There’re many cloud service providers, and each offers slightly different solutions. Some focus on startups, others on enterprise-grade businesses. Building up a portfolio of services over the years, they’ve come with specialised offers, e.g., maps platforms, voice-to-text services, or out-of-the-box machine learning models.
Every company considering cloud migration has to face a decision: which one to choose?
Fortunately, they don’t have to commit to one public cloud but undertake a multicloud strategy and build an architecture out of services from several cloud providers.
What is a multicloud strategy?
Multicloud is a strategy that involves using services from two or more public clouds. A multicloud approach lets companies build infrastructure out of services that best suit their technology and business needs without being limited to a single provider. For example, the main infrastructural environment can be held on the Google Cloud Platform, but the organisation can utilise Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services at the same time.
A multicloud approach plays a huge role among tech-aware companies. According to the “State of the Cloud Report 2022” by Flexera, 79% of respondents said they were incorporating multiple public clouds. The report is based on a survey of 753 respondents – global cloud decision-makers and users.
A multicloud strategy doesn’t exclude the essential benefits of a public cloud, such as:
- access to advanced technologies and services without any initial investments,
- scalability, automatic response to increases and decreases in demand,
- cost flexibility thanks to the pay-as-you-use payment model,
- switching budgets from infrastructure maintenance to development with IaaS services,
- or shortening the time to market for innovations.
Moreover, those advantages can be further enhanced through an architecture built from services that best meet the company’s needs, even from different cloud providers.
Multicloud vs hybrid cloud – differences
Some confuse “multi-cloud” with “hybrid cloud”. Those terms stand for different architecture models.
In a case of a hybrid cloud, an organisation combines local data centres with public cloud services; the integration includes the hardware level. For example, a company can store sensitive data or crucial applications on-premises but scale to the cloud when needed or use some cloud services (i.e., a serverless data warehouse for analytics).
Whereas a multicloud strategy omits the hardware layer. The integration is only between public cloud services.
Benefits and drawbacks of a multicloud strategy
Pros of multicloud
- Picked-out services. In a multicloud model, you can expand your infrastructure with the most suitable services from different providers, enjoying the benefits of several clouds at once.
- High(er) availability. Using services from several public clouds allows the diversification of data storage points and ensures constant system uptime. In the event of a malfunction in one of the providers, the organisation doesn’t lose access to its resources or, having a disaster recovery centre in another cloud, keeps the application running.
- No vendor lock-in. By leveraging a multicloud strategy, you minimise the dependency on a particular cloud services provider. In need of change, you’ll avoid additional costs or restrictions.
Cons of multicloud
- Problematic maintenance of a uniform infrastructure. Maintaining the infrastructure in a multicloud model requires more expertise and work and is, therefore, more costly. However, there are tools that can ease the upkeep of several connected cloud environments, e.g., Terraform or Anthos.
- Various cloud skills. Owning a “patchwork” infrastructure, it’s nice to have on board people who specialise in the used cloud solutions because they all differ. It’s also important to expand their knowledge and acquire new competencies. But it could be a never-ending investment, as providers are constantly developing their cloud platforms.
- Potential security issues. Each cloud has its security and circulation of information policies, making it complicated to ensure the integrity of the protection of the multicloud environment. What’s more, combining a few cloud solutions can lead to the emergence of new vulnerabilities.
Solutions for multicloud infrastructure management
Depending on which infrastructure is to be main, you’ve got different services available for multicloud management.
Google Cloud Platform’s portfolio includes Anthos, a service for containerised apps modernisation and management between different environments, platforms, clusters or locations.
Anthos provides a single control centre for distributed infrastructure, supporting IT specialists in areas such as:
- creating configuration files – one native instead of separate ones for every platform,
- deployments, changes and updates to applications on multicloud infrastructure,
- microservices and apps health checks in a distributed environment,
- monitoring including workloads, services performance, response time, latency, or number and severity of errors,
- unification of security policies and rules between cloud solutions,
- access levels – the platform provides the ability to centralise roles management among different environments.
BigQuery Omni for analytics in Google Cloud
GCP also offers BigQuery Omni, an Anthos-backed service that enables the construction of a robust data warehouse among Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure clouds. BigQuery Omni allows data from the other platforms to be extracted and analysed via an API, using standard SQL. The results can be presented on dashboards in Google Data Studio or the Looker BI platform.
Azure Arc is a Microsoft Azure cloud service that supports multicloud resource management. It enables the administration of the entire environment from a single interface.
Currently, Azure Arc provides solutions for handling resources outside the Microsoft cloud, such as:
- servers – physical and virtual machines with Windows or Linux operating systems,
- Kubernetes clusters,
- Azure database services – Azure SQL Managed Instance and PostgreSQL,
- SQL Server in any location.
ECS Anywhere and EKS Anywhere
ECS Anywhere and EKS Anywhere are Amazon Web Services solutions.
Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) Anywhere allows you to manage clusters, schedule workloads and monitor processes among applications deployed between different cloud environments.
Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) Anywhere is a service that enables the creation, operation and automation of processes across Kubernetes clusters on a multicloud infrastructure.
IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management
IBM Cloud Paks are ready-to-use software packages that enable deploying, managing, and moving application environments across different clouds, without making any changes to the code or architecture.
IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management helps to provide consistent visibility, governance and automation. It supports event management, infrastructure management, application management, multicluster management, edge management and integration with existing tools and processes.
Cisco Multicloud Portfolio
Cisco Multicloud Portfolio is a set of services that simplifies connecting, protecting, and managing applications in a multicloud environment. It enables securing multicloud identities, direct-to-cloud connectivities, data, or apps, including SaaS products. Also, it supports migrating, deploying, managing and optimising containerised applications between various environments.
Terraform for IaC
Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) software tool that lets you safely and predictably create, change, and improve infrastructure.
The platform helps to deal with a number of issues, including error-prone manual workloads for central IT, slow ticketing systems, slow manual workflows for developers, lack of consistent policy enforcements, or unscalable infrastructure.
Provisioning infrastructure across multiple clouds increases fault tolerance, allowing for more graceful recovery from cloud provider outages. However, multi-cloud deployments add complexity because each provider has its own interfaces, tools, and workflows. Terraform lets you use the same workflow to manage multiple providers and handle cross-cloud dependencies. This simplifies management and orchestration for large-scale, multi-cloud infrastructures.
Go multicloud with FOTC
Are you wondering how to plan and implement a multicloud strategy? Leverage the skills and knowledge of experienced cloud engineers and architects. Let’s discuss your migration opportunities!