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What is Multi-Cloud?

Multi-Cloud is the New Standard
"81% of companies using the cloud are working with multiple providers." by Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference 2020

For two decades now, Cloud Computing has been shaking up global markets. Its adoption has become vital to ensure the sustainability and appeal of our digital offerings. This upheaval is prompting us to make the right choices: tools, deployment models, hosting models. And this is where the question of the Multi-cloud arises, which is still too often confused with the so-called hybrid cloud hosting model.

In this article, we will define what multi-cloud is and what multi-cloud is not before laying out its advantages, the challenges that this process involves and how to respond in 2022. You will have the keys to make the right decisions.

What is Multi-Cloud?


Multi-cloud is a cloud data storage strategy that integrates two or several public cloud providers to support an organization's IT services and infrastructure. But I guess you've seen this elsewhere and want a more straightforward and comprehensive meaning of multi-cloud. You came to the right place.

Before the advent of the cloud, businesses or companies would purchase their own data centers, routers, etc., and set them up with transmission lines, cables, etc. This meant that companies would have their own data center, often known as an on-premise infrastructure, which requires management by a corporate employee.

This physical infrastructure requires a lot of resources and time to maintain. As a result, the cloud was created, meaning someone else paid for all the servers, routers, and other physical infrastructure and put it up, allowing users (companies) to access and utilize it to run their apps. This saved users (companies) the stress of managing such infrastructure of data centers themselves.

The group that paid for these servers, routers, and other physical infrastructure were cloud providers. Now, we have a variety of cloud service providers, but the most well-known ones you probably know are: Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, IBM.

Although most companies (especially startups) employ one of the services of these unique cloud providers to save them the stress of having to manage such Infrastructure themselves, many other companies (scale-up/ established) want to be in charge and have total control over their infrastructure. They are skeptical about the management of most of these cloud providers.

Therefore these companies prefer to maintain control over their infrastructure and rely on the aid of cloud providers for other services to ensure that their users who depend on their database can enjoy a smooth process at any time when accessing their site.

For instance, you're the managing director or chief executive officer of Amazing Bank. You would want absolute data protection of your customers' details and ensure that your vast and massive volume of data is well managed. You can have an on-premise infrastructure to organize and store sensitive data and transfer your other data with lower security risk to a cloud provider.

However, sometimes, you would find it very common to use more than one cloud provider. Now, it is such an act that is known as Multi-cloud. For more emphasis, multi-cloud is simply when as a company, you utilize two or more public clouds for your workload instead of a single public cloud.

For instance, Amazing Bank, the biggest bank in the country, decides to transfer its less sensitive data to Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. Therefore, instead of just tagging along with the convention of employing the services of one cloud provider, they use the services of two cloud providers. But why employ the services of two cloud providers?

Before I answer your question about why Amazing Bank has done this, let's talk about the differences between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud just to ensure that you fully grasp the difference between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud.

How does Multi-Cloud work ?

For various reasons, the multi-cloud system has many IT professionals baffled. Well, regardless of the reasons – whether it's a lack of understanding on how to use it or a failure to appreciate its benefits – Multi-Cloud is here to stay.

Compared to hybrid clouds, a multi-cloud solution offers a complete combination of public and private clouds, which don't always need to be integrated. Additionally, companies today are not restricted to a single source. This means that enterprises can opt to adopt any cloud provider with the freedom of picking more than one to match their needs.

Multi-cloud works by selecting the best service and provider required for a given enterprise, which allows those enterprises to use their IT budgets more efficiently and run their businesses.

What is Multi-Cloud today?

In 2021, the market for multi-cloud management was estimated to be worth USD 6.37 billion. From 2022 to 2030, it is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 27.5 percent. Over the projection period, the industry is predicted to develop due to the increased focus on automation, efficiency, and better managerial governance procedures.

Enterprises are adamantly choosing multi-cloud management solutions to guarantee effective and more dependable services at reduced prices across numerous platforms while evading a vendor lock-in issue. The increased adaptability of cloud computing technologies and the acceptance of containerization and microservices for cloud-native applications both bodes well for the market's expansion.

