Multi-cloud computing is a popular choice for organizations that have already adopted cloud services and don’t want to keep all their eggs in one basket. By selecting cloud services from different providers, you can avoid vendor lock-in, cloud data center outages, and bandwidth issues.
But this approach isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. When implemented poorly, a multi-cloud approach can lead to cloud sprawl, security concerns, and complex management procedures. In this article, we examine when it’s best to go with multiple cloud services instead of one, multi-cloud advantages and disadvantages, and best practices to prepare for the adoption of this model.
This post will be useful for development teams that are considering building a multi-cloud environment for their projects.
Market Research Specialist
Market Research Specialist
Multi-cloud computing is on the rise
When is it best to adopt a multi-cloud strategy?
Benefits of multi-cloud computing
What to consider before multi-cloud adoption
How to prepare for multi-cloud adoption
Multi-cloud computing is on the rise
Multi-cloud computing is often defined as a deployment model comprising cloud computing services provided by different vendors. In this article, we’d like to be more precise and follow Gartner’s definition: “the deliberate use of the same type of cloud services from multiple public cloud providers.”
Public and private clouds are two ways of delivering cloud computing services. Public cloud services utilize shared infrastructure, enabling many customers to access the same service. Customers’ data and activities are still private, but customers operate on the same remote servers. A private cloud service, by contrast, has only one customer. No one except that customer can access the remote server.
The choice between using public and private cloud services depends on an organization’s goal, IT budget, and cybersecurity risks. Most cloud computing vendors allow for combining public and private services. But in this case, you’ll create a hybrid infrastructure that does not share the pros and cons of a multi-cloud strategy.
Almost all organizations have adopted at least one cloud-based service by now. The 2020 IDG Cloud Computing Study found that 81% of organizations used cloud computing in their daily work, and 55% used more than one cloud service. The majority of IT decision-makers who participated in this study said that their organization would likely move more of their activities to the cloud during the next three years.
All types of companies choose multi-cloud computing because of its versatility. It can be combined with multiple Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solutions.
The most widespread implementation of multi-cloud computing today is a combination of IaaS environments. For example, an enterprise can prefer using Google Cloud Platform for machine learning and Amazon Web Services (AWS) for computing capacity. Using multiple SaaS solutions is the least common option for multi-cloud adoption, but it’s still possible. For example, an organization can use multiple cloud file sharing services for different types of data.
Having said that, multi-cloud isn’t a perfect solution for everyone’s problems. Some organizations can benefit from it, while others may lose more than they gain. Let’s see in which cases multi-cloud computing is most useful.
Explaining Cloud Computing Models: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS
When is it best to adopt a multi-cloud strategy?
You can benefit from multi-cloud adoption if you need to:
1. Deliver services globally. It’s challenging to provide quality services to clients all around the world when your infrastructure is hosted on-premises. Using only one cloud provider is also not an option, since the farther your clients are from the provider’s servers, the slower their connection. Using multiple cloud providers allows international organizations to acquire servers in regions close to their clients, ensuring an equally fast and stable connection for all clients.
2. Launch a product quickly. Time to market is an essential factor of a product’s success: a quick launch helps companies stand out among competitors and attract more clients. The multi-cloud model provides quick access to all the services an organization needs. That’s why organizations that want their products up and running fast usually choose the most suitable services from various cloud providers. Building a multi-cloud environment can save you time compared to designing and configuring a homogeneous or hybrid infrastructure.
Cloud Infrastructure Management Services
3. Merge companies. Mergers and acquisitions often require IT teams to figure out a way to combine two completely different environments. In cases when the companies that are being merged use different cloud providers, the simplest solution is to create a multi-cloud environment rather than completely rework the IT infrastructure.
4. Improve productivity of in-house processes. Satisfying the needs of a large organization with services from a single cloud provider isn’t always possible. For example, a product development company can deploy their key product with IBM Cloud, which provides a lot of configuration and management options, and use simpler services with preconfigured deployment options for a simpler and smaller pilot project. In this case, combining two cloud services is more convenient than looking for a compromise that works for all of the organization’s needs.
