There’s a fair bit of confusion around what does cloud agnostic means. Whereas some in the industry use the term to describe any tool, service, or application that can operate on more than one cloud platform, others prefer the “common lowest denominator” definition of the term.
There’s no doubt the cloud computing industry loves its buzzwords. The cloud is all about innovation; and, as cloud technology continues to evolve, so does innovative terminology.
Take the term “cloud agnostic” for example. In the strictest definition of the term, cloud agnostic tools, services, and applications can be moved to and from any on-premises infrastructure, and to or from any public cloud platform, regardless of the underlying operating system or any other dependency.
The term is also often used to describe tools, services, and applications that are designed to operate on two or more cloud platforms—usually in the context of a multi-cloud environment shared between AWS, Azure, and Google, or a hybrid-cloud environment where the on-premises private cloud and the provider’s public cloud share the same operating system (i.e. Azure Stack).
A true cloud agnostic tool, service, or application assures organizations of consistent and standard performance regardless of what platform it’s deployed on. A secondary benefit is that the tool, service, or application can be deployed on whatever platform is most cost-efficient, without fear that performance is being sacrificed.
What does cloud agnostic mean for performance and security?
The benefits of portability and cost-efficiency come with trade-offs in respect to performance and security. Compared to “cloud native” tools that are built to take advantage of the strengths of the underlying operating system, cloud agnostic solutions tend to focus performance capabilities on the breadth of support, rather than depth.
Similarly, whereas one or two operating systems may have mechanisms in place to enhance security, with a cloud agnostic tool, service, or application, businesses have to accept the lowest standards of security. A cloud native solution can also be easier to log, monitor and manage using the Cloud Service Provider´s cloud native management and security tools.
Cloud agnosticism has both its advantages and disadvantages, and whether it’s best to use genuinely cloud agnostic solutions rather than cloud native solutions should depend on an organization’s unique business objectives.
Regardless, it’s important to consider a cloud management platform that focuses on providing visibility into your organization’s cloud environment ensures that whatever tools, services, and applications are deployed in your cloud operate as cost-effectively, efficiently, and as securely as possible.