Remember when someone on your IT team would take an external hard drive home on nights and weekends to make sure the business had a copy of data offsite? Hopefully that was long ago for you. If it wasn’t, it should be. Thankfully, those days are behind us because hybrid and multi-cloud architecture have become more accessible and easier to deploy over the last 5 years. In fact, the strategy to leverage multiple clouds that address different business needs will continue to evolve as one of the most important technology strategies for businesses of all sizes over the next several years.
This year, Gartner surveyed public cloud users and found that 81 percent are already working with two or more cloud providers. These data are skewed toward the Enterprise space today but this trend will persist in the mid-size and SMB spaces as smaller enterprises typically follow the lead of the larger players in the market.
Public cloud is highly reliable, and although there’s not much of a chance that using one cloud will result in the permanent loss of all your data, outages aren’t unheard of. Just last week, Microsoft reported a major outage to their O365 infrastructure. (link to our blog post) One of the best arguments for multi-cloud architecture is data redundancy and availability – let’s call it a more modern and robust version of carrying a hard drive home every night. So, if service is interrupted, businesses can still access mission-critical data. There are, however, even more compelling reasons that multi-cloud architecture is one of the top cloud trends going into 2021:
Multi-cloud architecture allows users to choose cloud services from different providers, enabling them to use the best available for specific tasks. In today’s competitive market, it’s not uncommon for cloud providers to differentiate on a specialty. A cloud provider may, for example, stand out for their data management, security profile, or machine learning capabilities. A business can work with all three cloud providers for maximum benefit.
Another driver for multi-cloud adoption is avoiding vendor lock-in. Early cloud adopters understand this all too well. They moved their applications to a cloud, used that provider’s modules and services, and built a great system — but it didn’t integrate well outside the cloud provider’s infrastructure. Lock-in was a fact of life.
Today, developers are using containers and microservices to design around cloud portability. Now, if features or prices change, workloads in the cloud can move more easily.
3. Decreased latency
Cloud inspires people to think about the virtual world, but physical infrastructure still plays a role in performance. When users are geographically far away from a cloud provider’s facilities, performance may be affected. Latency might only be measured in a fraction of a second, but for some businesses, every millisecond matters. Multi-cloud architecture enables businesses with locations in different parts of the country or the world to leverage clouds closest to users, optimizing performance.
Some businesses’ use of cloud is regulated. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates the transmission and storage of healthcare data, and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation mandates the protection of consumer data in the cloud. Multi-cloud architecture enables an organization to use a particular cloud service that enables compliance with strict regulations while providing the freedom to choose other cloud providers for different parts of their workloads.
Overcoming Multi-Cloud Architecture Complexity
Multi-cloud architecture is gaining momentum for a lot of compelling reasons, including agility, expanded functionality, and cost control. It does, however, require a different strategy than using one cloud. Migrating a workload to one cloud is a major project – optimizing workloads in multiple clouds is more complex. It’s smart to partner with experts who can make sure your multi-cloud strategy is optimized, functions properly, and delivers the most value to your business.
The range of cloud services continues to expand and offers businesses the chance to operate more efficiently, enhance the quality of their products and services, and even improve the way they innovate. Build an IT strategy that allows you to choose the best of what’s available.