5. Develop artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software. The biggest cloud service providers like IBM Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure offer specific products, datasets, and dedicated hardware for AI development. Using them instead of creating an AI development environment from scratch helps organizations efficiently configure and train their algorithms.
Artificial Intelligence Development Services
Using multi-cloud computing for these purposes allows companies to experience the advantages of this model to the fullest. However, it’s not easy to deploy multiple cloud hosting environments in an enterprise, as it brings more issues with cloud service management, security, and performance. Let’s look closer at the multi-cloud pros and cons.
Benefits of multi-cloud computing
If you introduce multi-cloud computing to a project that really needs it and you clearly understand its goal, this deployment model can come with many advantages. Let’s take a look at the key benefits of a multi-cloud strategy:
1. Avoid vendor lock-in. If you use the cloud services of a single vendor, there’s a risk of limited flexibility, data loss, or service downtime because of the vendor’s local circumstances. You also become dependent on that vendor’s services and prices, since migrating the whole infrastructure from one cloud to another is challenging. A multi-cloud approach allows you to have a backup on another cloud service provider and be able to change vendors more easily.
2. Leverage innovative technologies. When building a multi-cloud environment, you can choose the most innovative vendors in each field. Major cloud service providers make adopting their products as fast as possible, saving you time to study and develop these technologies yourself. You also can quickly change one or several cloud vendors if you discover a newer or better fitting technology.
3. Increase infrastructure performance. Using high-speed resources located in different regions helps organizations achieve maximum infrastructure and bandwidth performance. Choosing several IaaS providers in several regions also allows you to improve the local user experience and balance the cost of infrastructure support with efficiency.
4. Improve business resilience and disaster recovery. Even the biggest and most reliable cloud service providers can have outages and downtime. When locked into a single vendor, an organization can’t do anything when that vendor experiences issues. Having several cloud providers enables an organization to switch to a backup cloud when their main vendor goes down.
5. Ensure IT compliance. Many countries have strict data handling requirements. One common requirement is that private data shouldn’t be stored abroad. However, not all cloud vendors have a data center in a particular country or region. By using the services of different cloud vendors that have servers in particular locations, companies can ensure ITAR and GDPR compliant app development.
6. Cut IT-related costs. The ability to choose suitable vendors both in terms of service quality and price helps you build the best possible infrastructure within your budget. You can also significantly reduce the cloud costs for your organization by using more affordable services from different cloud vendors.
Despite all the multi-cloud computing benefits, adopting this model may result in more losses than gains for some organizations. To avoid them, you need to know about important aspects of this model and prepare your organization for them. Let’s take a look at key aspects to keep in mind.
3 Secure and Effective Strategies for Migrating Corporate Applications to the Cloud
What to consider before multi-cloud adoption
According to the 2020 IDG Cloud Computing Study, 79% of organizations experienced challenges of multi-cloud adoption. Some of them can be prevented with a well-thought-through multi-cloud implementation, but some are integral parts of this model. Here are the key issues you can experience:
1. Management complexity. The more cloud vendors you work with, the more resources your IT team has to manage. Most vendors have their own technologies, interfaces, services, and languages. There’s little to no standardization across cloud-based services, so each service you use will likely require a unique management approach. If left unmanaged, your multiple clouds can cause cloud sprawl and the growth of shadow IT.
2. Need for cloud management expertise. When enterprises decide to adopt multi-cloud computing, they usually don’t have a dedicated DevOps team and in-house experts in application deployment and management in several cloud services. Lack of expertise either limits an organization’s choice of cloud platforms to those that are familiar or makes the organization search for outsourced cloud management experts.
3. Cost overhead. Though the cloud model is considered to be cost-saving for enterprises, it adds complexity to controlling cloud spending. Enterprises now have to constantly compare prices for cloud services and keep a close eye on their current cloud expenses. Additionally, they have to reconsider their need for certain cloud services to avoid cloud sprawl.
