In my previous bIog post, I discussed a survey conducted by RightScale that found that 85% of the organisations had a multi-cloud strategy and that 79% of the workload in these organisations was being run on the cloud, with a 50/50 split between public and private cloud. The last time around, we discussed Azure virtual machines, so this time I decided to go for a general discussion on the merits of having a multi-cloud strategy and what you can expect if you are thinking along these lines.

What Is A Multi-Cloud Strategy?

According to TechTarget, if you are using two or more cloud computing services, such as Azure and AWS, you have a multi-cloud strategy. While the term is mostly used for IaaS environments, it can be used for SaaS and PaaS as well.

Why Does It Work? Why Don’t People Just Stick To One Provider?

Whether you look at MS Azure, AWS, and even Google, every IaaS provider is offering everything, and would encourage you to move your data to their servers. They offer virtual machines, increased data security, pay as you go models, training and support, and a ton of other value-added services to sweeten the deal for you. They do that to increase their market share and to entice you into entering a monogamous relationship with them. However, humans are polygamous by nature. We do not want to place all our eggs in one basket, especially if said basket is off-site and is shared by others.

That is why very few organisations choose to stick to one service provider. Most prefer a multi-cloud strategy because:

  • They do not want to become completely dependent on one service provider
  • They want to have a backup plan in case one service provider is compromised
  • They want their data to reside in a certain region of the world
  • They want to leverage different service providers for different tasks.

In most cases, it is not just one of the reasons we have mentioned, it is all of the above that tips the balance in favour of a multi-cloud strategy.

Here is what to expect when using a multi-cloud strategy:

Your IT Department May Lose Control If You Do Not Establish Best Practices & Controls

With a multi-cloud strategy, a number of your managers will have access to a number of applications. These users will have their own priorities and deadlines, and maintain the integrity of your system may not be at the top of their priority list. In such cases, your IT environment will not only be cluttered, it will be left vulnerable. You will need your IT department to take control, have a number of systems in place to counter such activities, and hold training sessions to make sure every user knows exactly how to use the applications relevant to their roles.

You Will Need An Integration Strategy

You don’t want different departments working in complete isolation from each other. That is why you need to do a lot of integration and make sure the public cloud adds value to your operations. You will need an integration platform, may be a custom-built solution to make sure your processes and operations are streamlined.

Data Clutter & Compromised Efficiency

With a multi-cloud strategy, your data will be spread across multiple servers owned by different service providers. This means you will have a lot of data clutter and decreased redundancy. To counter that, you will need to dedicate one place for the data to reside after processing. You can improve efficiency by moving all data processing functions close to the physical proximity of the data, and moving the processed data to an on-premises or a dedicated server.

Your IT & Non-IT Staff Will Need A Lot Of Training

For your IT team to implement a multi-cloud strategy, they will need to be well versed in the ways of different vendors. An AWS expert will not necessarily know their way around the Azure Platform. The same goes for someone whose primary expertise lies in working with salesforce or Google Cloud. While vendor lock-in is something that does not go in your favour, the vendors want you to be completely reliant on them. Therefore, they make sure that a skill set relevant to their platform does not translate onto their competitors. That is why you will need to train your IT staff as well as your non-IT staff in using these technologies.

Furthermore, your competitors will try to steal away the talent from your organisation, and sometimes the talent you have at hand will dictate the decisions you make about vendors you choose. If you do not want to be stuck in a situation like that, investing in Microsoft Azure Training, as well as training in other domains, will be a great idea.