For many organisations, cloud computing can be a double-edge sword that makes new things possible, but also brings new challenges that can be difficult to overcome in the face of limited budgets, the war for IT talent and the increasing complexity of enterprise IT.
Businesses nowadays are well aware of the benefits of cloud computing and many choose to go either multi-cloud or hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud is the combination of private (either on-premises or hosted in a colocation facility) and public cloud infrastructure, with orchestration tools used to deploy workloads and manage the balance between the two. Multi-cloud on the other hand, has more of a strategic emphasis as it looks at how enterprises use multiple cloud providers to meet different technical or business requirements. At its most granular, multi-cloud means cloud-native applications built from containers and micro services from different cloud providers.
Many organisations initially pursued a multi-cloud strategy because they were uncertain about cloud reliability. Multi-cloud was, and still is, considered a ‘safe’ strategy to prevent data loss or downtime that can be caused by a localised component failure in the cloud. The ability to avoid vendor lock-in was also an early driver of multi-cloud adoption.
While redundancy and vendor lock-in concerns still drive some multi-cloud deployments today, they are also driven largely by enterprises' broader business or technical goals. For example, the use of more price-competitive cloud services or taking advantage of the speed, capacity and features offered by a cloud provider in a particular geography.
According to The Telsyte Australian Cloud Market Study 2019, a multi-cloud approach is dominating, with 77 per cent of all Australian organisations using more than one platform and almost half (49%) using more than four cloud platforms. The average number of cloud platforms used by organisations in Australia reached 3.8 in 2018.
As well as this surge towards the cloud, today’s CIOs are increasingly recognising that single provider cloud solutions are less-and-less fit for purpose when it comes to addressing the data challenges of today, and tomorrow’s demanding business requirements. To put this into context, a recent IDC study found that the volume of data on earth is predicted to increase from 33 Zettabytes (ZB), in 2018 to 175ZB by 2025, half of which will be stored in public cloud storage.
It’s challenging enough to manage terabytes of data across multiple environments with one cloud provider, just imagine doing this with zettabytes of disparate data sets across multiple cloud providers all offering variations of private, public, hybrid environments and different SLAs to boot.
Data has become the most important asset for organisations operating in today’s digital economy. While the shift to cloud has been powering the digital transformation boom of the last decade, it has also created unprecedented challenges to manage, use and secure data.
Data responsibility is one of the main challenges that organisations face today, especially when it comes to handling workloads across different cloud environments or multiple platforms. While there are many niche solutions that work well enough in specific environments, the single-use approach only increases the complexity as it encourages vendor lock-in for organisations.
Beyond minimising the risk of cloud provider lock-in, a multi-cloud approach provides service resiliency and migration opportunities along with agility, scalability and elasticity along the way. And, this in turn has fuelled the need for data management approaches that can ensure data is protected and managed across different platforms or cloud infrastructures.
In a multi-cloud environment, where change is the only true constant, an organisation’s ability to protect data, move it around freely, recover it and have a single view of its data assets is critical to its future success. Whether you’ve yet to begin or have already started your cloud migration roadmap, working with the right partners is key to accelerating your journey to the cloud, all while empowering your business to stay ahead of the competition.