Developers
August 17, 2020

Multi-Cloud: What It Means and Why Your Organization Should Consider It

Multi-cloud models are an increasingly important part of many companies’ cloud strategies—and for good reason.

2020 has been the year of the cloud, as companies large and small have prioritized migration to cloud platforms. Especially as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, companies have relied on cloud computing as a means to continue with business and remain productive.

Cloud computing companies have experienced a surge in growth as their various platforms have been adopted. Amazon’s AWS is currently the market leader, with Microsoft Azure in second place and Google Cloud in third. Oracle, IBM and others make up the rest of the market.

Nonetheless, the market is constantly evolving and changing, as companies score big contracts, roll out major new features and upend the status quo. For example, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has made it his stated goal to move from third place to at least second within five years.

The pace of innovation and development in the industry creates an excellent opportunity that many companies are already taking advantage of. Others, however, would do well to take a closer look.

The Multi-Cloud Model: What’s Involved

In its most basic form, multi-cloud models simply involve using solutions from multiple cloud vendors, rather than a single one. For example, a company might use one cloud vendor for its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) needs, while using another for platform as a service (PaaS) and perhaps a third for software as a service (SaaS) .

In other instances, a multi-cloud model might involve using a combination of public and private cloud offerings. Public cloud offerings are those provided by companies like AWS, Microsoft and Google. A private cloud, on the other hand, is one a company operates and maintains itself. It can either be onsite, or in a datacenter the company owns.

At first glance, a multi-cloud approach may seem counterintuitive. Many companies in the tech industry specialize in creating entire ecosystems. Generally speaking, customers often benefit from investing in a single ecosystem, gaining interoperability among the various services and tools included.

While that may apply to the cloud industry to some degree, there are a number of advantages to a multi-cloud approach.

Advantages of Multi-Cloud Models

Not all cloud platforms are created equal. Each one offers advantages and disadvantages over their competitors.

For example, Google Cloud is generally accepted as being geared toward developers and the open source community. It also has a reputation for being big data and machine learning-friendly. As a result, Google Cloud might be an excellent choice for companies that need to develop their own cloud-based applications and rely heavily on their internal development teams. It would also be the best choice for companies specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

On the other end of the spectrum, Microsoft Azure is the best option for companies deeply steeped in Microsoft’s ecosystem. In fact, one of the benefits Microsoft touts is that it can offer the full spectrum of computing solutions to clients, from desktop and mobile operating systems to office software to ERP solutions to a full-fledged cloud computing platform. For companies that rely heavily on Microsoft’s ecosystem, using Azure to power their PaaS or SaaS is the logical choice.

Using a combination of cloud platforms ensures you’re using the right platform for the right task. In contrast, when a company uses a single platform exclusively, that platform may work well for some tasks but fall short for others.

Similarly, relying on a combination of public and private clouds can offer significant advantages as well. Using a public cloud platform can simplify administration and reduce cost for the majority of uses, while a private cloud can be used for more sensitive tasks. This is especially important for companies that work in industries where privacy and security are paramount.

Using a multi-cloud approach also helps prevent vendor lock-in. Using multiple platforms ensures your development team remains proficient using different solutions. As a result, if one of the platforms your company is using suddenly goes in a different direction, deprecates a much-needed feature or dramatically raises prices, your team is ready and prepared to migrate to one of the other options in use.

Disadvantages of Multi-Cloud Models

While there are many advantages to a multi-cloud model, there are some disadvantages.

Interoperability is one of the biggest potential disadvantages. There are a myriad of APIs and frameworks specifically designed to help facilitate sharing data between multiple cloud platforms. This still requires your development to familiarize themselves with and implement them.

Security is another potential disadvantage. Using multiple clouds provides more potential attack paths for hackers. In addition, the more cloud platforms are used, the greater the reliance on frameworks and APIs to help integrate them. These are already prime hacking targets, as a successfully compromised API can expose hundreds, or even thousands, of organizations.

Multi-Cloud Models: A Solution Many Companies Rely On

Multi-cloud models provide companies with major advantages over a single-vendor approach. When used wisely, this can provide your company scalability and diversity, not to mention the ability to use the right tool for the right problem.

