Key drivers for an organization to pursue a multi-cloud strategy
Cloud computing has changed service delivery across many business sectors, heralding a set of on-demand services fuelled by the Internet and associated technologies. Many early cloud adopters foresaw its potential and gained from it. The cloud also made it easier to incorporate highly useful features such as quality diagnostic tools, fraud management solutions, service desk automation, etc. Many enterprises still ruminating on the move to the cloud, found Covid-19 to be the much-needed trigger. The transition became a question of when rather than if, and not without reason. The cloud environment, rapidly populated with diverse offerings aided by dynamically evolving technologies, presents constant challenges. Organisations often choose to adopt a multi-cloud strategy to leverage the best possible services in cloud computing.
An enterprise adopts a multi-cloud strategy when it seeks the services of more than one cloud service provider to meet its business needs. Many credible industry reports suggest that it is multi-cloud environments that power most cloud deployments, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and BPAAS services. A 2019 Gartner article on the multi-cloud trend mentioned that most enterprises prefer to work with multiple cloud providers due to three main considerations - sourcing, architecture, and governance. A recent report from Acumen Research and Consulting pegged the global multi-cloud market size at USD 4,585 Million in 2021. This value is estimated to reach USD 49,894 million by 2030. It’s a noteworthy trend that could shape many industry aspects. So, what’s driving organisations to pursue a multi-cloud strategy? Let’s look at a few of these factors below.
- Avoiding vendor lock-in scenarios: A vendor lock-in scenario arises when an organisation depends only on one cloud for all its business needs. Such organisations may have to develop their products and services based on the capabilities of the cloud they are relying on, creating a handicap. A single cloud scenario can result in much effort, cost, and time in shifting from the same, even partially, if the need arises. Also, products and services should evolve with technological progress. A single cloud may not be able to support all the needs of the latest offerings. Organisations wanting to expand or shift to other Clouds for added benefits should be able to do so. Thus, avoiding such a lock-in situation with one cloud vendor becomes a prime driver for organisations to pursue a multi-cloud strategy.
- Augmenting disaster recovery: When you use the cloud to deliver services, it becomes imperative to have robust disaster recovery capabilities. Issues may crop up, and downtime often happens despite the best of intentions. Outages owing to the unavailability of apps and services do occur. It is tough to quickly recover from such unforeseen scenarios when organisations depend only on one cloud services provider. With a multi-cloud approach, organisations can move outage-facing service loads to another cloud environment to manage them better. Hence, the multi-cloud strategy is a risk mitigation approach that also helps optimise infrastructure fault tolerance. This approach is crucial to augment the disaster recovery capabilities of organisations.
- Adhering to regulations: Nowadays, data privacy is a prime issue for organisations and governments. Customers know their rights, and most governments have established stringent data privacy regulations. These policies may mandate localised data storage in every country that organisations should comply with. There could be a need to store the data of a country's citizens within its boundaries only. Not all cloud providers may provide services in all countries where the organisations are doing business, hence the necessity for compliance adherence often prompts organisations to pursue a multi-cloud strategy.
- Enhancing performance: Speed is key to many services delivered through the cloud. However, when organisations depend on a single cloud provider, chances of latency are higher. Network bottlenecks can bring in latency if data servers are too distant from the service delivery location, especially for high workloads. Since user experience is of utmost importance to organisations, they may adopt a multi-cloud strategy to avoid latency. High-speed data transfer features between modern cloud-based networks enable improved performances across geographies.
- Leveraging multiple strengths: Despite tall claims, one cloud provider may not be able to provide every feature that your business needs. Some apps and services may only run on specific cloud environments. A few cloud service providers may offer the most flexible business models, and others may have the most secure data environments suited for your business. Also, the architecture, infrastructure, and access control levels differ with every cloud provider. The backup, restore, and data governance policies may vary from your expectations. The quest for finding an optimum cloud service across these various features usually results in a multi-cloud strategy.
While these are few key considerations, there are few more drivers that prompt organisations to pursue a multi-cloud strategy. Organisations gain agility, flexibility, higher security, lower running costs, and greater business continuity through a multi-cloud approach.
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