What is multi-cloud, and should you consider this strategy?

February 25, 2021

Multi-cloud is more than a buzz word. It is very real, with most Australian businesses now engaging multi-cloud, is now the time for you to consider a move also?

What is a multi-cloud strategy?

Have you ever heard the saying, don't put all eggs in one basket? Cloud computing consumption has accelerated due to cost efficiencies and organisations setting up distinct work environments. For instance, development, testing, and production. It's sensible to deploy this infrastructure separately to avoid disruption. The classic example of multi-cloud is an architecture that includes services from more than one public cloud, like AWS and Azure. A multi-cloud Strategy lets organisations hedge risks and benefit from each cloud environment's features and services.

What is your multi-cloud configuration?

Multi-cloud architecture can present itself in many forms.

Workload integration

Are your workloads spread across multiple clouds, and how do they integrate?

A great example of a multi-cloud strategy is where a business runs one application in one cloud (like AWS) and runs an entirely separate application on another (like Azure).

However, because those clouds would not be integrated, you could argue that they aren't forming a multi-cloud architecture. They are just two different cloud platforms being used by the same business. On the other hand, an application hosted on one cloud, utilising data hosted on another cloud, ticks that multi-cloud box as multiple clouds are connected.

Avoiding cloud dependency

Are workloads tied to a specific cloud platform? Do you need an architecture that sets you free from dependence on a single cloud?

What if you had a virtual machine image designed in such a way that it can easily be ported among AWS and Azure or on any other major cloud. An approach like this achieves flexible multi-cloud architecture.

Hybrid cloud vs. multi-cloud

So where does hybrid cloud fit in? Most multi-cloud definitions treat hybrid cloud and multi-cloud as distinct types of architectures. While multi-cloud requires multiple public clouds, a hybrid cloud uses a public cloud and either a private cloud or on-premises infrastructure that do not run as a cloud.

If you define multi-cloud as any environment involving at least two clouds, then a hybrid environment that mixes a private cloud with a public cloud would qualify as multi-cloud. It gets more complicated when you consider a variety of approaches to creating hybrid clouds.

You could deploy on-premises servers and integrate them with a public cloud service, or you could leverage a framework like AWS Outposts or Azure Arc to host public cloud services on your infrastructure.

In conclusion, there are many ways to build hybrid architectures. Whether any or all of them fit into the multi-cloud model depends on your point of view.

So what are the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy?

Creating a multi-cloud strategy can increase flexibility and the businesses ability to meet key objectives.

  • Flexibility - different workloads, applications, and data have differing security or customer experience requirements. Multi-cloud infrastructure allows you to match the needs of various business units to the most suitable platform.
  • Redundancy - access to multiple storage systems provides more failure redundancy.
  • Scalability - Utilising container technology via Kubernetes to access multiple clouds allows for quicker access to more resources, allowing companies the agility to scale rapidly to meet peak demands.
  • Cost effective - having workloads assigned to the most efficient cloud environment allows for cost benefits to be realised.
  • Operations - Lowers risk of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Cloud Lock In - avoid the risk of becoming totally reliant on one particular provider. Avoiding this situation is recommended. It can leave a business vulnerable to the prohibitive costs of switching entirely to a new platform once a vendor if the need arises.

In conclusion, your multi-cloud environment's design and implementation should be tailored to you, the way your business operates, future goals and ambitions. For more info on how to develop your multi-cloud strategy, speak to Olikka.

Kiki Damjanoski

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