Cloudy model is not a 'master key'

Not every business needs to be cloudy, but those that do need to consider three things.

In the uncertain economic environment, how to adapt to environmental changes quickly is one of the necessary skills for enterprises to survive and develop. Under the wave of global digitalization, cloud services have become a big boost for enterprises. And multi-cloud strategy has gradually become the consensus of cloud services. However, it is important to note that while interest in the cloud model continues to grow in many organizations, building a truly cloud-spanning infrastructure is complex and expensive, and the management, operations, and other challenges of the cloud model cannot be ignored.

Asim Razzaq, CEO and founder of cloud cost management company Yotascale, is on record as saying that not every enterprise needs to be multi-cloud, and that the choice to invest in a multi-cloud architecture depends on three things: how much computing needs the enterprise has, its budget, and redundancy.

Consider computing and computing costs
As a former director of engineering for PayPal's internal platforms, Razzaq has spent his career thinking about the cost, performance, and scalability of IT infrastructure, and has come to realize that no matter where an application is running, IT's important not to get stuck in a single strategy.

"Google Cloud is better in analytics and machine learning, Azure and AWS are better in coverage and core infrastructure," Razzaq said. If you're a Microsoft Store user, Azure is the best choice." There is no one-size-fits-all solution, it's all a trade-off.

Blake Murray, cloud research analyst at Canalys, agrees that modern superscale cloud vendors such as AWS, Google and Microsoft have built solutions that support multi-cloud architectures and are intrinsically more closely aligned with their competitors. "In general, technology is becoming more integrated and customers are starting to take advantage of connected ecosystems. "Supersized companies see the value in connectivity and are working to create more competitive solutions."

Razzaq mentioned that to deploy a multi-cloud strategy, the architecture must be focused. If you are thinking about cloud, it is difficult to migrate to a cloud environment if your existing architecture is not ready for the abstractions required by containers and microservices.

Razzaq also said companies should not hesitate to put some data or applications into another cloud for testing. Doing so can put pressure on the current service to get a bigger discount in the final deal.

"Handing over some of your workload to another vendor gives you more leverage in negotiations. It means, 'We have other options, so you'd better give us a more attractive discount'." Razzaq said.

Murray noted that while providing cloud support is part of every cloud vendor's business, cloud options only have an impact on the outcome of discount negotiations if the business is large and has a long performance time.

Murray tells us that moving data from one cloud to another can also be very expensive. He also points out that partnering with just one cloud vendor can lead to good discount results.

The need for redundancy
Some services are essential to the operation of a business and some are not. Razzaq said that when he was at PayPal, core services such as login and payment processing had to have failover capabilities, while less important systems such as coupons and analytics surveys didn't necessarily have that level of operational assurance. "The practical approach is to build redundancy for critical services," he says.

It's not enough to choose a cloud vendor that simply has a data center in another part of town, or in another part of the same grid, Razzaq said.

"A lot of times, a failure has a ripple effect where one service goes down and another dependent service goes down, creating even more trouble. So you need to build redundancy in cloud environments that are separate and in different regions."

Murray said relying on multiple independent suppliers may not be the right way to solve redundancy either.

He argues that while there are many benefits to being cloudy, cloudy environments often add complexity. And cloud vendors are pretty good at providing redundant support, so don't worry too much.

Should cloudy skies be avoided?
Gartner says many companies are choosing a multi-cloud strategy for basically the same reasons that Razzaq judges: these include improved agility, modular architecture and cost optimization. The two sides also agree on what kind of business should avoid cloudy skies.

Both sides agree that investment in a single platform can enhance an enterprise's understanding and mastery of expertise in a particular technology stack. This is ideal for businesses such as retail companies that focus on a single business, Razzaq said. So this kind of enterprise is not suitable to choose cloudy.

The decision to choose a multi-cloud architecture has nothing to do with the industry and everything to do with the nature of the workload itself, Murray said. "A single cloud environment also has a single skill set without the performance risks associated with cross-cloud migration, reducing the cost and administrative complexity of cross-cloud migration."

Murray also noted that it's best to avoid a multi-cloud strategy, given the compliance requirements and data sovereignty requirements of industries such as banking and healthcare.

So, is a multi-cloud strategy right for your enterprise? This requires careful consideration of many factors. At the end of the day, if in doubt about the need to go cloudy, it's best to stick with a single cloud vendor and plan ahead.

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Cloudy model is not a 'master key'