After several major cloud providers weathered significant outages this year, this has led to more businesses rethinking their cloud strategies. Indeed, facing an outage underscores the importance of not having all your eggs in one basket; it is better to spread not only different cloud workloads but also the risk around. Add to this the fact that no single cloud model will fit the diverse requirements and workloads across different business units within an organisation and you can start to see how having a multi-cloud strategy makes a lot of sense.
In fact, according to the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Report, 95% of respondents are using cloud with 85% of enterprises reporting that they have a multi-cloud strategy. The report went on to say that cloud users are already running applications within four clouds and experimenting with at least four more. At my company we have seen a lot of organisations implement strategies where they have a different cloud provider for on-premises to cloud disaster recovery, for example, as well as exploring other options to avoid lock-in with some of the hyperscale cloud providers.
As we step forward into the digital era, threats and cyber-attacks are growing exponentially, affecting organisations of all kinds. The warnings and predictions for 2018 indicate that these threats will only continue. Adopting a multi-cloud strategy enables organisations to distribute their workloads across multiple cloud environments, as stated above using different cloud providers for different applications, giving them the ability to proactively mitigate the risks associated with individual cloud environments.
However, once you have decided to adopt a multi-cloud strategy, one of the main challenges is choosing the right combination of cloud providers. This will very much depend on their capabilities and also their fit in terms of your business needs. Considering that challenges and threats are bound to evolve along with business initiatives, using unique cloud-specific services from different vendors enables you to adapt your cloud strategy to changing business requirements and threat landscapes.
The on-demand scalability of cloud empowers organisations as they grow, enabling them to meet demands for access to more and more data. The last thing they want to do is to slow down their digital journey and evolution because they are locked into a particular cloud provider.
Even though more businesses are opting for this approach, a lack of internal resources and expertise combined with security and cloud management skills remain major concerns regarding multi-cloud deployment. This is why, here at iland, we’ve set up different levels of technical support services based on client needs, including direct access to system administrators, network engineers, security experts, and solutions architects skilled in diverse cloud use cases from backup to disaster recovery, to dev/test and production.
Beyond mitigating the risk of data loss, another benefit of a multi-cloud approach is access to different cloud pricing models. For example, many of my customers have benefitted from our resource-based cloud pricing model which enables allocation of a pool of cloud resources (CPU, RAM and storage) to different VMs to exactly fit requirements and scale resources up and down as needed. This resource-based cloud consumption model gives businesses freedom to expand their usage whenever they need to and however they see fit – without paying for cloud resources they are not consuming.
Without an experienced in-house IT team with the relevant cloud skills, it may seem daunting to navigate and manage multi-cloud solutions. This is where the onboarding, support and expertise of your cloud services provider becomes key to ensure success. As cloud usage becomes more complex, spanning different use cases and workloads, a consultative approach is required from cloud service providers with a focus on helping IT teams navigate and optimise cloud security and compliance, pricing models, capacity utilisation and business continuity.
In 2018, as the trends of both rising cloud adoption and multi-cloud continues, we will see more applications being put into different clouds for more and more use cases that are mission-critical to businesses. As a result, transparency, service and support from cloud service providers will be paramount.