Multi-cloud management solutions have become increasingly popular due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Businesses that have already moved their workloads to the cloud are gaining an advantage over their rivals amid the curfews and regulations imposed by various legislatures in the wake of the outbreak.

Employees can work remotely without sacrificing productivity with the benefits of cloud management. Organizations have worked with firms like Microsoft, AWS, and Zscaler to improve agility while serving clients and providing sufficient data security in the wake of the discrepancies brought on by the pandemic, in addition to deploying specialized solutions to assist their remote workers.

Unfortunately, some of the problems anticipated to impede the industry's growth include a forecasted lack of necessary skills and the difficulties involved with revamping the network for the cloud. The main market limitations are now being identified as the multi-cloud setups' complex deployment structures and the challenges in setting up and administering multi-cloud environments.

This and many more security challenges have discouraged many small enterprises from adopting a multi-cloud strategy. We will get to the heart of the matter a little later.

What is not Multi-Cloud?

What is the difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud?

Multi-cloud is not a hosting model, hybrid cloud is! The hybrid cloud is a combination of the private and public clouds that allows its adherents to solve their problems without compromise. Through this alliance, you create a resilient and ultra-flexible IT ecosystem. Implementing a multi-cloud strategy very often follows this model, i.e. using multiple public cloud providers within an enterprise.

The difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud

In a multi-cloud architecture, two or more clouds exist. Multi-cloud architectures, which include private and public clouds from several suppliers, are used by some enterprises to supply services. A solution with a hybrid cloud architecture combines private and public cloud infrastructure and enables orchestration between the two. On-site data centers that are networked might be part of hybrid cloud architecture.

For instance, Amazing Bank decides to transfer its less sensitive data to ONLY the Google cloud platform while maintaining its on-premise Infrastructure for sensitive data. It would be said to be running a hybrid-cloud strategy.

What is the difference between Single Cloud and Multi-Cloud?

The number of cloud service providers a company partners with determines whether it uses a single cloud or multiple clouds. One cloud storage provider handles all an organization's cloud storage requirements and capabilities when employing a single-cloud strategy. What does this mean?

If Amazing Bank relies ONLY on its on-premise Infrastructure commonly called a private cloud, it runs a single-cloud strategy. If Amazing Bank relies ONLY on the services of Google Cloud Platform, it runs a single-cloud strategy. If Amazing Bank relies ONLY on the services of Microsoft Azure, it runs a single-cloud strategy.

Why work with multiple public cloud providers?

While this strategy brings many benefits to those who pursue it successfully, it also brings its own set of challenges. To successfully implement a multi-cloud strategy, it is necessary to take note of these challenges. So let's start with these famous challenges which you will meet and overcome “haut la main”.

Challenges of Multi-Cloud

1) Set-up Error

When businesses move workloads to the cloud, misconfigured privacy and security settings are a common security risk. Even the most experienced network administrator occasionally makes errors, and the pre-migration training provided by vendors may not be sufficient for the challenging duties needed in setting up some cloud services.

This challenge multiplies when you choose a multi-cloud strategy where your IT staff is in charge of maintaining several platforms' settings and ensuring they can securely connect.

2) Visibility

Concerning cloud security, visibility is a significant problem made worse by multi-cloud techniques. If you utilize a third-party cloud service, you won't automatically have access to every tier of the cloud computing infrastructure, which means you won't be aware of all security holes or risks.

Although many cloud service providers have a built-in monitoring system for their services, it would not give you complete visibility or granular recording. Additionally, simultaneously administering multiple built-in monitoring tools becomes impossible in a multi-cloud scenario.

3) Data Management

Data management is a massive difficulty in any workplace, judging by the data that most firms generate today. This problem becomes significantly more difficult when you employ a multi-cloud strategy. It takes effective data management techniques to keep your multi-cloud data safe while making it available to the individuals, processes, and apps who need it.

4) Stabilization of Application

An essential element in managing cloud security is to keep your apps resilient to potential vulnerabilities and guarded against assaults. But when your applications rely on or have components distributed across various clouds, this becomes more difficult.

5) A Shared Security Framework

The shared security framework in cloud computing implies that while your provider is in charge of the remaining cloud security components, you are in charge of some of them. You can't assume that every platform in a multi-cloud system offers the same level of protection because the exact location of this can differ from provider to provider, and you also can't conclude that every service in your multi-cloud setup offers the same amount of security.

