Let’s explore the multicloud advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if multicloud is the best cloud strategy for your business.
What is a multicloud strategy?
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the market leader, offers by far the greatest range of cloud services, and has long been the number one choice for companies looking to migrate to the cloud. However, there are now many providers to choose from and each has strengths and weaknesses.
Rather than just picking one infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) cloud provider that best meets the needs of the business, a multicloud approach involves adopting a mixture of IaaS services from 2 or more cloud providers and sharing workloads between each, choosing services that provide the greatest flexibility, reliability, most features, or are offered at a much better price point.
What are the main multicloud advantages?
With so much competition in the industry, each cloud provider is having to launch new services and shave prices to give customers a better deal. It is now much harder for a single cloud provider to meet the exact needs of a business and provide the best services and prices across the board, so choosing one cloud provider may no longer be the best choice.
That fact has certainly not been lost on businesses. A recent study by Dimensional Research found that 77% of businesses are planning to adopt a multicloud strategy in the next two years in order to better meet their needs. But what are the multicloud advantages that make an multicloud approach so attractive?
Multicloud means taking advantage of the strengths of multiple cloud providers
AWS may have 200+ cloud services, but it does not mean that it will be able to meet all the cloud computing requirements of a business, at least not optimally. By choosing multiple cloud providers you can take advantage of the best parts of each provider’s services and mix and match to suit the needs of your applications, workloads, and business. Different business units may have different demands, and while AWS may be ideal for one unit, Azure or VMware may be best suited for another. Multinational organizations are likely to find that what is optimal for one geographical region is not good for another. Multicloud solves those problems.
Avoids lock-in with one specific vendor
One of the most important multicloud advantages is avoiding lock-in with one cloud vendor. If your applications are built to work on one cloud platform, you will be tied to that platform. It will be hard to switch at a later stage. The vendor will have met your needs initially; but, if you outgrow their cloud when your business takes off or need to scale back, it may no longer be the optimal choice.
Cloud providers often launch new services and change their prices frequently. You may find that costs increase, or better deals become available elsewhere. If you are locked into a single provider, you will not be able to easily take advantage of better opportunities. If you chose a multicloud approach, your organization retains the power, not the cloud vendor. If you adopt a multicloud approach from the start, your developers can also create apps that will work on multiple platforms giving you maximum flexibility to take advantage of the best prices or capabilities of different platforms.
Maximum opportunity to optimize for costs and performance
For many businesses, one of the key multicloud advantages is the ability to select the cloud services that meet the needs of the business and the best possible price point. For instance, a multicloud approach will allow a business to take advantage of AWS spot instances and secure compute capacity at the lowest price but also use Low-Priority VMs on Azure or Preemptible VM Instances on Google Cloud to get the best possible price when spot instances become too expensive. By adopting a multicloud strategy, businesses find it easier to optimize for both cost and performance.
What are the disadvantages of a multicloud strategy?
There are clear multicloud advantages, but no cloud strategy is ideal in all respects. A multicloud approach is ideal for many businesses but there are disadvantages that may outweigh the benefits.
Security can be a challenge
One disadvantage to spreading your workloads, applications, and assets across multiple platforms is security. While there is a lot to be said for not putting all your eggs in one basket, using multiple cloud platforms does introduce complexity which can make it harder to secure your data and prevent leakage. You have to spend more time and effort on security if multiple platforms are used. That said, there are security benefits that come from using multiple cloud providers such as providing greater protection against DDoS attacks. If you use multiple cloud providers to power your website applications, a sustained DDoS attack on one will not necessarily mean disaster. The other providers may be able to take the load until the attacked cloud provider can reinstate your service. A single point of failure will not bring everything crashing down.
Loss of provider perks
Another key disadvantage to the multicloud approach is the loss of perks that come from committing to a single cloud provider. Cloud providers want all your business, so they often provide considerable discounts to businesses that adopt a single provider strategy. Those perks and discounts may mean a single provider approach is more cost effective.
Complexity creates management headaches
There is no denying that multicloud adds considerable complexity. Even though there are considerable multicloud advantages, the complexity makes monitoring cloud environments much harder. You can certainly take advantage of the opportunities to save on costs, but if the result is a lack of visibility into your cloud environments, those costs savings may not be realized.
Implementing and managing a multicloud environment can be a major challenge especially if you do not have the luxury of a highly skilled IT team well versed in each of the different cloud platforms. Each platform has its own interfaces, and configuring and managing different platforms can cause headaches.
Do the multicloud advantages outweigh the disadvantages?
It is now increasingly important for businesses to run their workloads in the most appropriate environment. Businesses that adopt a multicloud strategy can optimize for performance, can make considerable cost savings and gain a significant competitive advantage.
The flexibility that a multicloud approach provides and the considerable multicloud advantages often more than makeup for any disadvantages. Provided a business has a solid strategy and the tools to provide visibility into multicloud environments—and to automate management and governance, and assess cost-saving opportunities—it is hard to argue against adopting a multicloud strategy.
How CloudHealth can take the stress out of multicloud management
CloudHealth offers a solution that allows businesses to combat the problems associated with the complexity of multicloud environments and solve the management challenges that such a strategy creates. Through the CloudHealth platform, it is possible to effectively manage multiple cloud environments through a single pane of glass and monitor and manage costs, performance, security, and plan capacity across multiple cloud providers. Governance policies can be created for workloads, applications, a line of business, or region, allowing you to control exactly how your business is run.
Want to learn more? Download our eBook 10 Frequently Asked Questions About Multicloud.