The cloud is not simple. Multi-cloud solutions and other technologies are making the cloud more flexible, and more complex, says Cloudify CTO Nati Shalom.
The main reason businesses are moving to cloud is for agility, he said. The cloud allows companies to release applications and new products faster. What helps companies do that is by moving manual work into self-service mode, he said
One of the most interesting trends in the cloud market right now is networking. “Networking has been out of the game in many of the cloud infrastructures for the past 20 years,” he explained. Now there’s a complete disruption in that, for example the recent acquisition by Cisco.
For companies that are approaching the cloud in 2018, remember that there’s never going to be one platform that will solve all your problems, Shalom suggested. Secondly, people need to accept that the world is going to be hybrid, multi-stack, multi-cloud for a long time, the only thing that will be different is what’s old, current, and new. The way companies can adapt to those three pillars is to integrate with what you have to automate, rather than migrate and then automate, he said.
While Amazon continues to benefit from the “first mover” approach of launching AWS years before competing cloud services from other industry titans such as Google or Microsoft, AWS does not have a hegemonic control of the cloud market. As more competitors enter the field, the cloud market is more competitive than ever. As a result, organizations and developers are utilizing cloud services from multiple vendors—leading to the aptly-named paradigm of multicloud.
What is multicloud?
Multicloud is the practice of using cloud services from multiple heterogeneous cloud services, including private cloud and hybrid clouds with more than one public cloud component.
Why does multicloud matter?
Multicloud enables choice for organizations and application developers to be able to pick and choose what components are the best fit for a given purpose.
Feature availability and external integrations are also significant factors in multicloud formations. Organizations creating Alexa skills would be better served by using AWS to handle cloud-facing operations in that service. Accordingly, the available language support and depth of ability of natural language processing varies widely between different cloud providers, which could prompt developers to rely on different cloud vendors for different localizations of voice-controlled software. Other cloud or SaaS providers may be more specialized and not offer full-package compute and storage services, which would in most cases necessitate a multicloud deployment.
Another possible benefit of multicloud deployments, though remote, is cost savings. While there has been a long-standing price war between cloud vendors competing for market share, cost savings as a pretext for a multicloud deployment is unlikely, as the time required to create that integration is likely to cost more than the savings produced by using different cloud vendors for different services.
Who does multicloud affect?
Generally, organizations with specific integration needs are the most likely candidate for a multicloud deployment.
Generally, most multicloud deployments will be for applications or organizations that have specific needs or dependencies to satisfy, such as integrations with IoT devices or dependencies related to Windows or legacy software.
At the same time, cloud providers are affected by organizations that rely on a multicloud deployment. While cloud providers are not putting up barriers to interoperability or migrating to a different provider, customer retention is an increasing concern as cloud services are commoditized. According to Carson Sweet, CTO of cloud security firm CloudPassage, “Retention in most of the major cloud providers is achieved by crafting a value proposition that entices users to use more services on a broader scale. The idea now is to get customers to the point of being ‘all-in’ of the customer’s own volition… buyers have largely evolved well beyond getting ‘tricked’ into lock-in.”
When is multicloud happening?
This is happening on a case-by-case basis. As organizations outgrow the capabilities of their cloud service providers, services from additional vendors may be needed.
Multicloud has been gaining popularity as competitors to AWS have appeared, and particularly as specialized cloud vendors have gained traction. As organizations grow, it may be the case that their needs are not met by their existing cloud provider. Rather than migrate their entire business operations to a new cloud provider to satisfy the needs of one team or project, this becomes an optimal case for adding a secondary public cloud provider for a multicloud deployment.
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