Advantages of a multi-cloud strategy

Multi-cloud, using more than one hosting provider simultaneously, keeps you nimble when it comes to usage pricing and helps avoid being too indebted to a single vendor

Multi-cloud is the new normal. Gartner research says 81 per cent of companies are engaged in a multi-cloud strategy with two or more clouds.

But why? Information Age asked 10 of the world’s top experts on multi-cloud hosting for their justification for aligning with more than just one cloud provider.

Advantages of a multi-cloud strategy

From increased resilience and security, through to legal requirements and avoiding vendor lock-ins, here is the logic behind their multi-cloud strategy.

Ten reasons why you want to go multi-cloud:

#1 – Enjoy best-in-breed services from each provider

Niamh O’Brien, senior manager solution architecture, Fivetran

“The number one benefit of a multi-cloud strategy is business agility. For those who previously haven’t put enough weight on the ability to react quickly to market changes, then ChatGPT and the wider AI movement are a timely reminder of how far-reaching a disruptive technology can be.

“Having a multi-cloud strategy brings much needed optionality; businesses can leverage the best-in-breed services from each vendor, reducing the need to compromise and ensuring they can leverage the latest advancements from each vendor as soon as they are released. Staying with the ChatGPT example, just consider how many organisations regretted not having an existing strategy for example with Azure, when the evidence of their investment in AI came to bear at the time of ChatGPT’s emergence!”

How to get the best price on cloud hostingCloud haggling: can you as a small business haggle on your cloud hosting fees? Absolutely. Even if you cannot get the headline cost down, your provider can throw in benefits and extras

#2 – Cut costs

Arash Ghazanfari, CTO United Kingdom, Dell Technologies

“Reducing cost remains paramount to many organisations, and a multi-cloud by design approach has the advantage here. Aligning workloads to optimal environments makes it possible to use resources more efficiently, whether on-premises or in the public cloud. This helps reduce operational and capital expenses, minimises the need for overprovisioning, and avoids unnecessary resource consumption. By ensuring that workloads are running on the most appropriate platforms, organisations can significantly reduce costs for their business. Given the high cost of capital, shifting to a subscription or as-a-service model can also help address cost challenges.”

#3 – Reach different parts of the world

Lori MacVittie, distinguished engineer, F5

“According to our annual State of Application Strategy research, the top reason companies use public cloud is for disaster recovery. That implies a single public cloud acting as a ‘backup’ data centre.

But a significant percentage – especially of more digitally mature organisations – also leverage public clouds to achieve global reach. That may require multiple cloud providers to achieve, depending on where in the world you need to reach. In those cases, it’s almost always digital ‘front ends’ that are distributed. Increasingly, digital front ends are developed using cloud-native microservices architectures that can be ported to multiple cloud properties with much greater ease and less cost than a traditional application. In that case, yes! It’s more than practical, it’s an excellent strategic decision.”

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#4 – Obey regulations

Sam Ireland, global head of marketing at InterCloud

“With increasing regulatory requirements related to data sovereignty, enterprises likely need some regional flexibility relating to the clouds they use for the storage and processing of data. In Europe there are many specific data sovereignty requirements that need consideration, and not all cloud providers will be able to deliver against an enterprise’s requirements every time. Therefore, some diversity is important for keeping pace with evolving compliance standards.”

#5 – Multi-cloud is better for M&A

Domenic Ravita, principal product evangelist, Cockroach Labs

“Multi-cloud provides more options for organisations contemplating organic or inorganic growth. Even if you’ve built for a system in one cloud or on prem, the use of multi-cloud technologies make your platform more marketable when it comes to mergers or being acquired. If you are going to acquire an organisation yourself, multi-cloud technologies make it easier to do – speeding time to operation and enabling you to easily choose what to integrate, contain, expand or retire.”

#6 – Enhance security

Dominik Birgelen, CEO at oneclick

“An organisation that adopts a multi-cloud approach may also increase the bar for security. IT can reduce the likelihood of data loss and leakage, inadequate authentication, and lateral platform breaches by introducing new services into the corporate portfolio with explicit instructions on how users may authenticate data, how it can flow, and where it can reside.

“Additionally, successful cloud enterprises are more likely to take advantage of cloud-based security tools like access security brokers and single sign-on as a service. According to research, using such technologies can cut the time it takes to find, comprehend, and stop cybersecurity assaults by half.”

#7 – Increase resilience against an outage

Rob Reid, technical evangelist, Cockroach Labs

“You may be able to handle an availability zone outage or regional outage in GCP but unless you’re multi-cloud you can’t handle an outage of GCP itself. Mitigating the risk of over-reliance on a small number of cloud providers lies at the heart of new rules in the Financial Services sector including the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority Statement of Policy and the Digital Operational Resilience Act.”

#8 – Avoid vendor lock-in

Jon Howes, VP & GP EMEA at object-storage services provider Wasabi

“Opting for storage solutions provided exclusively by one vendor risks vendor lock-in, which then can result in services becoming expensive and inflexible. If all of your data is stored with a singular provider, it can become increasingly difficult to leave, as accessing data can cost a fortune in egress fees. Furthermore, if the vendor suddenly decides to drastically increase prices, lock-in means there’s little choice but to pay up. Selecting a multi-cloud approach avoids this lock-in, enabling companies to select the most cost-effective storage solution for their specific needs and avoid price traps.”

#9 – Shift work dynamically to the cheapest provider

Eric Helmer, CTO, Rimini Street

“If you are savvy, you could move workloads between clouds, depending on peaks to avail of less expensive services. For example, if only the month-end is data intensive and requires more compute capacity during this peak, but the workload is stable for the larger part of the month, you could consider a hybrid model.”

#10 – No need to back a winner

Stephen Pettitt, sales director at M247

“The multi-cloud advantage eliminates the requirement to forecast five years ahead and make IT investments based on distant predictions. Instead, the emphasis is on addressing current requirements and minimising unnecessary cloud expenses and wastage, enabling organisations to remain ‘lean’, agile and exploit the most suitable current services without committing to an ‘all or nothing’ scenario.”

Further reading

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Charles Orton-Jones

Charles Orton-Jones is a business and tech journalist. He's a former winner of the PPA Business Journalist of the Year Award, and currently edits and Forward magazine, a journal devoted...

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