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Multi-Cloud Networking: Cloud Computing Shifts Up a Gear

Gone are the days when companies depended on just one cloud provider to meet all their needs. Organizations are now increasingly using multiple cloud environments. This due partly to advances in cloud offerings and partly to business and IT departments onboarding disparate cloud services in parallel. In fact, some 80% of respondents in a recent futuriom survey said that they’d adopted such a multi-cloud approach.

Today, organizations of all sizes can connect critical data, applications, and cloud services to deliver faster, better services – and choose the best and most cost-effective solutions when it comes to where their applications and workloads run. Read on to find out more.

What Is Multi-Cloud Computing?

So, what exactly do we mean by “multi-cloud”? You could say that this approach does pretty much what it says on the tin: Essentially, multi-cloud means using cloud environments from more than one provider, rather than from a single source.

In multi-cloud scenarios, organizations often use two or more cloud services of the same type but from different vendors. This offers greater flexibility for optimizing performance, controlling costs, and taking advantage of the best cloud technologies available.

The number of cloud providers involved varies depending on customers’ needs. But on average, businesses currently source services from two to three different vendors. And from a tech perspective, most multi-cloud solutions are built on open-source, cloud-native technologies, such as Kubernetes, since these are supported by all cloud providers.

Multi-Cloud Versus Hybrid-Cloud

You may be wondering just how multi-cloud differs from the perhaps more familiar hybrid-cloud concept. While both incorporate multiple clouds, they differ crucially regarding the type of infrastructure they include.

Hybrid cloud encompasses multiple cloud deployments of different types (public and private), which are integrated or orchestrated to a certain degree via APIs, middleware, or containers. By contrast, multi-cloud consists of multiple cloud deployments of the same type (in this case, public) from different providers.

Key Challenges of Implementing Multi-Cloud Computing

One challenge to consider when embarking on a multi-cloud strategy is orchestration. It’s important to be aware that each cloud provider has its own management tools, processes, SLAs, and security requirements, which generally makes it difficult to extend functionality to other cloud platforms. Plus, a lack of interconnection between environments can increase security-related and financial risk.

Another challenge posed by multi-cloud is the associated architecture. Environments of this kind are inherently complex. And companies may find that they lack the in-house expertise needed to manage this level of complexity. What’s more, switching between multiple cloud platforms can become very time-consuming – and, if the requisite skills are lacking, very expensive.

On top of this, multi-cloud environments entail increased administrative overhead, which can impact both speed and innovation. In the worst case, companies can even lose control over their ecosystem, ultimately jeopardizing IT operations.

Novel Architecture and In-House Upskilling: The Keys to Mastering Multi-Cloud

To tackle these challenges effectively, interoperability is essential. Companies whose networks cross cloud boundaries need a new type of architecture – one capable of connecting IT resources in a way that maintains control, visibility, and security over the network connections.

Fortunately, help is at hand: Many leading cloud vendors and cloud solution providers, such as VMware, now offer multi-cloud solutions for compute infrastructure, development, data warehousing, cloud storage, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), disaster recovery/business continuity.

Additionally, it’s vital to upskill your workforce to ensure that you can manage the advanced cloud landscape independently, without having to rely on assistance from the providers. Otherwise, you may find that running your new multi-cloud solution rapidly becomes a significant cost-driver.

Greater Independence, Enhanced Security and Business Continuity

While multi-cloud has its downsides, it also has many attractive benefits. For one thing, it helps companies sidestep the pitfalls of vendor lock-in – not to mention the performance issues, limited options, and unnecessary costs that can come from depending on just one cloud provider.

Equally important are the advantages in terms of availability. Companies that opt for a multi-cloud model benefit from redundancy and from knowing that their services and data storage are protected against security threats and failures.

Greater Flexibility, Greater Cost Efficiency

Another major plus is the flexibility afforded by the multi-cloud approach. Companies can choose cloud services from various providers based on a combination of factors – such as pricing, performance, security and compliance requirements, as well as geographical location.

Multi-cloud also has considerable appeal in terms of cost efficiency. For one thing, it enables companies to optimally control their profitability and consider investments and operating costs. In addition, it allows them to take advantage of the competition between public-cloud and infrastructure providers, which gives rise to ever-better solutions at attractive prices.

And finally, by allowing companies to adopt best-of-breed technologies, multi-cloud enables accelerated innovation while delivering differentiated value to end customers.

Maximize ROI – Minimize Risk

By adopting a multi-cloud approach, companies can maximize their ROI and minimize the risks associated with conventional single-cloud environments. In addition, the flexibility and value of a well-managed platform of this kind delivers tangible business benefits plus greater agility.

However, given the far-reaching changes associated with introducing a multi-cloud environment, companies should make sure that their employees are trained accordingly. If businesses are to tap into the full potential of this tech, having the right in-house skills is a must.

Want to find out more about multi-cloud and its benefits for your business? Then feel free to contact me. And if you have your own thoughts and experiences relating to the topic, please share them in the comments section.

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