One cloud is not enough: By now 81% of companies follow Multi-Cloud strategies. That makes it likely, that on top of managing your cloud migration you have to take care of managing the use of multiple cloud platforms as well – but when done right, the benefits outweigh the possible administrative overhead in many ways. We asked our customers and came up with 6 reasons why the Multi-Cloud approach is a winning strategy:
Avoiding Vendor Lock-in
While all hyperscalers offer multiple datacenter locations across the world, which enable companies to spread the risk and ensure availability – even when using only a single provider, the fear of dependency leads a lot of companies to the Multi-Cloud. Looking at the cloud-native landscape of the past couple of years, we see that there are new platforms appearing on the horizon continuously. How can you make sure you are betting on the right horse if you decide to go for a single cloud approach? (Spoiler: You can't and here is why).
Companies run a large variety of applications. For example there may be a mobile application along with a heavily frequented e-commerce platform. Then there are internal applications to manage travel expenses and sick days and a new data science team uses collected data to run analyses to optimize resource management and fulfillment. The bigger the company the greater the variation in cloud service requirements. A best-of-breed approach describes an approach where the company uses the best suitable infrastructure type and provider for each workload.
Let's think about banks or industrial companies. They have been running software for decades, long before cloud computing even existed. The move to the cloud is an essential step as their business models are often at risk raising the need to innovate fastly. So they have two tasks to accomplish: 1) Build new applications based on cloud infrastructure, to enable scalability and fast adoption to the market with practices like continuous deployment. 2) Migrate existing applications to the cloud to enable automation and gain efficiency. As a result, they will have to deal with a very heterogeneous infrastructure during this cloud migration process. It makes sense to set up a system that is able to cope with multiple platforms and providers straight away. As this prepares for the future, where more cloud platforms will be integrated.
The big cloud vendors often offer better conditions if they get an exclusive contract in exchange. Therefore, cost-sensitive companies will compromise and choose a single provider, being aware of the vendor lock-in they get themselves into as well as the fact that the chosen cloud platform may not be the best candidate for all their workloads. It still makes sense to be prepared for Multi-Cloud scenarios. Especially fast growing B2C companies aiming for market leadership buy their smaller competitors. While these competitors may operate in the same manner, they may have chosen a different platform to start with. The systems have to be integrated, either by migrating the workloads of the acquired company to match the rest or by enabling the parallel use of multiple platforms. Having thought of this beforehand and planned the system accordingly will help here.
Skill and Employer Attractiveness
Finally, people are different. They have different backgrounds and different preferences. And sometimes it will make sense to go for the platform your employees are best trained in and most familiar with. An
example: It may be cheaper to run applications on IaaS. However, this requires your employees being familiar with setting up and automating infrastructure using infrastructure-as-code. If you don't have these resources, you may be better off investing into a PaaS platform that may be more expensive in infrastructure costs, but better leverages existing developer resources. It is not only the existing skill that matters. It has been found that developers are much happier, if they get to work with their preferred tools. While this may sound like a nice-to-have situation it actually impacts productivity as well as the attractiveness of the employer for new talent.
Depending on the scale of your cloud spend it may be beneficial to spread your applications across different platforms and leverage price differences across providers for different services. Hybrid Cloud setups have even more space for optimization, if they have set up a fine-granular metering and billing solution for their private cloud environments. For smaller companies it may be beneficial to use multiple clouds as vendors provide them with big amounts of free credits that they use before having to pay.