy or how to architect and manage multiple cloud vendors in an organized manner. The goal is not to disseminate data and applications across the internet!

Three Obstacles to Multi-Cloud Storage for Businesses

1. Financial Issues:

  • lowering the cost of storage
  • a secret (or not so hidden) charges for exiting
  • The cost of replatforming apps to move them to the cloud.

2. Integration Difficulties

  • Inadequate experience and process for integrating multiple clouds
  • Making it compatible with existing data
  • Making Data Fabric a “real” thing in the public cloud
  • Taking advantage of existing investments (a la Snap mirror, Recover Point)

3. Specialized

  • Multi-cloud is difficult, and many organizations lack the necessary expertise.
  • Managing complexity through the use of diverse functionality from multiple clouds
  • The integration of clouds is extremely complex (especially multiple clouds)
  • Big Data requirements can be difficult to manage.

It is highly unlikely that all of the major providers, such as AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, and IBM, will collaborate to form a seamless multi-cloud, so what is the solution?

How to Approach a Multi-Cloud Approach

In order to tackle a multi-cloud approach, organizations must first assess their current approach and define a new strategy that includes how they manage the things that are and will always be important, such as compliance, risk, and cost control, while maintaining control over their environment.

To address the operational challenges that come with a multi-cloud reality, IT teams will need to be able to visualize resources and manage performance across all environments. Only then will you be able to leverage your organization’s infrastructure as a competitive advantage rather than a risk.

What exactly is a Multi-Cloud Strategy?

A multi-cloud environment combines services from multiple public cloud service providers to meet an organization’s technical and business requirements. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) deployments can be combined in multi-cloud solutions.

A multi-cloud strategy enables organizations to optimize their IT spending and business operations by selecting the best service and provider for each use case. Forrester analysts polled over 600 cloud strategy professionals to identify the top use cases for multi-cloud architecture1, which included:

  • Application workloads are deployed selectively across multiple public and private clouds based on application and business requirements.
  • In a hybrid cloud environment, on-premises infrastructure is combined with services from multiple public clouds.
  • Creating API-consistent cloud infrastructure that works across public and private clouds.
  • Increasing data-center capabilities and disaster recovery capabilities.
  • Controlling access to cloud-based data, applications, and services via a centralized management portal.
  • Creating applications with components that are deployed across multiple cloud platforms.

With 93 percent of enterprise organizations already pursuing a multi-cloud strategy, ongoing IT investment will priorities optimizing multi-cloud architecture and deployments to achieve key strategic benefits and objectives. Let’s look at seven of the most important drivers of multi-cloud investment in 2020.

Why Should You Use a Multi-Cloud Strategy?

With multi-cloud adoption rates rising across industries, there is a driving force propelling enterprise organizations and small-to-medium-sized businesses toward the multi-cloud paradigm.

In fact, there are several reasons why more organizations choose to implement and refine their multi-cloud strategies each year. Here are just a few of the reasons why multi-cloud adoption is at an all-time high across the information technology landscape.

Reasons Why Businesses Opt for a Multi-Cloud Strategy

1. Preventing Vendor Lock-In

Vendor lock-in occurs when it becomes too difficult for an organization to move its business from one cloud service provider to another or even bring its data back on-premises.

Organizations that rely on a single cloud service provider frequently find themselves developing applications that heavily rely on that vendor’s unique capabilities. Switching providers becomes more expensive, complex, and time-consuming as those organizations increase their investment in that single cloud.

Organizations that have committed to a multi-cloud strategy, on the other hand, plan for agility and portability across multiple cloud providers. Organizations can take advantage of new technologies from all providers and choose the best-performing or most cost-effective services for specific application workloads thanks to the ability to transfer applications between multiple public cloud vendors.

Adopting a multi-cloud strategy can assist your organization in avoiding vendor lock-in, gaining access to new and improved technologies from other providers, and selecting the most cost-effective and performance-optimized compute or storage resources for each workload.