How to Curb the Challenges Involved in Using the Multi-Cloud Strategy

1) Set-up Error Challenge

Automation is a vital tool for reducing and eliminating human error. Automated error testing and surveillance technologies can find problems before they are used in production, or they can completely replace people from the setup process.

2) Visibility Challenge

You'll require a centralized cloud management system appropriate for all your platforms if you want to understand your multi-cloud infrastructure fully. The multi-cloud disperses, so the watchword is unification!

3) The Data Management Challenge

You can track the progress of where your data is across all of your cloud providers, as well as who has access to it and how it is being modified, with the use of multi-cloud data monitoring and management tools. Nevertheless, you need to start with thorough written regulations that include precise instructions for who might have access to sensitive data and precise penalties for those who don't comply. The multi-cloud data management technologies and controls implementation process will be simpler and more productive with the presence of this policy framework.

4) The Stabilization of Application Challenge

This procedure can be made simpler by managing and controlling the security of all your APIs using centralized cloud security or a multi-cloud management solution.

5) The Shared Security Framework Challenge

You can use a multi-cloud management solution to keep track of and implement the necessary controls for each service's security needs. A different approach is to figure out which service places the greatest responsibility on you to ensure your cloud security, and then use multi-cloud management to implement those security protocols everywhere.

6) The Recipe: well-chosen tools and human resources management

Although the above solutions are very key to their specific challenges, overall, any company wishing to use a multi-cloud architecture must now find a cloud-independent multi-cloud management solution. With these technologies, you can configure, administer, and troubleshoot your multi-cloud system from a single location and across all major cloud providers. But not all such tools are made similarly, and not all have features specifically relevant to safety.

Additionally, automation will be a key component of your multi-cloud security plan. The more human error-prone areas you can get rid of, particularly in a very complicated multi-cloud scenario, the better. When organizing your multi-cloud migration, you should take into account solutions for automatic deployment, configuration management, tracking, and security.

Moreover, if the choice of tools is central, so is the support of your human resources. Cloud Computing and therefore multi-cloud, imposes a paradigm shift that must be vitalized by the involvement of all stakeholders, transparent internal communication, and the development of clear documentation. A word of order unification, the tools will help you greatly!

Benefits of Multi-Cloud

Now you know how to curb these challenges imposed by using the Multi-cloud strategy, but what are the significant benefits of using a Multi-cloud? The challenges presented below are commensurate with the benefits that a multi-cloud strategy can offer to your company.

1) Prevents Cloud Vendor lock-in

A multi-cloud strategy can assist your business in avoiding vendor lock-in, utilizing new and improved technologies from different service providers, and selecting the most economical and performance-optimized computation or storage services for each job.

When it becomes too difficult for a company to move its operations from one cloud service provider to another or even to transfer its data back on-premises, this is known as vendor lock-in. Applications that rely heavily on one vendor's special characteristics are commonly developed by organizations that operate on a single cloud service provider. The cost, complexity, and time involved in switching providers increase as these companies increase their commitment in that one cloud.

With the multi-cloud approach, organizations consciously design for flexibility and migration between several cloud providers. Organizations are also well-positioned to benefit from new technologies from all providers thanks to the ability to transfer applications between various public cloud vendors. They can also select the best-performing or most affordable services for particular application workloads.

2) Increases efficiency of workloads in the cloud

Every provider of public cloud services has a unique combination of physical infrastructure parts and application services with a range of functionalities, usage traits, terms and conditions, and costing. Additionally, they frequently introduce new features to improve their services' effectiveness, affordability, and client appeal.

There's not a single cloud vendor that can make the claim that they offer cost-optimized services that address every conceivable business demand or use case. Employing a multi-cloud strategy, businesses may choose the best cloud vendor for each specific application or workload, improving application performance and reducing costs.

3) Security protection

Since cloud service providers are in charge of the security of their architectures, they can ensure that your company has all the tools required to protect your data. A thorough understanding of how each entity in your cloud environment interacts with the cloud applications at your disposal is essential. As your equipment and software evolve over time, it is imperative that the security of your network is regularly evaluated.

