Why use one cloud, when you can use any Cloud? Let’s think about what has happened over the last few years in public Cloud computing and the hypervisor wars on-premises.
VMware has largely dominated the data center, but we are seeing a strong push from Microsoft on the hypervisor front. KVM and Xen continue to grow in popularity for certain sectors, and all across the spectrum we see lots of people running more than one hypervisor. Within Cloud computing there is no differents. The real shift in the IT industry is the broad acceptance of multiple platforms inside every IT portfolio. And now we jumped right past the Cloud to the next level and it is called multi-Cloud.

Why Run More Than One Cloud?

Technology is not the problem, it’s the solution.  Business challenges are being answered by technology which is what really matters.  So, why would we run more than one cloud?  The reason is a technological one usually. Certain features, APIs, and architectures may be supported on one more than another. There are raw economics involved as well. There are overall availability concerns which drive businesses to disperse their IT across multiple datacenters, so why not do the same in the cloud?
The reason that AWS and OpenStack are often pitted against each other is that there are capabilities to enable AWS API access within the OpenStack platform. The reason that it becomes important is that we see a big adoption of AWS, and being able to take the same workloads and move them to OpenStack using the same API calls and interactions would be a massive win for OpenStack as a platform.

multi-cloud

If we stick to strictly public Cloud providers, we can start with what we would call the Big 3:  Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform.  Among those three, we see a lot of parrying as we see features and pricing updates happening regularly. That results in an ever-growing set of services that can be easily consumed.  As we see common orchestration and operational platforms gaining in popularity, it gives even more credence to the commoditization of Cloud.

Reducing the Complexity of Multi-Cloud

Complexity is the one thing that will slow the multi-Cloud adoption a bit longer. There are clearly different ways to consume resources, and to programmatically create and destroy resources in the public cloud platforms. Especially when you go outside of the Big 3. That means consumers of the public Cloud will have to start with one target and generally work up to a deep comfort there before moving to embrace a multi-Cloud strategy.

Once we remove or reduce complexity from the list of barriers, that opens up the door for embracing the economic value of a multi-cloud strategy. This is where we can embrace on-demand growth to tackle scaling needs, while making the workload truly portable and making sure that flexebillity becomes the real win. Networking and security (they should always be paired) will most likely be the greatest challenge that technologists face in architecting their single multi-cloud solutions.

Next-Generation applications are being built as Cloud-native where possible. What we do gain by embracing the Cloud-native approach to application development and deployment is that we reduce the risk of vendor lock-in. The more we learn from the forward-leaning development teams, the more we are able to give ourselves agility in a multi-Cloud architecture.  As all of the public Cloud experts are arguing over who will be the last one to be all-in on the public Cloud running cloud-native applications, multi-Cloud strategy will certainly gain intrest from a broader audience of companies who are looking for reducing the risks by putting all the eggs into one public Cloud basket.

Author: Eric Wright