2. Surmounting Data Gravity

In 2020, data will play a critical role in the daily operations of thousands of businesses. Organizations have traditionally stored their data in on-premise data centers where legacy applications could analyses it, but in the cloud computing era, more are opting to store data in the cloud and analyses data with cloud-based applications.

The concept of “Data Gravity” refers to the idea that large data sets are difficult and expensive to move or migrate, and as a result, they must be stored close to the applications and services that analyses them. If your company stores a large amount of data with a single cloud service provider, data gravity may force you to deploy related apps and services with the same provider, even if there are more cost-effective options available in another cloud.

3. Cloud Workload Optimization

Each public cloud service provider offers a unique combination of physical infrastructure components and application services with varying functionality, usage characteristics, terms and conditions, and pricing. They also regularly introduce new features to make their services more efficient, cost-effective, and appealing to customers.

As a result, no single cloud provider can claim to provide cost-effective services that address every potential business need or use case.

4. Enhancing Application Performance

Data must travel across several network nodes before reaching the user when cloud-based application services are delivered from servers in remote locations. Slow data transfers may degrade application performance and negatively impact the user experience as network latency increases.

The major public cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud) operate multiple data centres in geographically diverse regions, resulting in a network of availability zones that provide high-speed service to customers and users worldwide. Organizations can gain access to new geographies by implementing a multi-cloud strategy and leveraging cloud services from multiple vendors.

5. Limiting Shadow IT

When independent business units within an organization adopt technological solutions without the oversight of the IT department, this is referred to as shadow IT. Shadow IT can raise security concerns, particularly when employees use unsecured platforms outside the organization’s firewall to transact sensitive data. According to Gartner, 30 percent or more of successful cyber-attacks in 2020 will target Shadow IT resources within enterprise organizations.

When organizations are slow to adopt new technologies, employees may opt to configure the hardware, software, or web services they require without involving the IT department, increasing the risk of Shadow IT to organizational data security.

Organizations that use a multi-cloud strategy can accelerate their adoption of cloud services that boost employee productivity and collaboration, reducing the temptation for employees to implement new technologies without following the proper channels.

Improved Disaster Recovery Capabilities

Although most public cloud service providers guarantee 99.5 percent uptime as part of their service level agreements, unplanned outages do occur and can be extremely expensive. According to a 2019 survey of 100 IT directors from large US enterprises, organizations experienced an average of 830 minutes of unplanned downtime during the year, at a cost of $5.6 million.

Organizations can respond to unplanned service outages by failing over workloads from one public cloud to another using a multi-cloud strategy. Organizations can customize their failover models based on application-specific needs with vapor cloud-based disaster recovery solutions, taking advantage of cost-performance trade-offs to achieve a fully optimized disaster recovery strategy.

What Are the Advantages of Using Multi-Cloud Solutions?

Vapor VM offers multi-cloud storage and resilience, giving your company a competitive advantage in multi-cloud adoption, management, and value generation while competitors struggle to keep up. CIOs will have numerous opportunities to deliver value as a result of multi-cloud.

If you want to learn more about Cloud Data Services, Vapor VM is a company that helps organizations solve multi-cloud data availability problems by abstracting data from individual cloud providers and making it available as a service. The complexities of data protection and disaster recovery are reduced when data is extracted from the cloud. With this innovative architecture, a single copy of data can be accessed by all clouds at the same time, reducing storage costs by 3-4x. As an added benefit, organizations can maintain centralized control while increasing innovation by gaining access to the most recent best-in-class services from multiple cloud providers. Do you want to know more? Please contact us.

Are you ready to make multi-cloud work for your company?

Alternatively, you can attend our exclusive multi-cloud webinar, where we will share insights from supporting multi-cloud adoption across industries, key multi-cloud use cases, and why your organization will benefit from a multi-cloud strategy.

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