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Multi cloud strategy

What is multi cloud?

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Today “the cloud” and cloud-related buzzwords are tossed around regularly in technology industries. If your company hasn’t migrated to the cloud, chances are there are plans to do so in the near future. In fact, about 85% of companies have already moved to the cloud. 

Multi cloud (also multi-cloud and multicloud) is a cloud-related buzzword currently getting a lot of attention. Multi cloud, as the name implies, describes a cloud environment where two or more cloud platforms—including your on-premise private cloud resources—are used. All applications, resources, and services are distributed across multiple cloud environments in a heterogeneous architecture. 

What is the difference between multi cloud and hybrid cloud?

The terms multi cloud and hybrid cloud are both used to describe environments that use multiple cloud configurations. But these terms are different and should not be used interchangeably. 

Hybrid cloud refers to configurations that allow the communication and transmission of data, applications, and services between two or more public and private clouds. A hybrid cloud uses a mix of private cloud resources (on or off premises) and public cloud resources. This allows you to perform a single task using separate cloud resources.

Multi cloud refers to the use of resources from two or more clouds (usually public cloud services from multiple providers), meaning you don’t have to rely on the services offered from a single provider. Instead of leveraging separate cloud resources to perform a single task, multi cloud gives you access to several different service models so that you can match the right service with the right task.

Hybrid and multi clouds complement each other. Multi clouds can be hybridized by incorporating a mixture of private cloud resources with the multiple public clouds. However,  hybrid clouds don’t incorporate more than one public cloud.

Key technologies of multi cloud strategy

Multi cloud containers

Containers are used to move applications within a multi cloud infrastructure. The container includes applications, libraries, environment variables, and configuration files needed to run the application no matter what operating environment the container runs in. 

Multi cloud storage

You can store data on-premises, in the cloud, or a combination of both depending on what works best for your needs. Storing your data in the cloud gives you flexibility and scalability. Multi cloud storage lets you store specific types of data in different locations to comply with privacy laws and regulations that differ among states, countries, and regions.

Multi cloud automation

Keep your applications running and working together across multiple clouds and geographic locations. Automation reduces human error and improves operational efficiency and consistency, freeing up your teams so they can address other tasks. 

Multi cloud monitoring

Silos and other complexities reduce visibility in a multi cloud environment making it difficult to manage your infrastructure. Lucid’s mapping tools help you visualize your cloud architecture, identify problem areas, and pinpoint areas for automation. Start monitoring your cloud implementation early to avoid blindly managing resources. 

Benefits of multi cloud

Adopting a multi cloud strategy can give your organization a competitive advantage. Check out some of the benefits listed below.

Low risk: A multi cloud infrastructure keeps your company from relying solely on a single cloud services vendor. If one of your providers has downtime, only the services from that vendor are affected. It’s unlikely that all providers will experience simultaneous downtime. A multi cloud strategy stabilizes your infrastructure by creating redundancies that reduce the risk of a single failure point.

Advanced security: Having cloud services distributed across multiple providers reduces the risk of malicious attacks like a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) and keeps the network optimized so your customers can access what they need.

Access to technology: If you don’t have the budget to purchase and install on-premises management or analytic solutions, you can use a cloud service to avoid expensive up-front costs. New, innovative technologies can be accessed and implemented quickly. Plus, you can choose from several different vendors, giving you access to a larger catalog of solutions.

Customization: A multi cloud strategy lets you combine the best services from each cloud and customize offerings that align more closely with your business goals. Ultimately, this translates into improved efficiency and ROI as you meet real-time business needs.

Avoid vendor lock-in: When your applications rely heavily on a single cloud vendor, changing to a different provider is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming. A multi cloud strategy is flexible and lets you plan for portability between multiple clouds.

Reduce shadow IT: Shadow IT refers to the practice of a department or business unit adopting and implementing technology solutions without consulting the company’s IT department. 

Typically, this happens when organizations are slow to adopt new technologies and employees decide to install and configure new applications on their own. Multi cloud gives your organization access to new technology available more quickly so you can adopt the services that drive productivity and collaboration.   

Better application performance: Cloud providers have multiple data centers around the world creating a network of high-availability zones where customers can access and process data at high speeds no matter where they are located.

Scalability: Distribute resources across multiple clouds to make it easier to scale your services up or down depending on current demand.

Challenges of multi cloud

Managing multiple services from multiple providers in a single environment is tricky. Here are some challenges you might face when implementing a multi cloud strategy.

Finding the right cloud service for your needs: Each cloud service is different and they don’t support specific applications and processes in the same way. It takes a  lot of research to evaluate and determine which services in each cloud are best for specific tasks.

Different workflow and management tools:  Every cloud service has its own set of tools that add complexity to an already complex environment. Fortunately, there are multi cloud management tools that can help you centralize your multi cloud infrastructure.

Skill gaps: As cloud technology evolves and expands, finding people with the skills needed to work in the multi cloud environment is difficult.

Data silos: Multi clouds create unintentional data silos because data is stored across different data centers on different platforms in different locations. When you try to apply your own business across all locations, inconsistencies arise and cause different or unexpected outputs. 

Using containers helps you maintain consistency. And incorporating a hybrid environment with your multi cloud environment can give you more control by storing data in a private cloud.

Keeping up with changes: It can take significant time and effort to stay on top of new services and upgrades that roll out on a regular basis.

Cloud computing is here to stay and the market will just keep growing. In fact, it is estimated that the global cloud market will grow from $371.4 billion in 2020 to $832.1 billion in 2025. To keep up with the changes, make sure you choose the right cloud service providers, the right services from each cloud, and the right management tool to meet your business and customer needs.

illustration of people working together

Whether your organization takes a multi cloud or hybrid cloud approach, it’s essential to follow the 5 pillars of cloud architecture. Here’s how.

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