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Elevator sign - why you need a multi-cloud strategy

Can’t decide between public cloud and private cloud, yet alone a multi cloud strategy? Fear not…

Whether you are a business that’s just considering cloud strategy for the first time, or you’re already utilising the benefits of the cloud but need to get more out of it, in either case, it’s worth considering a full scale multi cloud strategy, and here’s why…

On February 28th 2017, Amazon Web Services’ entire S3 cloud went down in the US North American region. Sites froze, backups failed, disaster recovery ceased and a plethora of other AWS cloud dependent solutions became inaccessible for over four hours.

If you use a lot of AWS hosting products, this may have directly impacted your business. If not, there’s a chance that, on February 28th, your business couldn’t access particular SaaS tools or web-based systems… because those companies were heavily reliant in Amazon Web Services.

This begs the question… why have you got all of your eggs in one basket?! That’s where a multi-cloud strategy comes in

What is a Multi-Cloud Strategy?

A multi-cloud strategy is the use of two or more cloud services at any one time within your cloud ecosystem to circumvent major downtime outages and data loss.

A multi-cloud strategy champions the best use of different cloud technologies and services across multiple providers. This aims to optimise your technology for clients & customers while maintaining minimal risk of failure through, putting it simply, not having all your eggs in one basket.

Some may argue that this is basically the same thing as having a solid hybrid cloud strategy in place… and in essence, yes, it is, but a multi-cloud environment is more about the eco system you wish to build. Within your multi-cloud strategy, you’re ticking off governance, compliance, geographical location, client needs and service requirements across several departments within your business.

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3 Reasons to have a multi cloud strategy in place

1. Vendor Lock in

With a diverse range of offerings out there and aggressively competitive pricing in the cloud market today, vendor lock in is something to bare in mind when building or adapting your cloud strategy.

Vendor lock in occurs when a business is using a cloud service that restrains them from easily being able to transfer to another service. This can happen through getting overly excited by an introductory offer and not quite reading the fine print, not having a cloud strategy in place that makes allowances for unexpected swell in cloud usage and a variety of other ways.

It’s a little like buying a car that is bound specifically to only one manufacturer’s parts and services, making that particular franchise the only option when it comes to servicing, fixes and ongoing queries.

It most commonly crops up as a result of using technologies or services that are incompatible with the common standard out there. It can also come from long term reliance on a single provider and the skill set of your team, contractual complications or even just the use of old systems and processes.

At Cloudhelix, as a third party cloud provider, one of the primary reasons we recommend ourselves is the complete freedom of use and transparency of contract that we offer. Basically, we know what a pain it is to feel trapped by a provider, and its something a business should never have to encounter.

If part of your strategy includes utilising cloud services offered by a provider with no allegiances to anyone but you, the client, then rarely will vendor lock in become a problem. We would strongly recommend considering a balanced hybrid or multi-cloud strategy in the first place which utilises multiple services across different platforms with maximum flexibility.

2. Pure reliability

Many things can happen in the world that could impact the reliability of your technology, and depending on just one service provider to keep all of your businesses critical systems running without fault all the time is a bit of a gamble.

Cyber attack, earthquake, nuclear war, a Mr Robot-style take down of the biggest data centres in the world, the on-site server engineer spills his Big Gulp on one of the core hosting systems… you get the idea.

Not putting all your eggs in one basket is a common sense exercise, and multi cloud strategy is the suitable way of addressing that exact problem.

Not only do you want to leverage different services from the providers that have the strongest offerings in each category, but in addition to that you need to know that each department’s critical functions are being served across multiple platforms that best serve them.

I’m not necessarily saying you MUST have a hybrid cloud solution, but using multiple public or private offerings is going to offer way more protection against a provider going down, than having every function you need from the cloud serviced by just one provider in the one data centre nearest to you.

The flip side is having a few different public cloud options to satisfy different areas of the business. One for the biggest workload for cost efficiency, a serverless setup for dev testing and building, another for AI and support offerings, maybe an on-site dedicated cloud and so on.

Allow your multi cloud strategy to incorporate several fail safes across multiple areas and you’ll rarely ever get stung. Furthermore you’ll have multiple avenues in which to go down if any one specific area needs to grow or transfer.

3. Basically the groundwork of a solid hybrid infrastructure

Now that AWS haven’t got such a rigid dominance in the cloud market, we’re really starting to see some of the other big providers step up and show what they’re all about in combination with their cloud offerings.

An effective use of the strongest services offered by each individual provider could see your business very well set to handle almost any situation, but also the flex to grow or scale in whichever direction your business heads in.

For example:
Your office SQL databases would be best off using Microsoft Azure, however your development team would be best served *and most cost efficient) utilising AWS Lambda serverless cloud. Your automated response model could be next level on Google Clouds AI offering, however you wish to bring Kubernetes in and Cloud Foundry has a great Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering as well.

A proper hybrid infrastructure will nine times of ten naturally be born from a rigid and well thought out multi cloud strategy in the beginning. Equally, as we’ve have said at various times on our blog, this can be easily achieved by working closely with a provider you trust that isn’t bias to any one particular service.

Combining the best cost, operating speed, efficiency, reliability and add-on services… all managed by managed host maximum flexibility and hands on support, will equal a lean mean hybrid multi cloud ecosystem that will be relatively unstoppable which can easily serve the needs of most businesses… It’s that easy!

In Conclusion

At Cloudhelix, we specialise in providing the best possible grounding for businesses looking to overhaul, take control or harness the power of the cloud.
As managed cloud experts, we work with you to help technology assist with your most critical business objectives. We do this by recommending the best, most efficient solutions that make the lives of your IT teams easier every single day.

Let us know your challenge, whether multi-cloud strategy-based or not, and we’ll give you honest, fast and pertinent insights right away.

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