A multicloud approach involves leveraging two or more cloud providers to meet an organization’s infrastructure needs, leverage the best cloud technologies and control cost.

Rather than using a single cloud vendor that covers hosting, storage, and applications, a multicloud approach involves the use of several. That cloud mix may look like a combination of Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), for example. You might select which services from each provider will be best for your organization based on technical requirements, costs, and the need to manage workloads.

Multicloud solutions are most often built on open-source, cloud-native technologies that are supported across the major public cloud providers. It combines software-as-a-service (Saas), Platform-as-a-Service (Paas), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) deployments, and in an ideal architecture, applications and resources are managed centrally as though they were part of a single cloud.

How is a multicloud environment different from a hybrid cloud?

Both refer to cloud architecture, but they’re very different. For starters, multicloud involves multiple clouds of the same type (public or private).

Hybrid cloud solutions, on the other hand, are made up of a combination of private and public clouds, which means that they can be integrated.

What are the benefits of multicloud?

Proponents of multicloud say that when your business is locked in to just one cloud vendor, it can be limiting in terms of both technology and performance. A multicloud approach is said to offer these benefits:

EFFICIENCY OF CLOUD SPEND: Vendor lock-in can sometimes cost you, because it forces you to develop applications that are reliant on that vendor’s capabilities. But with multi-cloud, you can optimize your cloud investment by opting for the best cloud service for each use case.

FLEXIBILITY: Not being locked into a single cloud provider means you can take advantage of the agility and portability offered by leveraging services from a variety of cloud vendors.

ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY: Because different cloud providers offer different technologies, multicloud deployment puts you in the position to take advantage of the best-performing or best-suited technologies to help you meet your goals.

RELIABILITY AND REDUNDANCY: If one cloud goes down, everything doesn’t go down. Distributing risk across different cloud providers reduces the impact of outages and unplanned downtime.

HEIGHTENED ABILITY TO REIN IN SHADOW IT: Different departments or business units often adopt and implement platforms and technologies that help them meet their marching orders, but that are independent of IT. Having an IT-directed and sanctioned multicloud effort can help manage this issue and ensure IT and other parts of the business are aligned.

What are the challenges of a multicloud approach?

Not everyone agrees that multicloud is the best solution. While many companies have found it to be ideal, that doesn’t mean it’s the inarguable right approach for all.

SECURITY: Multicloud computing can put a strain on internal teams from a security standpoint. Many security professionals have reported that adopting a multicloud creates additional security challenges and vulnerabilities, in part because it involves configuring and managing security, encryption and compliance across multiple environments.

MANAGEMENT COMPLEXITY: Because there are several vendors, it can be harder to have total visibility into data and processes running on multiple clouds. The level of technical expertise increases, as well. For some organizations, multilcloud can be a burden that doesn’t save in the long run, because you must pay for the capabilities that can help you realize the benefits. Otherwise, you’re not making the most of multicloud.

Should You Use Multicloud?

Often companies find themselves needing to expand their cloud infrastructure during periods of major growth or when they acquire new businesses that are using different clouds. For these companies, using a multicloud approach may be fitting, whether the different clouds solve different needs or it’s not the highest priority to migrate all to a single cloud, or something else.

But a thoughtful multicloud strategy should be in place, as should resources to manage cloud workloads and spend. Otherwise, multicloud can lead to wasted resources and inefficient use of each cloud service.

What’s Next

Do you want to find out which approach to cloud computing is the right one for your business? Every business is different, and we have the right expertise and resources needed to help you harness the full power of the cloud in the way that is best suited for you. Contact us to get started today.