How to choose the right multi-cloud architecture?

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According to Asim Razzaq, founder and CEO of cloud cost management company Yotascale, clouds aren't for everyone, but there are three things you need to know before you embrace them.

Judging from current market opinion, it seems that companies generally believe that if they do not quickly develop a cloud strategy, they will be swallowed by the tide of The Times. So it seems that the publicity effect of cloud business is really amazing.

According to Gartner, more than 75% of enterprises now use multiple cloud services, including some giants. Boeing recently decided to split its legacy business between AWS, Google Loud, and Microsoft Azure. There are advantages to choosing multiple cloud providers, but AsimRazzaq said in an interview that the decision to embrace a multi-cloud architecture comes down to three basic points: what computing needs, budget and redundancy an enterprise has.

Consider calculating and accounting costs
Razzaq was a former engineering director for PayPal's in-house platforms and for the EbayX.Merce program, which was built around local infrastructure. Since then, he has been thinking about cost, performance, and scalability and realized that no matter where the application runs, it should not be limited to a single strategy.

Combining years of practical experience, he offers some insights on cloud operations.

"Google Loud tends to be better at analytics and part of machine learning loads, whereas Azure and AWS are better at broad coverage and good core infrastructure," Razzaq said. Also, Azure works better if you already use a lot of Microsoft products. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. It's all about trade-offs."

BlakeMurray, cloud research analyst at Canalys, also applauded Razzaq's argument that modern superscale cloud providers such as AWS, Google and Microsoft have come up with off-the-shelf multi-cloud architecture solutions that are essentially more tightly integrated with their competitors. "In general, technology is becoming more integrated and customers are taking advantage of the benefits of a highly connected ecosystem," Murray said in an interview. "Megastores themselves see the value of this interoperability and are more inclined to create competitive solutions."

Architectural considerations are also important. In an interview, Razzaq emphasized that if you are thinking about moving to multi-cloud, your existing architecture is not ready for the high level of abstraction required by containers and microservices, it will be difficult to move to multi-cloud.

Razzaq also pointed out that companies should be sure to dump some data or applications to another cloud environment for testing. This can test the load and fit of the new cloud platform, but it can also put pressure on the current service to get a bigger discount for future cooperation.

"It definitely gives us more leverage in the negotiations to transfer some of our workload to another provider," Razzaq said. "We're already engaged with another service provider. You'd better give us a more sincere discount." "

Murray pointed out that while every cloud service provider will provide cloud support within their business architecture, the cloud portfolio will only have a material impact on the outcome of negotiations if they reach a certain scale and are willing to make attractive long-term contract extensions.

Murray also told us that moving data between different cloud environments can be quite expensive, and you can still negotiate a good discount even if you choose only one cloud service provider from start to finish.

Redundancy requirements
Some services are necessary to run a business, but others are less demanding. Razzaq said, for example, that when he worked at PayPal, core services such as login and payment processing were fail-over, while less important systems such as coupons and analytics and surveys did not require stringent uptime guarantees. The most practical approach is to build redundancy only for critical services."

"It's not enough if the cloud provider you choose is just another location in the same city, or another part of the same grid," Razzaq said. Many times, an emergency can cause a chain reaction: one service goes down, another dependent service goes down, and then the whole system quickly collapses. So, be sure to build redundancy in a cloud environment that is separate and in different regions."

But Murray disagrees, arguing that relying on multiple providers doesn't necessarily solve the problem of redundancy. While a multi-cloud architecture has many advantages, it is often more complex. Murray also added that cloud providers are very good at providing redundant support, so there's nothing to worry about.

Who should stay away from a multi-cloud architecture?
The report released by Gartner is basically consistent with Razzaq's judgment that most enterprises choose a multi-cloud strategy for the following reasons: improving agility, implementing modular architecture, and realizing cost optimization. In addition, both sides reached similar conclusions on the question of who should stay away from a multi-cloud architecture.

Both agree that investments in a single cloud platform tend to deepen an enterprise's professional understanding of a particular technology stack. For a single-business company like a retailer, Razzaq said, it's possible to focus on one technology stack and avoid splitting energy too much. So this kind of specific industry enterprises had better not choose cloudy.

But Murray thinks the choice between cloudy and cloudy is less about industry and more about the nature of the workload itself. A single cloud environment requires only one set of skills, with no performance risks across clouds, reducing potential cross-cloud migration costs and reducing administrative complexity. "In Murray's view, industries that are subject to stringent regulatory and data sovereignty requirements, such as banking and healthcare, are better off moving away from a multi-cloud architecture.

So, is a multi-cloud architecture right for us? This is a complex issue that requires careful consideration. At the end of the day, if you can't convince yourself that you have to choose multiple cloud providers, you're better off going the single cloud route.

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