Not too long ago, many organizations would wrestle with the opportunities and negative consequences of cloud technology. Back then, many had qualms about placing their valuable data to a faraway storage location that, when jeopardized, could potentially cause a major operational disturbance. What’s even more doubtful about the cloud is that it’s intangible – there’s no hardware that you can monitor 24/7.
So the logical thing to do is to spread the risk either over several cloud providers or to off-cloud infrastructure, or both. But with the SLAs and redundancy being offered by most cloud providers today, it seems that such a move may be unnecessary. However, we can’t discount historical events that suggest otherwise. Remember the Amazon EC2 outage last year?
One cloud still poses risks
There are many cloud providers today that claim to have an all-in-one package that’s simple yet scalable, powerful, and easy to install. However, such providers don’t really suggest that you distribute cloud-associated risks over multiple solutions. Instead, they offer a combination of private and public clouds or hybrid clouds. But at the end of the day, it’s still one and the same cloud they’re offering you, just with an extra location.
But apart from hedging outage risks, there are other reasons why your organization should opt for multi-cloud providers. For one, you’ll benefit from geographical diversity and get served from different data centers found in different locations. Next, you’ll get to choose which provider will provide you with the best infrastructure for specific workloads. Think of cloud providers as suppliers. Keep your independence and prevent supplier lock-ins by sustaining good relationships with many suppliers. This way, you’ll be able to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each and choose which of them will be able to cater to your requirements. Then there are also legal issues such as country laws saying that data that originated from a specific country (i.e. Germany and UK) should remain within it. And so on.
Multi-cloud platforms are becoming the trend
In the 2012 State of Cloud Computing research done by InformationWeek, results reveal that a staggering 73% of survey respondents were utilizing several cloud providers. This is due to the fact that the IT teams of most organizations today support different applications, hardware infrastructure, and operating systems. Hence, it’s not surprising that they have embraced a multi-cloud provider approach.
Having multiple cloud providers has a downside too
It’s good to know that there are many deployment platforms out there that seek to make the use of multiple clouds easier. But even with such platforms in place, you’d still have to fully know the requirements of each and every cloud provider you choose.
Take note that while the main objective of a multi-cloud solution is to minimize risk, it inevitably increases complexity. You’d have double, triple, or even more – depending on how many cloud providers you want – configuration and changes to constantly monitor. What even makes things more difficult is that you need to deploy your system across cloud platforms that are different from each other, meaning you’d have to pay closer attention to specific requirements of a particular stack.
Bear in mind that if your organization is unable to account for the added complexities of a multiple-cloud approach, the reliability of the applications in the cloud will be jeopardized. Performance and security issues may arise as a result of the failure to properly identify and keep track of the changing configurations that are specific to cloud platforms.
Use multiple cloud providers to achieve redundancy
Remember that redundancy in applications, data, and systems in the cloud simply cannot be attained with the use of a single cloud provider. If you really want to get true redundancy, you have to enlist the services of several cloud providers, but at the same time you have to prepare yourself for the monitoring of servers, bandwidth, application performance, configuration, and so on. Of course, there are services out there that will help you look after your cloud deployments and guide you in building the right infrastructure for your organization’s specific requirements. You would be wise to avail of such services to ensure that your multi-cloud vendor works well for you.
Be Part of Our Cloud Conversation
About the Guest Author
Rodolfo Lentejas, Jr. is a fulltime freelance writer based in Toronto. He is the founder of the PostSckrippt, a growing online writing business dedicated to producing top quality, original and fresh content. To know more about him, please visit www.postsckrippt.ca. Like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.