4. Security concerns. The responsibility of protecting data in the cloud is shared between your organization and cloud providers. Most vendors offer built-in cybersecurity tools to protect customers’ data. Nevertheless, working with multiple cloud services creates additional security risks. Thus, you need a multi-layered security approach when working with several cloud hosting environments. It’s also a good idea to carefully monitor your cloud resources and cooperate with trusted cybersecurity partners.
5. Performance inconsistencies. The performance of shared infrastructure depends on its server load and the number of users interacting with the service. That’s why going with smaller cloud vendors that have limited computing power may harm the performance of your products.
While some of these multi-cloud characteristics may be unavoidable, you can mitigate their effects on your organization by carefully planning the adoption of this model. In the next section, we share several best practices to get the most out of multi-cloud adoption.
Engineering for Cybersecurity Projects
How to prepare for multi-cloud adoption
Experiencing all the advantages of the multi-cloud model while tackling its challenges isn’t an easy job. The following practices may help you run your heterogeneous infrastructure smoothly:
1. Create a multi-cloud strategy. Take your time to develop a deliberate strategy for adopting multi-cloud computing. This stage may make the adoption process longer but will save you lots of time and effort on managing your infrastructure in the future. Usually, a multi-cloud strategy defines the following:
- Migration plans to transfer data from the current environment to multiple cloud environments
- A list of cloud service providers that best suit your business needs and goals
- A list of strategic cloud providers and services, along with possible alternatives
- Tiers of support and management that your cloud services require
- Technology stack, languages, management tools, policies, and practices you want to maintain across all of your cloud services
- Design of intercloud data exchange processes
- Risks of data concentration, vendor lock-in, and performance decreases for each cloud vendor
2. Build a DevOps pipeline. An enterprise’s integration with multiple cloud services puts additional pressure on the IT department. To cope with this pressure, enterprises need to build an efficient DevOps pipeline. DevOps activities should be agile and scalable to ensure continuous integration and continuous releases within the heterogeneous environment. DevOps engineers also require access to platforms and tools specially designed for working in multi-cloud environments. By taking these issues into account, you can efficiently build cloud-specific automation in a DevOps pipeline.
Introduction to DevSecOps with AWS: How to Integrate Security into DevOps
3. Unify the toolchain. While there’s no standardization among cloud providers, you need to unify your toolchain to make it compatible with as many cloud services as possible. For example, it’s best to ensure you use cloud storage that’s compatible with Amazon S3, or use Docker if you want to deal with containers. This approach will help you run your heterogeneous environment more smoothly and ensure easy migration of workloads across different clouds.
4. Monitor infrastructure performance. Cloud vendors offer their own monitoring tools, but for a heterogeneous environment, you may need an additional monitoring solution. It’s necessary for you to see the whole picture across different clouds. For this purpose, you can use commercial products developed with multi-cloud environments in mind or use open-source monitoring tools like Zabbix, Ganglia, or Nagios.
How to Select a Monitoring Tool for Your SaaS Project
5. Enforce cybersecurity mechanisms. Adopting multi-cloud computing creates more entry points and vulnerabilities that can lead to a security incident. While many cloud service providers offer built-in tools for data protection, organizations have to make sure their data is solidly protected. To do that, you can use the following tools and practices:
- Introduce robust access management and authentication procedures
- Manage any cloud-related secrets securely
- Establish secure data sharing procedures
- Back up cloud data periodically
- Audit your multi-cloud environment to discover new vulnerabilities, shadow IT, account creep, etc.
- Keep a changelog of user activities
6. Build long-term relationships with strategic vendors. Organizations that adopt a multi-cloud strategy usually have one or two key vendors that host most of their activities. Make sure to frequently communicate with your strategic vendors, provide them feedback, and suggest new features. Most vendors are open to client suggestions and will try to make their services more convenient for you.
How to Audit AWS Infrastructure Security Effectively: Expert Tips
Multi-cloud computing offers many advantages for enterprises and allows them to meet their current business needs, including IT budget optimization, access to best-in-breed services and technologies, and improved disaster recovery. However, not all organizations need to experience the benefits and advantages of multi-cloud computing.
