Managing a multi-cloud strategy: the challenges and benefits

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Cloud computing involves the delivery of services such as server access, data storage, analytics, and software by a hosting provider. Cloud computing is becoming increasingly important as it allows businesses to keep their data and manage internal processes remotely without relying on their own servers. Instead, everything can be done over the Internet. Organizations using cloud service providers are able to access, manage, and pay for only the services they need, when they need them. 

When organizations decide to migrate all of their data and applications to the cloud, they need to decide between a single cloud or a multi-cloud strategy. Organizations may only need a single cloud if they are on a budget or do not require significant support for their applications. A multi-cloud strategy, or using several cloud providers, may be necessary to prevent any downtime or data loss when serving multiple applications. 

While a multi-cloud strategy is more sophisticated, managing a multi-cloud infrastructure comes with its own unique set of challenges. Managing a multi-cloud strategy can be an arduous process; however, if done correctly, it can yield valuable results for businesses. 

Advantages of a multi-cloud strategy

Avoid vendor lock-in

One of the biggest risks of committing to one cloud service provider is the fact that the entirety of an organization’s internal processes relies on one provider. In other words, organizations may face vendor lock-in. 

Businesses using a single cloud service need to be aware of any compatibility issues or how changes to a provider’s policies and products will affect their daily operations. A multi-cloud strategy can help make an organization impervious to these concerns because any issues that occur with one cloud service provider will not affect the organization’s data stored on another provider.

Ability to select the optimal service

A multi-cloud strategy allows companies to choose specific services from specific providers. Not only does this allow businesses to reduce their overall costs, but it also helps them find the most suitable services according to their needs. 

A multi-cloud strategy also increases the chance of qualifying for discounts and offers to cut the costs even more. Finally, most cloud service providers have management tools that help organizations optimize the value they’re getting from the service. Businesses can utilize these tools to monitor, optimize, and automate their activities.

Increased reliability

When it comes to cloud service providers, reliability is one of the main concerns of big companies. By relying on a single hosting provider, businesses are likely to experience some downtime. This can seriously hamper business and its profitability. 

Having a reliable cloud service provider is imperative for any organization that deals with data. With that said, downtime is a potential risk that management teams must consider when using a single cloud approach. A multi-cloud strategy is one of the best ways to circumvent this risk as it allows for more operational independence.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Image credit: Shutterstock

Main challenges of a multi-cloud strategy

Multi-cloud familiarity

Even though a multi-cloud strategy provides some obvious advantages, it can be more complex to manage compared to the traditional single-cloud approach. The entire process is highly dependent on planning and the ability to choose the right cloud providers. To avoid any difficulties, businesses should familiarize themselves with both the benefits and challenges before switching to multi-cloud. 

One option is to hire a consultant or an expert on a short-term basis who can help implement a multi-cloud strategy. If everything is done correctly, businesses shouldn’t have to repeat the setup process. Once a multi-cloud strategy is established properly, and the right hosting providers have been chosen, companies can enjoy the benefits of multi-cloud without additional costs going forward. In the long run, hiring a one-time consultant or expert can be very cost-efficient.

Potential security issues

The second challenge businesses can potentially face involves security. Before committing to any providers, organizations should have a thorough discussion regarding security. Organizational leaders and project managers should educate themselves about each hosting provider’s responsibilities, and how each provider responds in the case of a breach or data loss. It’s crucial to find providers who are willing to make an extra effort in order to protect their clients. Needless to say, this process should be repeated for each cloud service provider that an organization is considering. 

Last considerations

Managing a multi-cloud strategy is more complex than a single-cloud approach. Still, the benefits can significantly outweigh the challenges. Many of the potential issues are preventable at the beginning of the process if organizations plan well, select the right hosting providers, and implement their strategies correctly. When everything is done correctly, a multi-cloud strategy can have a positive impact on organizations of all sizes and help them scale their operations considerably.

Dmitriy Akulov, Founder of appfleet

Dmitriy Akulov

Dmitriy Akulov is the Founder of PerfOps, which offers load balancing, smart global routing services, and infrastructure monitoring. Dmitriy is a web performance expert with years of experience in the CDN and DNS industries.

He likes to work with servers and high availability systems, he manages projects and developers, contribute to open source and build big and complex services. He is the founder of PerfOps,  Prospect One, jsDelivr.