Technology / System Admin

The Great Push Towards Multi-Cloud Environments: Explained

Great Push Toward Multi-Cloud Environments
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Published on November 21, 2022

AWS, the first major cloud provider, arrived on the scene back in 2006. Since its inception, it has held the largest market share, ergo learning how it works would be a very wise investment. Google Cloud arrived a couple of years later. Lastly, Microsoft Azure launched a couple years after that in 2010. 

These three vendors are the Triforce of cloud providers — and the general assumption has always been that you’d choose from one of those vendors and be set. However, in the year 2022, history has proven that simply isn’t the case.

The vast majority of organizations have adopted multi-cloud environments. For example, many organizations will leverage AWS for cloud automation, while using Azure to integrate with their existing CRM solution. After all, Microsoft Dynamics is the biggest name in CRM. With that in mind, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a thing or two about Azure administration as your organization prepares to move your customer’s data to the cloud. 

In this article, we’ll cover two main reasons why organizations have adopted multi-cloud environments. 

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1. Vendor Lock-in

Mitigating vendor lock-in is the biggest reason we see multi-cloud solutions. Let’s talk a little bit about what that means. Vendor lock-in occurs when a company contracts out a critical component of its business to a third party. Naturally, this third party will have rights over the source code. Now, this third party has considerable leverage over the company itself. This predicament is often known as vendor lock-in.

Finding yourself at the mercy of another organization to run your business is a terrible situation to be in, which is exactly why customers prefer multiple cloud providers. For example, let’s say you perform everything on AWS. Your continuous integration is done using Code PipeLine, your data is stored in S3 buckets, and your developers write software on Cloud 9 IDE. 

While it may seem convenient to house all these solutions in one place, it would be a hassle to switch if Amazon decided to raise its prices unacceptably high. So instead, organizations have opted to mitigate that risk by spreading to multiple clouds. Then, they can pick the most affordable solutions for their business needs.

A drawback to having a multi-cloud environment is that it can be difficult to share data between the cloud infrastructures. Also, it requires additional experts to handle the siloed environments. However, most organizations accept these risks.

At the end of the day, organizations base their decisions on what is most cost effective. Let’s take a look at how that mentality drives another reason organizations prefer multi-cloud solutions: the Best-of-Breed strategy.

2. Best-of-Breed

The Best-of-Breed strategy means taking the best traits of different competitors and combining them into a unique solution for your organization. It turns out that cloud computing is the perfect place to utilize this strategy. Let’s look at an example of how that would work. 

Let’s say Cloud Provider A has extremely reliable and inexpensive storage services. However, their VPN solution is expensive and has high latency. On the other hand, Cloud Provider B has an extremely robust VPN, but its storage solution is very expensive. The Best-of-Breed strategy would tell us to choose Cloud Provider A for our storage, and Cloud Provider B would handle everything regarding the VPN. This is an extremely common occurrence and is a primary driver of multi-cloud environments.

Another thing to take into consideration is that it’s not just about cost. Cloud Provider B may have a more expensive data transfer solution, yet it is far faster and more reliable. In a world where computing cost is paid by the minutes and seconds, it may be a wiser choice to pick the faster solution that costs more.

It can be said that dealing with multiple vendors is a downside to the Best-of-Breed strategy. It can lead to miscommunication and the fragmenting of expertise. However, the vast majority of businesses do not think this is a deal breaker. 

Final Thoughts 

Multi-cloud environments are a natural outgrowth of a competitive cloud market. Many organizations have fallen victim to vendor lock-in, and are deeply committed to avoiding that mistake again.

Instead of thinking of a cloud provider as a monolithic solution, think of it as a store you would shop at. You may go to the AWS store because it has the best storage, continuous integration, and virtual machines. 

However, the Azure store across the street has a suitable event-driven programming platform and a CRM solution you’re already familiar with. Once you look at cloud providers as a sum of their solutions instead of as a monolithic vendor, the drive to multi-cloud environments becomes crystal clear.


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