Developing a multi-cloud environment and strategy that meets your business needs and mitigates cloud-related risks takes a lot of experience and expertise. That’s why many organizations decide to outsource cloud infrastructure management activities instead of building an in-house team.
Apriorit’s cloud computing and infrastructure management teams are ready to help you improve your existing multi-cloud infrastructure or build new infrastructure from scratch. Let's start discussing your ambitious project!
What are the benefits of cloud computing to an enterprise? ›
- Reduced IT costs. Moving to cloud computing may reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems. ...
- Scalability. ...
- Business continuity. ...
- Collaboration efficiency. ...
- Flexibility of work practices. ...
- Access to automatic updates. ...
- Also consider...
Essentially, a multi cloud deployment spreads an organization's computing resources and data across two or more public cloud services (as opposed to hybrid cloud, which includes private clouds). Multi cloud can include SaaS, Paas, and IaaS offerings in addition to traditional cloud hosting.What are the pros and cons of cloud based computing? ›
- Pros of cloud computing. Cost-efficient. Unlimited storage capacity. Backup and recovery. Forget about administrative or management hassles. ...
- Disadvantages of cloud computing. The costs. Technical issues. Dependent upon an internet connection at all times. Lack of Control.
- data loss or theft.
- data leakage.
- account or service hijacking.
- insecure interfaces and APIs.
- denial of service attacks.
- technology vulnerabilities, especially on shared environments.
Cloud computing is greener
By moving to the cloud, businesses can reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint by up to 90%. Rather than having in-house servers and software, businesses can use cloud-based services to access the same applications and data from any computer or device with an internet connection.
Also, industries including financial and banking, real estate, hotels and healthcare, production insurance can benefit from cloud computing services.What are the three 3 major advantages of cloud computing? ›
Other Important Benefits of Cloud Computing
Offers Resilient Computing. Fast and effective virtualization. Provide you low-cost software. Offers advanced online security.
Enabling. This is the most obvious value area, where cloud computing is delivering. Enabling means the use of cloud computing creates value by enabling other areas in the enterprise ecosystem to be faster, more efficient and more flexible. The classic characteristics of cloud computing make this obvious.Which are the key use cases for multi-cloud control? ›
- Expanding Cloud Backup Options to Cut Costs.
- On and Off-Ramping Data.
- Clustering Mission-Critical SQL Databases in the Cloud.
- Accelerating Development, Automating DevOps.
- Moving an Application Using Docker Containers.
- Using the Cloud for Disaster Recovery.
- Cloud Bursting for Free (Almost)
Using a multicloud architecture lowers the risk of downtime and data loss from, say, a power outage or ddos attacks. So, if one cloud service fails, a business can still operate by quickly switching to another cloud service provider.
Why use a multi-cloud strategy? ›
Implementing a multi-cloud strategy can help the company to run their applications 24/7 which offers an extra level of reliability because downtime of one cloud provider will not necessarily affect services from other cloud providers.What are the pros and cons of cloud computing in comparisons of distributed and grid computing? ›
Cloud computing provides real-time user-friendly services on a dedicated, high bandwidth internet connection and unlimited resources but its main disadvantage is that it needs a high-speed internet connection. Grids are heterogeneous, loosely coupled and geographically distributed, and better than traditional clusters.Who should not use cloud computing? ›
If your internet service suffers from frequent outages or slow speeds, cloud computing may not be suitable for your business. Another thing to consider is how dependent your business would be on cloud reliability — even the most reliable cloud computing service providers suffer server outages now and again.What are the 3 common reasons to use the cloud? ›
- File storage: You can store all types of information in the cloud, including files and email. ...
- File sharing: The cloud makes it easy to share files with several people at the same time. ...
- Backing up data: You can also use the cloud to protect your files.
Companies that utilize cloud computing resources can deploy applications faster and ramp up storage and computing power on demand. This IT agility allows businesses to respond to market changes and customer demands more quickly, leading to faster revenue growth.What is the main purpose of cloud computing? ›
Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.Which industry is biggest user of cloud computing? ›
- Digital Transformation.
- Next Gen Applications.
- Artificial Intelligence.
- Automation Everywhere.
