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Dispelling the myths of multi-cloud

Image: Adobe Stock / jullasart

Multi-cloud refers to the practice of using multiple cloud service providers to meet the needs of global enterprise organisations.

Rather than relying on a single cloud operation, this advanced computing strategy allows businesses to distribute their workloads across multiple clouds, helping them to avoid vendor lock-in and access the best services on the market for each specific use case.

Understanding and managing multi-cloud can, however, be challenging. In a recent speech at the IT Infrastructure, Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference, Gartner Senior Director Analyst Hassan Ennaciri told the audience that 80% of organisations already use multi-cloud, but ended up that way accidentally, so will need to manage the ‘mess’ they have created.

Rising popularity such as this can often be accompanied by confusion and misinformation. Despite multi-cloud’s ongoing prevalence, several myths surrounding its application have emerged, which usually owe to a lack of understanding, limited experience, and a resistance to change.

Now that we’re officially into the second decade of cloud computing, it’s time to push these multi-cloud myths aside and examine the facts versus fiction.

Myth #1: Multi-cloud is expensive

This is possibly the most persistent myth surrounding multi-cloud computing. In reality, multi-cloud computing can often be more cost-effective than a single cloud approach. The reason for this is quite straightforward: by leveraging multiple cloud services, companies can take advantage of each provider’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, one cloud provider may offer superior compute power while another may offer better storage capabilities. Through choosing the most suitable provider for each workload, companies can optimise their cloud spending and reduce costs.

Relying on just one cloud provider can also lead to data isolation, higher risk concentration, and a lack of efficiency. Multi-cloud, by contrast, guarantees a more comprehensive overview of assets, enabling improved management, resilient security measures and a greater cost transparency.

It’s fair to take the view that multiple cloud providers can place significant pressures on internal resources to manage KPIs and commercial agreements in order to keep control of costs. That’s where leading companies are looking to gain an advantage by opting for end-to-end managed connectivity services to help take all of the resource pressures away and centralise their approach – managing one SLA and gaining certainty around commercial performance.

Myth #2: Multi-cloud does not ensure data security

Another common multi-cloud misconception is that it is inherently less secure than a single-cloud approach. This myth is often based on the idea that spreading data across multiple cloud providers increases the risk of a security breach.

Using multiple cloud providers can work to reduce the overall impact of a security incident or outage as there is no single point of failure for a business’s entire network. If a business’ network exists across multiple cloud providers then it is less likely that all environments will fail simultaneously and leave it unable to operate in the event of an attack.

A multi-cloud strategy allows companies to fully diversify their infrastructure and improve environment adaptability. The majority of respondents (78%) from IBM Institute’s State of Multi-cloud report confirmed that multi-cloud architectures had a positive impact on their organisation’s overall security posture, demonstrating its effectiveness in meeting security needs.

In addition, with the right partner to facilitate end-to-end cloud connectivity services across the enterprise landscape, organisations benefit from advanced security features such as encryption, access controls, and identity management. Through this approach, organisations can also look to embrace private cloud connectivity and ensure that corporate workloads never transit over the Internet. Instead, they pass through a private backbone connecting to various cloud service providers (CSP), resulting in enforced compliance and extended security perimeters.  

In practice, this means advanced filtering of data traffic to reduce cybersecurity risks and a network-wide user experience and security posture. Financial institutions, for example, face an ever-changing threat landscape and are frequently turning to a multi-cloud approach for added visibility and security. Operating through multiple cloud environments can help diversify their IT estate to reduce concentration risk and with the right partner, a single point of management can assist with security and compliance requirements.

Myth #3: Multi-cloud lacks visibility

Multi-cloud lacking visibility can generally be considered a false narrative. Key findings from Oracle’s recent study reveal that 98% of surveyed enterprises have benefitted from using multiple cloud providers to gain control over their data. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer comprehensive inspection and logging tools that allow organisations to track their entire infrastructure, performance metrics, applications, and services. These facilities supply real-time insights into the availability, reliability, and health of each cloud resource.

It’s also important to stress that visibility is a requirement amongst most compliance and security systems. Cloud-native solutions such as Kubernetes and Istio, for example, are designed with built-in surveillance tools, leaving businesses with no choice but to supervise cloud applications and gain a clear understanding of their activity.

One key consideration needs to be given to enterprise connectivity and bandwidth pressures across the network, often impacted by fluctuating demands across the organisation. By working with the right managed cloud connectivity provider, organisations can gain a holistic view of their cloud performance and benefit from even greater visibility of network performance in order to respond quickly and with agility to business demand.

Myth #4: Multi-cloud is too complex and difficult to manage

Managing multiple cloud environments at the same time is not an impossible task. Often companies will associate this with the burden of managing multiple service level agreements and services.

With an end-to-end management service, businesses can use standardisation processes across each cloud platform to create synergy and simplify multi-cloud administration. Employing a standard set of tools helps to ensure that every cloud system being used adheres to general protocols and regulations. This makes it easier to sidestep complexities and automate certain tasks including provisioning resources and assessing performance.

Findings from Foundry’s Cloud Computing Research show that 69% of organisations have increased their use of multi-cloud over the past year, which suggests that despite the perceived complexity, many businesses are successfully managing multi-cloud.

Final thoughts  

By thinking outside of organisational boundaries, leading enterprises are increasingly seeing the benefits of working with managed cloud connectivity providers to help them deliver on the promise of the cloud. This approach is growing in maturity and is seen as the most efficient route to drive cost optimisation, improved security, and deliver complete visibility.

Businesses that are still sceptical about multi-cloud computing should ignore the common myths and start exploring the possibilities of an effective multi-cloud strategy.

Pierre Cérou
Pierre Cérou
Deputy CTO at InterCloud

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