4) Scalability and flexibility

Multi-cloud gives the ideal location to manage and analyze information with adequate automation and real-time syncs, with 90% of the globe's data having been created in the last two years alone. Multi-cloud is the ideal answer for both scalability and storage since it enables organizations to adjust their storage up or down in response to changing demand. For enterprises to be able to invest in any level of storage, security, and protection based on the requirements of each data segment, several cloud providers should ideally collaborate smoothly.

5) Bargaining based on market competition

A competitive market that aims to give the best pricing for various resource capacities while remaining appealing to the rest of cloud users gets formed as the number of multi-cloud vendors increases. As a result, businesses are now free to compare various suppliers and choose the best deals depending on their particular IT requirements.

Additionally, since you are not constrained by the conditions of any one cloud provider, you can choose the finest vendor based on its capabilities, including its ability to accept different payment methods, negotiate flexible contracts, adaptable capacity requirements, and other crucial factors.

6) Freedom of choice

Based on your company's needs for performance and cost, you can assign various workload types to the best-choice public cloud environment. Some cloud vendors are more affordable for high request volumes with less need for data storage, whereas others are preferred for lower request volumes and greater data transfers. You can also employ multi-cloud to benefit from vendor-specific features, which are exclusive to a cloud service provider and may result in cost savings or increased efficiency for a particular application task or use instance.

Where to start?

Choosing your cloud providers

Large sections of an organization's application stack are being offloaded via cloud provider services. How then would your company pick a "data-as-a-service" provider if it wished to handle data the same way? Let's examine the factors your company has to take into account before selecting a cloud service provider to manage their multi-cloud strategy:

How to choose cloud providers ?

1) Geographical Location

The service would have to be close to a corporation's cloud vendors. Being as close as possible assures acceptable levels of delay because light only permits data to move at a certain speed. If a company employs the multi-cloud strategy in the region of Texas, United States of America, they will collaborate with companies offering cloud data services based there as well.

However, not every region's data center providers are created equal. Selecting the ideal region and cloud partner can greatly reduce latency, but selecting the incorrect one can reduce productivity. Choosing a vendor with low latency to all tailored cloud vendors ensures consistent efficiency and enhances bandwidth (IOPS) to the cloud service.

2) Consumption

Find a service that enables concurrent access to your data by all of your cloud vendors. An organization's options for service consumption are restricted to the public cloud where the data is obtainable without simultaneous access. Organizations can compete with services from many providers by allowing concurrent access to the same data source through numerous cloud providers.

Also required would be a dynamic endpoint consumption strategy from the service. Depending on your organization's needs, you might want to use the same IP storage capacity across all of your cloud vendors or you might want a different IP space for every cloud provider.

Organizations can comply with any IP protocol rules and standards by having the freedom to choose which IP address they consume the data from. Organizations can keep flexibility in their data consumption strategies while still being able to consume data from a single storage platform.

The ability to use data as a service from several cloud providers may alter how we view and use cloud services. To benefit from cloud advances and cost reductions, businesses will be able to switch between clouds or utilize many clouds at once without bothering about data portability.

Organizations can use one supplier to absorb the data, another to process it, and a third one to visualize it if necessary. When it comes to the freedom and creativity possibilities technology offers, there is no limit. Progress is always the key. Organizations are also given the chance to focus more on the utilization of the data and spend less time considering how to manage the data.

3) Connectivity

The service must be able to connect to the cloud vendors your company uses securely. The best provider would offer a low-latency connection with sufficient bandwidth to use the storage service.

Conclusion : Multi-cloud strategy and Kubernetes

It's no surprise that multi-cloud is becoming the new norm! This strategy offers unparalleled flexibility and allows you to pick and choose the services that are best suited to your different use cases. It is often confused with the Hybrid hosting model because this is in most cases followed by a multi-cloud strategy.

For managing your Kubernetes projects on this multi-cloud model, it will be crucial to develop your ability to manage workloads as your ecosystem grows. Centralizing your efforts and applying multi-tenant frameworks will allow you to simplify project integration, reduce technical effort requirements, and lower user expenses.

See you at the end of the month for a booklet entirely dedicated to multitenancy.

Last update: 2022-11-15