The global business community quickly reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking decisive action to protect the safety and well-being of their employees by instituting remote work policies that allowed companies to continue operations. Thankfully, communications and collaboration tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack, among others, kept employees engaged and on track. The demand for cloud-based platforms and applications grew as a result. In fact, according to Synergy Research, the growth of the remote workforce contributed to the substantial increase of public cloud revenues, with companies investing nearly $1.5 billion in cloud services in Q3 2020 alone.
However, after a series of public cloud outages this past year, including Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google, cloud customers began to realize that a single-cloud strategy can be risky and expensive. Retailers found this out at the worst possible time when AWS went offline the day before Thanksgiving, the unofficial kick-off to the busy holiday shopping season. The outage could not have come at a worse time for retailers; slowed site performance leads to a poor customer experience and a much higher chance that shoppers will leave a retailer’s website without making a purchase.
This eWEEK Data Points article, using industry information from Derek Swanson, CTO at Silk, makes the case for adopting a multicloud strategy that allows companies to spread out where their data lives so that an outage on one infrastructure doesn’t completely cripple the business.
Data Point No. 1: Take advantage of each cloud’s features and capabilities.
Each of the three major vendors offers its clients unique benefits for being on their cloud. AWS, for example, offers a wide variety of services including analytics, developer and management tools, IoT, and security. Azure easily integrates with other Microsoft tools such as Office 365. And GCP has expertise in open source technologies and containers. If you already have a cloud vendor of choice, but you have applications that would benefit from the capabilities of another vendor, you shouldn’t feel like you are required to stick with the vendor you already have. With a multicloud strategy, you can use applications on whichever infrastructure makes the most sense for each individual application’s needs.
Data Point No. 2: More leverage equals more competitive pricing.
As mentioned in the previous point, just because you chose one vendor for certain functionalities doesn’t mean that you have to grin and bear whatever their pricing model is. A multicloud strategy means you’re able to shop around for a vendor with your desired feature/functionalities at the best available rate. And should your vendor of choice raise their prices, your multicloud strategy means you can easily tell your vendor what you think – by taking your applications elsewhere.
Data Point No. 3: Increased agility and flexibility.
The multicloud approach provides the flexibility to quickly move data to meet evolving business needs. Let’s say you need to cloud burst data to get a sudden acceleration in performance. Or—heaven forbid!–a security concern with one of your vendors has you scrambling to move mission-critical apps somewhere else. Whatever the case may be, having a multicloud strategy gives you agility and flexibility.
Data Point No. 4: Avoid vendor lock-in.
The main reason you should adopt a multicloud strategy is so that you can avoid being locked into one particular vendor. When you move applications to the cloud, it is recommended that you refactor your applications for the vendor of your choice. This ensures that your apps can work on the infrastructure and that no issues arise. However, the process of refactoring your applications can cost you a lot of time and money, and it can be risky. And once you’ve refactored into one vendor’s cloud, you’re stuck there unless you go through the lengthy, costly and risky refactoring process again for another vendor. While refactoring your apps is not a requirement, it does ensure that your organization can take advantage of all the feature/functionalities and scalability benefits that brought you to the cloud in the first place.
One way to think about the multicloud strategy is as a back-up plan that provides the agility and flexibility to quickly migrate workloads from one region or cloud to another or from the cloud to on-prem and back again. This flexibility is critical to navigating the business through a vendor outage, and more importantly, gives you more control over your data and applications.
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