- Cloud Enablement.
- Digital Workplace & Infrastructure.
- Digital Marketing.
Broadband internet access and the ubiquity of mobile devices make cloud computing a viable option for small businesses everywhere. Cloud computing delivers computing services over the internet. Small businesses have on-demand access to web-based applications, data storage, processing, and other services.Would cloud-based computing be suitable for all companies? ›
It's true that the cloud offers a nearly endless selection of options for small businesses through vast corporate enterprises, but no, it's not right for every company. The benefits of using cloud options over the outdated in-house IT model are clear: flexibility, affordability, scalability, and reliability.What are the two benefits of cloud computing? ›
Speed to market: Developing in the cloud enables users to get their applications to market quickly. Data security: Hardware failures do not result in data loss because of networked backups. Savings on equipment: Cloud computing uses remote resources, saving organizations the cost of servers and other equipment.
What is cloud computing and its benefits? ›
Cloud computing refers to the use of hosted services, such as data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software over the internet. The data is stored on physical servers, which are maintained by a cloud service provider.What are three business values of cloud technology? ›
- Business agility. ...
- New business models. ...
- Less operational issues. ...
- Better use of resources. ...
- Less capital expense.
The scalability of cloud computing allows companies to grow effectively. As the company expands, companies may increase their infrastructure and facilities without having to predict server needs or purchase additional storage capacity.
48% of businesses choose to store their most important data in the cloud. In fact, as of 2022, 60% of all corporate data is stored in the cloud. That means that a majority of businesses use the cloud for storage, and nearly half trust its security and reliability enough to store their more crucial data.Why do many organizations use the hybrid and multi cloud approach Accenture? ›
the public environment. As a result of these varied needs, many companies look to Hybrid Cloud to optimize application and data workload placement across Public and Private Clouds to maximize innovation, performance and contain costs—offering the “best of both worlds”.Why do many organizations use the hybrid and multi cloud approach Why do many organizations use the hybrid and multi cloud approach? ›
It ensures the business is completely dependent on a single provider. It combines the benefits of public and private Cloud providers. It eliminates the dependency on any private Cloud providers. It allows businesses to share control of their data with other businesses.Do companies use multiple cloud providers? ›
Cloud computing has gained nearly universal adoption. Today, 92 percent of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy in place or underway, and 82% of large enterprises have adopted a hybrid cloud infrastructure. On average, organizations are using 2.6 public and 2.7 private clouds.Is multi-cloud expensive? ›
Moving to a consistent multi-cloud environment is, on average, 33.6% less expensive than a move that will lock you into the platforms of the major cloud providers. Moving to a consistent multi-cloud environment is 25.8% less expensive than updating your data center with the latest technology.Which problem does a multi-cloud strategy help alleviate? ›
Greater efficiency and spend optimization: Beyond the flexibility to choose the most cost-effective cloud service, hybrid multicloud provides the most granular control over where workloads are deployed and scaled, enabling organizations to further improve performance (e.g., deploy closer to users to reduce latency) and ...What is multi-cloud strategies? ›
Multi-cloud is a strategy where an organization leverages two or more cloud computing platforms to perform various tasks. Organizations that do not want to depend on a single cloud vendor may choose to use resources from several different providers to get the best benefits from each unique service.
What are the typical criteria that organizations use to define multi-cloud strategy? ›
Multicloud computing decisions usually rest on three considerations: Sourcing: The desire to increase agility and avoid or minimize vendor lock-in. The decision may be driven by a variety of factors, including availability, performance, data sovereignty, regulatory requirements and labor costs.What are the key drivers for any organization to pursue a multi-cloud strategy? ›
One of the primary reasons for adopting a Hybrid Multi-Cloud strategy is to improve data management efficiency across all the resources that operate across multiple platforms and will be managed via Cloud Orchestration, reducing the overhead of switching from one infrastructure to another to pursue data or resources.What pros and cons of cloud computing exist in comparisons of cluster and utility computing? ›
- The cloud runs on an internet connection. ...
- You do not have full control. ...
- Although we mentioned security as a benefit, it can also be a disadvantage.
