The model of using the services of multiple cloud providers to host the features and functions of your business has an extensive list of benefits. For many mid-sized companies and enterprise-level organizations, multi-cloud architecture is a smart investment strategy as it can help increase efficiency, allow fast scalability and retain the flexibility to innovate rapidly. However it is important for businesses to consider the advantages and disadvantages of a multi-cloud approach so that they could make more informed decisions while creating their strategies.
The key benefit the multi-cloud strategy provides is the possibility to quickly evolve and innovate at speed. Since you are not restricted by the limitations of an individual cloud provider, you can focus on innovation and choose the way your company develops. Although all cloud providers strive to offer a full set of tools you need, a multi-cloud strategy opens up the possibility to pick the best sets of services from each provider and incorporate them into your app.
All vendors have multiple data centers within each geographic region where they host your infrastructure. While outages are rarely in place, they do occur and, when they do, they can cause significant disruptions. Through multi-cloud adoption, you ensure that you have an independent copy of your application on another cloud server which can be deployed if one of the providers leaves the business. By not putting all of your eggs in one basket you minimize the risk of your business being ruined.
Avoid Vendor Lock-In
Having just one provider for anything is very risky. When choosing a vendor you should make sure the service will meet all your current and future needs and the type of cloud service you require (private cloud, public cloud or hybrid). In case your project expands, you may outgrow the platform and it will no longer be the optimal choice. When you are building your application to operate on one cloud platform, you are limited by that platform and later on, it will be difficult to switch to another platform.
Cloud providers tend to introduce new services and as a result, increase their prices. While utilizing one single platform, you won’t be able to leverage the opportunities other providers might offer or switch to a platform with better pricing options. By choosing multiple cloud platforms you can reduce your dependence on a single provider and benefit from the best features of each vendor and mix and match their services to address the needs of your business.
Using multiple vendors can help you achieve faster speed and improve your apps’ user experience. What is optimal for one geographical location is not suitable for another. To reduce the latency that appears when data travels significant distances and enhance the user experience, you can choose cloud zones that are close to your users. Most cloud providers have data centers in different regions all over the world, but some vendors can be closer to your users than the ones you work with.
Cloud specialists are in high demand. Cloud architects and engineers with experience of a single cloud provider are difficult to find. However, hiring experts who have the expertise of multiple clouds is next to impossible. You will have to find qualified specialists who can develop apps on multiple cloud platforms, and the search process will take time.
Cost Estimation and Reporting
While using multiple vendors can save you money, costs estimation and consolidation gets more complicated. Since every cloud provider has different costs for each service, you’ll need a clear grasp of the pricing structure of every cloud. This also means that you will need cross-account reporting dashboards and optimization tools to be able to effectively manage all financial aspects. Besides that, if you are shifting data between clouds it might lead to additional expenses.
If you work with just one provider managing data security, it doesn’t cause any trouble. Storing your data on multiple clouds introduces complexity meaning it will be harder to protect your data and prevent leakage.
A multi-cloud environment can be far more difficult to secure than a single cloud. You will have to take into account many aspects, including:
- encryption keys;
- identity and access controls;
- resource policies;
- secrets management;
- SSL/TLS encryption.
On the other hand, multi-cloud has some security perks such as more effective prevention of DDoS attacks. If you have your data stored on multiple platforms, a sustained DDoS attack on one platform won’t cause severe damage to your business. Other cloud vendors can take the load until the attacked provider restores your service.
Multi-cloud makes it harder to monitor environments. When you have your environment stored on several clouds, basic administrative operations like backing up data, accessing resources, and operating systems become more complicated.
Maintaining a multi-cloud environment can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the luxury of seasoned IT specialists who have knowledge across different cloud platforms. Different platforms have different interfaces, and managing them can cause headaches.
Businesses can take advantage of various cloud platforms. Multi-cloud allows optimizing efficiency, lowering costs, and gaining a competitive edge. However, you may discover that developing and managing multi-cloud apps may affect your development, security, and management teams as they will have to adapt to various environments.
If your company has a sustainable strategy and the tools to provide visibility into multi-cloud environments, automate management, and assess cost-saving opportunities you may want to adopt a multi-cloud strategy; but first weigh carefully the pros and cons of multi-cloud.
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