By Virendra Sharma, Practice Director – Business Applications, Advaiya Solutions
Are Cloud-Agnostic or Multi-Cloud solutions a superior choice?
Modern cloud service providers are engaged in a competition to drive digital adoption and increase their volume of consumption. However, if your organisation is investing in only specific single cloud solutions then there are chances that you are missing out on some benefits. Here are some points to sway your platform bias to go for a multi-cloud or cloud-agnostic solution.
The benefit of being independent of any particular Cloud service provider
Let’s start with a problem statement, suppose your company invested thousands of dollars into a cloud-based app or an ERP solution, and it took significant efforts from your IT team and a considerable duration for adoption. The choice of platform was based on a specific Cloud which was believed to be offering the best features at an optimised price at the time of beginning. After all, your business’s USP or its profitability depends on the cloud solutions your company has invested in. Now, a year down the line, as all the Cloud service providers keep competing and their rates keep varying, some other Cloud service provider approaches your organisation with a better offer and with more features.
You see the clear benefits of migrating to a different Cloud vendor. However, there’s a hitch, the solution you are using is dependent on the existing Cloud platform and the migration would take a lot of time and effort and would cost you as much. Having a cloud-agnostic solution can help easily move your app workload from one Cloud to another giving you leverage over the vendors for better price negotiation and discounts.
Ensuring the availability of business-critical workloads
Reasons for shifting to another Cloud may not always be about the cost. There could be some very critical operations that need continuous and uninterrupted availability. It would be a risk to keep all your apps on the same Cloud. For business-critical workloads, it is better to have a multi-cloud strategy to avoid downtime due to service outages experienced on a specific Cloud. You should be able to shift your app(s) workloads from one Cloud to another if there is any outage. This is especially necessary with applications that deal with finance, medical data, and safety-related functions. Hence you need to design your workloads to run in the Cloud of your preference and at the same time with the flexibility to switch to other Clouds.
Mitigation of cyber risks
Any organisation running its services on digital apps can incur heavy losses due to cyber-attacks. If the organisation’s internal apps are affected, then the operations can go down for days. If the customer-facing applications are affected, then not only there will be a business loss but there could be long-term consequences. Having a multi-cloud strategy ensures that organisations can seamlessly fall over the workloads from one Cloud to another and then fall back once a threat is resolved without anyone taking notice.
Flexibility for a better choice of technology:
Moving to a multi-cloud strategy opens the possibility of selecting the best and most emerging technologies available for solving an organisation’s business challenges. In case other Cloud providers offer high-speed or low-latency infrastructure only flexible and cloud-agnostic solutions can be migrated in such cases. Every organisation would want the ability to upgrade or modernise its infrastructure easily and rapidly. If an organisation’s apps are locked in with a specific Cloud vendor, then it becomes difficult to leverage the new and innovative features which may be available on other Cloud platforms. This is key for organisations wanting to stay ahead of the curve besides remaining competitive.
Leverage open-source and diverse technologies
Many organisations look for the resilience of custom-coded solutions and open-source technologies or a combination of both. However, choosing the right Cloud for such solutions is a challenge. Furthermore, in organisations where multiple technologies from different providers are being used, it is difficult to consolidate and manage those solutions and environments. Having a multi-cloud approach becomes convenient in such cases.
Hence, organisations adopting a multi-cloud model as part of their Cloud strategy are deemed to have an advantage over the single-cloud approach – be it risk reduction, increased resilience, cost saving, or gaining the flexibility to use different technologies. However, it requires the development of apps that use a uniform service model across multiple Clouds.
Ensuring multi-cloud success:
Though a multi-cloud strategy provides flexibility in using the best possible Cloud for each workload at the same time, there are also challenges in implementing a multi-cloud strategy. The main issue is complexity. A multi-cloud architecture will bring increased complexity and the need to manage multiple services effectively. The key to a successful multi-cloud strategy is to be able to actively monitor the costs of multiple Cloud services in use. Besides that, there would be a need to acquire new cloud-specific skills, command over multiple tools for different environments, and increased responsibilities for IT, Development, and DevOps teams. There is a need for specialised expertise in cloud-agnostic solutions to harness the desired interoperability across Clouds. It can be recommended that if your organisation is looking for a multi-cloud strategy then you should find an appropriate technology partner with capabilities in handling cloud-agnostic solutions.