Is Multi-Cloud Forcing Single-Cloud Specialists to Adapt or Die?
Multi-cloud application is growing in importance as more and more SMEs and large businesses look to adopt the strategy in order to offer their clients the best of many worlds. Instead of becoming a niche decision to get ahead, it is now a mainstream practice and those who have not adopted it could be at risk of falling behind.
With consultancies being the key source of multi-cloud solutions, the emphasis is on them to change their product, offering to ensure that the multi-cloud needs of their clients are met.
Multi-Cloud Offers Greater Flexibility, but at What Cost?
While much of the motivation for early multi-cloud application adoption came from uncertainty about cloud reliability and a fear of data loss or downtime, it also came from a desire not to fall into the trap of vendor lock-in which can be potentially expensive for clients.
The ability to tailor the cloud experience to get the best of every key player has been a strong pull for companies, as well as the ability to have data physically reside in certain locations in order to comply with often complex data protection laws. A multi-cloud strategy also greatly enhances disaster mitigation across many different scenarios – a strong selling point to many clients. Consultancies need to provide the flexibility and advantages that multi-cloud can offer without incurring excessive costs that makes them uncompetitive.
With the average cost of downtime being around $100,000 an hour, spreading the risk across multiple cloud systems reduces the risk associated with a DDoS attack.
Building a Cost-Effective Multi-Cloud Offering
A multi-cloud application strategy usually revolves around four key vendors: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft Azure and IBM. This can raise initial difficulties, as most cloud software professionals and engineers tend to specialise in just one of these applications and do not tend to branch out over multiple offerings. This can result in the need to recruit more staff or increase training for current staff.
“The growth of multi-cloud reflects the changing needs of businesses” says Jamie Harper, Senior Consultant, DevOps, Cloud and Open Source, at Empiric. “It is something that Developers need to adjust to and become multi-skilled across different cloud platforms to maximise their attractiveness to potential employers”.
Once again, consultancies need to weigh up the cost benefits of investing in additional resource and the potential business returns. The prevalence of transferable skills is vital as professionals within a multi-cloud strategy are required to have a degree of knowledge in a wide variety of areas in order to not only carry out their job, but be able to do so effectively and in response to an ever-changing environment. It is also important that there is a flexible team structure in place that can respond quickly, easily and with minimum disruption to the changing needs of clients. The multi-cloud environment constantly changes in line with both technological advances and the business environment, so any professionals operating within it must be able to adapt quickly and with little fuss.
Factoring in Data Security
Consultancies and clients need to take into account the increased need for security as data moves from one cloud to another. This is in addition to the fact that each cloud provider may set its own security standards which can differ from one another. Although multi-cloud applications in business are not inherently less secure than a single-cloud option, it does open up an avenue of potential attack that was not there before.
“Data storage and security is paramount for a successful multi-cloud application” says Harper. “With businesses now ensuring that they are GDPR compliant, Developers need to guarantee that data and the transfer of information from one cloud to another is secure and protected.”
Know Your End Goal
One of the most important things to bear in mind as a result of multi-cloud application becoming the norm is that every IT decision maker needs to make sure that there is a clear, succinct strategy in place for integrating and managing multi-cloud applications across their businesses and their client support. This will be key in allowing easy scalability whilst keeping any disruption at an absolute minimum.
For consultancies, advising clients to switch from a single-cloud to a multi-cloud can be a complex decision for the client, requiring some careful thought and planning. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks and result in a more flexible, accessible and customisable system which can enhance both the general business operations and the experience of the end client or customer.
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