Understanding Multi-Cloud Environments


You’ve probably heard the term multi-cloud environment tossed around a lot lately, but do you really understand what it is?  Simply put, a multi-cloud environment is formed from two or more cloud computing services. Since no one provider offers a single solution that will fully address every requirement of a customer, typically more than one cloud service is leveraged to increase redundancy and/or maximize processing power. In doing so, the customer reduces its dependence on a single vendor, enabling increased flexibility throughout an enterprise environment. 

Multi-cloud environments help companies: 

  • Avoid vendor lock-in 
  • Manage data 
  • Optimize performance  
  • Lower risk of DDoS attacks 
  • Improve reliability  
  • Reduce costs  

It’s important to realize that although you may see the terms multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud used interchangeably, there is a distinct difference between the two. Unlike a multi-cloud environment, where different clouds are used for different tasks, the components of a hybrid cloud typically work together. As a result, data and processes tend to intermingle and intersect in a hybrid environment, while in a multi-cloud situation, usage typically remains in its “own” cloud’s silo.  

A multi-cloud strategy is the foundation for any fully digital, data-driven business and helps drive digital transformation with: 

  • Affordable innovation 
  • Standardization, centralization & automation 
  • Improved security & heightened risk visibility 
  • Cost effectiveness 
  • Scalability 
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Things to consider with a multi-cloud strategy:

  • What are you planning to move to the cloud, and why? 
  • What are you trying to accomplish internally; cost savings, security, disaster recovery, data-loss resilience, data sovereignty, access, scalability?  
  •  The organization of your applications and data. They operate differently, and a lot must be reconciled before selecting vendors. Categorizing your apps and data into groups can make them easier to rollout once cloud vendors are selected. 
  • What features matter most with your data in the cloud?  
  • Explore all factors and implications: cost savings, performance, redundancy, public/private clouds, cost of exporting data from the cloud, elasticity, and SLAs. All of these perform differently based on the amount of data and the specifics of the apps being taken to the cloud.  
  • Where are potential vulnerabilities, and what compliance and security measures are built in with each vendor?  
  • Do specific vendors require internal IT staff to manage each cloud platform? Do you have the resources to monitor, track spending, or even duplicate networking and security measures across all cloud instances?  
  • Who will be auditing your multi-cloud strategy; how often will it be evaluated; what is the methodology and who is monitoring backend analytics?  
  • How are you looking at data with regards to usage, optimization ,and performance?  

Depending what you are virtualizing, be it servers, databases and/or applications, they all require different vendors. Contact our team of Technology Advisors for guidance on your cloud migration strategies and to discuss your vendor options.