Your cloud strategy really should be based on using multiple cloud environments and regions. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and challenges of a multi-cloud setup.
What is multi-cloud?
Multi-cloud is, honestly, the future. It refers to setting up your data architecture so that you’re not running all your services in one cloud and one region but spread them out across several cloud environments.
According to Gartner, 81% of public cloud users already use two or more cloud providers, and the trend is growing. If you’re already using a multi-cloud approach, this won’t surprise you at all. But if you’re new to the world of the clouds, perhaps just leaving the comfy nest of corporate on-premises architecture, you might wonder why one cloud isn’t enough.
The 4 big benefits of multi-cloud
Building your data architecture on a multi-cloud basis has lots of benefits. In this section we’ll take a closer look at some of them. (But here’s the tl;dr: Select your cloud environment to match what you want to do with it, or risk ending up with a suboptimal architecture.)
1. Get the best of all worlds
Different clouds have different strengths. Built on different technologies, they each offer slightly different tools for building applications. They each support a unique set of features for product development as well as for the applications themselves.
With a multi-cloud approach you can also run workloads in environments with just the right performance profiles. In other words, select your environment on the basis of the type of loads you’ll be running, instead of limiting yourself to what a single cloud can handle.
Clouds also differ in terms of security compliance and physical data location. This is especially important for regulated industries. True, a multi-cloud approach can also pose challenges in this area — but see the next section for some solutions.
2. Unlimited power!
If you don’t limit yourself to a single cloud provider, not only do you get access to a wider variety of tools and features, but also the option to enhance the performance of your overall development environment. By running multiple environments at once, you multiply also the bandwidth and storage performance.
3. Freedom to roll
Using multiple clouds is the best way to eliminate vendor lock-in. By operating in many clouds, you ensure that you’ll never become dependent on any one of them. You develop practices, and products, that work in many environments. This makes any future restructuring much easier.
4. Backing it up
Depending on how you set things up, you may have backups ready to go whenever one cloud provider’s environment goes down. At the very least, operating in a multi-cloud setup gives you a near-instant capability to compensate for the loss.
3 challenges — and 3 solutions
That’s all well and good, but unfortunately life is seldom simple. Multi-cloud comes with its own set of challenges and insecurities. The thing is… not to go all sales-y and marketing-y here but… using a multi-cloud provider like Aiven helps with all of them!
1. Managing complexity?
Managing more than one cloud is hard work, and/or a good management system. You have to set up and configure the environments and then monitor them effectively. However, a multi-cloud provider will have a unified management system that can handle multiple clouds and projects — like the Aiven Teams feature. With Aiven, it’s also easy to deploy to and manage several cloud environments from the same UI.
2. Security issues?
Public cloud is secure, we all know that (see for example this blog post, reason ‘#5), but it’s absolutely true that using multiple clouds means more work for the security team than just one cloud. You need a robust security strategy. However, with a multi-cloud provider, much of that complexity rests with them.
3. Loss of bonuses?
If your multi-cloud strategy rests on surfing between clouds, then yes, you may lose out on loyalty bonuses like discounted rates or priority services. Then again, if you’re eligible for Aiven’s Bring Your Own Account model, it may be possible to keep your cake and eat it, too. Besides, if you go through a marketplace, Aiven services count towards your committed use, accumulating discounts themselves.
Aiven is a multi-cloud service provider. We offer, out of the box, plans in five clouds (GCP, AWS, Azure, UpCloud and DigitalOcean) and about a hundred separate cloud regions. With us, you can take advantage of the best cloud and region combination.
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