TagsMulti-Cloud ModelsCloud StrategiesGoogle CloudMicrosoft AzureAWS
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersAugust 17, 2020
Multi-Cloud: What It Means and Why Your Organization Should Consider It
Multi-cloud models are an increasingly important part of many companies’ cloud strategies—and for good reason.

2020 has been the year of the cloud, as companies large and small have prioritized migration to cloud platforms. Especially as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, companies have relied on cloud computing as a means to continue with business and remain productive.

Cloud computing companies have experienced a surge in growth as their various platforms have been adopted. Amazon’s AWS is currently the market leader, with Microsoft Azure in second place and Google Cloud in third. Oracle, IBM and others make up the rest of the market.

Nonetheless, the market is constantly evolving and changing, as companies score big contracts, roll out major new features and upend the status quo. For example, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has made it his stated goal to move from third place to at least second within five years.

The pace of innovation and development in the industry creates an excellent opportunity that many companies are already taking advantage of. Others, however, would do well to take a closer look.

The Multi-Cloud Model: What’s Involved

In its most basic form, multi-cloud models simply involve using solutions from multiple cloud vendors, rather than a single one. For example, a company might use one cloud vendor for its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) needs, while using another for platform as a service (PaaS) and perhaps a third for software as a service (SaaS) .

In other instances, a multi-cloud model might involve using a combination of public and private cloud offerings. Public cloud offerings are those provided by companies like AWS, Microsoft and Google. A private cloud, on the other hand, is one a company operates and maintains itself. It can either be onsite, or in a datacenter the company owns.

At first glance, a multi-cloud approach may seem counterintuitive. Many companies in the tech industry specialize in creating entire ecosystems. Generally speaking, customers often benefit from investing in a single ecosystem, gaining interoperability among the various services and tools included.

While that may apply to the cloud industry to some degree, there are a number of advantages to a multi-cloud approach.

Advantages of Multi-Cloud Models

Not all cloud platforms are created equal. Each one offers advantages and disadvantages over their competitors.

For example, Google Cloud is generally accepted as being geared toward developers and the open source community. It also has a reputation for being big data and machine learning-friendly. As a result, Google Cloud might be an excellent choice for companies that need to develop their own cloud-based applications and rely heavily on their internal development teams. It would also be the best choice for companies specializing in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

On the other end of the spectrum, Microsoft Azure is the best option for companies deeply steeped in Microsoft’s ecosystem. In fact, one of the benefits Microsoft touts is that it can offer the full spectrum of computing solutions to clients, from desktop and mobile operating systems to office software to ERP solutions to a full-fledged cloud computing platform. For companies that rely heavily on Microsoft’s ecosystem, using Azure to power their PaaS or SaaS is the logical choice.

Using a combination of cloud platforms ensures you’re using the right platform for the right task. In contrast, when a company uses a single platform exclusively, that platform may work well for some tasks but fall short for others.

Similarly, relying on a combination of public and private clouds can offer significant advantages as well. Using a public cloud platform can simplify administration and reduce cost for the majority of uses, while a private cloud can be used for more sensitive tasks. This is especially important for companies that work in industries where privacy and security are paramount.

Using a multi-cloud approach also helps prevent vendor lock-in. Using multiple platforms ensures your development team remains proficient using different solutions. As a result, if one of the platforms your company is using suddenly goes in a different direction, deprecates a much-needed feature or dramatically raises prices, your team is ready and prepared to migrate to one of the other options in use.

Disadvantages of Multi-Cloud Models

While there are many advantages to a multi-cloud model, there are some disadvantages.

Interoperability is one of the biggest potential disadvantages. There are a myriad of APIs and frameworks specifically designed to help facilitate sharing data between multiple cloud platforms. This still requires your development to familiarize themselves with and implement them.

Security is another potential disadvantage. Using multiple clouds provides more potential attack paths for hackers. In addition, the more cloud platforms are used, the greater the reliance on frameworks and APIs to help integrate them. These are already prime hacking targets, as a successfully compromised API can expose hundreds, or even thousands, of organizations.

Multi-Cloud Models: A Solution Many Companies Rely On

Multi-cloud models provide companies with major advantages over a single-vendor approach. When used wisely, this can provide your company scalability and diversity, not to mention the ability to use the right tool for the right problem.

Multi-Cloud Models
Cloud Strategies
Google Cloud
Microsoft Azure
AWS
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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