Multi-cloud – is it what we thought?
Early ideals in multi-cloud
In the early days of Cloud, there was much talk of a multi-cloud approach. As the number of public Cloud providers grew, and then subsequently shrunk, solutions emerged to enable multi-cloud. “You can move workloads between Cloud providers” they promised. “Avoid vendor lock in”. Did they deliver what they promised, and, more importantly was it a problem for which we needed a solution?
Adoption of a multi-cloud strategy was often based around a desire for a multi-vendor strategy. Failure of an organisation such as AWS is a extremely unlikely scenario and is likely to impact almost every service that your organisations consumes from the Internet today. So what about the availability solution provided by a single Cloud vendor? Does it meet the needs of your business? AWS has three independent Availability Zones in the Australian region, all housed in separate data centres with independent hardware, interconnected seamlessly with high bandwidth and low latency networks. This standard offering from AWS is likely to exceed the requirements of most organisation’s DR. In addition, it is delivered at a cost that would be impossible to match independently.
All public Cloud vendors use their own management paradigms which cannot be easily translated to a secondary provider. Some brokerage services exist but the market is still somewhat immature and the tools are always playing catchup with new services. Translation between environments often requires custom scripting and tooling and there is the constant challenge of managing data between environments. Avoiding vendor lock by using fundamental Cloud services only is always a trade off – portability vs more sophisticated and integrated higher value solutions.
Are you already using multi-cloud?
Instead, multi-cloud is actually happening in your organisation today but not how you expected. The rise of Shadow IT and Internet based SaaS solutions means that your organisation probably relies on tens of Cloud based solutions today. Choosing the right provider for a specific workload is likely to be your multi-cloud vendor approach. Whilst this may make sense from a vendor capability approach, it does add complexity to the operational management of the entire technical environment, particularly if you are dealing with IaaS solutions. You now have many more cloud environments to operate, secure and manage access.
At RedBear IT, we advocate for “walking before you can run”, following a practical approach that delivers business value as early as possible. We believe that starting small and building the knowledge around designing and operating Cloud solutions usual yields the best result for an organisation. As the understanding evolves, more complex tasks and solutions can be selected to adopt Cloud services.