Cluster differs from Cloud and Grid in that a cluster is a group of computers connected by a local area network (LAN), whereas cloud and grid are more wide scale and can be geographically distributed. Another way to put it is to say that a cluster is tightly coupled, whereas a Grid or a cloud is loosely coupled.What are 5 reasons why a company should use virtualization? ›
- Slash your IT expenses. ...
- Reduce downtime and enhance resiliency in disaster recovery situations. ...
- Increase efficiency and productivity. ...
- Control independence and DevOps. ...
- Move to be more green-friendly (organizational and environmental)
Virtualization helps companies achieve faster and easier backup and recovery of key application workloads and data. It also enables you to more cost- effectively switch to a secondary IT site and restore critical business operations.Why might a company not use virtualization? ›
Some applications' licenses simply don't allow them to be run in virtual machines. You don't want to be doing anything that contravenes the licenses your company agreed to (you did read the license before opening the packaging, didn't you?), so that means server virtualization is out of the question in these cases.What is a disadvantage of a cloud-based enterprise system? ›
Disadvantages of Cloud-Based ERP Systems
The main drawback of cloud-based solutions is that the provider can access your data. Many companies have lots of sensitive data, and accessing it requires a high level of clearance. This is a reason why many defense and aerospace vendors choose on-premise solutions.
Downtime. Downtime is considered as one of the biggest potential downsides of using Cloud Computing. The cloud providers may sometimes face technical outages that can happen due to various reasons, such as loss of power, low Internet connectivity, data centers going out of service for maintenance, etc.What are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile application? ›
The advantages of mobile apps include convenience, easy communication with customers, and online usage. The disadvantages of mobile apps include difficulty to create, the cost to create them, the cost to make them available to people, and the need for updates and support.
What are the most important advantages of cloud technologies for social networking application? ›
Cloud storage helps social media applications to run smoothly. Apart from data storage, cloud services also offer cost-effective analytics for these sites. Another advantage of cloud computing is data backup and recovery in case of any disaster.What is cloud computing for enterprise resource planning? ›
Cloud ERP is enterprise resource planning software that is accessible over the Internet. As the IT backbone or “brains” of a company, cloud ERP software provides advanced functionality for all the core processes in an organization.Why would a company choose On Premise over cloud for its ERP system? ›
Greater control over system security – While cloud-based ERP systems offer an array of security measures to protect clients' information and data, on-premises system offer businesses ultimate control over their data and security.Would IT be better for an organization to use a cloud-based ERP system why or why not )? ›
Cloud ERP systems are superior to on-premises ERPs for several important reasons. Cloud ERP systems are accessible from anywhere, are nearly always online, and don't require the same company IT resources for maintenance and upgrades. In the long-run, cloud ERP solutions may offer cost savings and better performance.Would cloud-based computing be suitable for all companies? ›
It's true that the cloud offers a nearly endless selection of options for small businesses through vast corporate enterprises, but no, it's not right for every company. The benefits of using cloud options over the outdated in-house IT model are clear: flexibility, affordability, scalability, and reliability.Which of the following is a disadvantage of enterprise IT systems? ›
The correct answer is option C. Its implementation requires a large commitment of time and people.What are the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in communication? ›
Advantages of Communication Technology:
- more efficient.
- faster method of cummunication during emergencies.
- able to communicate from anywhere in the world.
- long distance communication is easier.
- communication made easier.
As nouns, the difference between disadvantage and advantage is that disadvantage is a weakness or undesirable characteristic; a con while the advantage is any condition, circumstance, opportunity, or means, particularly favorable to success, or any desired end.What is the use of cloud computing in business applications? ›
Cloud Computing or simply cloud provides users anywhere, anytime and any device access given they have internet availability. In the ever changing, ever challenging and competitive business environment, it is vital to have access to mission critical data exactly when required irrespective of the device and location.What's the most popular use case for public cloud computing today? ›
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
It offers all the resources needed to enable users to deliver functional and customized applications. PaaS providers and products are typically concerned with software development. It is one of the topmost use cases of cloud computing.