To accelerate the next phase of digital transformation, enterprises are taking advantage of multicloud platforms and services. Multicloud differs from hybrid cloud in that it refers to multiple cloud services from different vendors rather than multiple deployment modes (on-premise, public and private). Multicloud and hybrid cloud are also both mutually exclusive because the cloud will either be interconnected (hybrid cloud) or not (multicloud).
Instead of a business using one vendor for cloud hosting, storage and the full application stack, in multicloud they use several. These deployments have several users. It can leverage multiple IaaS vendors or use a different vendor for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Multicloud involves creating a single heterogenous architecture and deploying a single workload with different infrastructure providers. Multicloud service standardises one or more functional areas across clouds with a consistent API, object model, identity management and other core functions.
Common functions provided by a multicloud service include: app services (messages, AI/ML), infrastructure services (compute, storage), security services (network detection and response (NDR), endpoint detection and response (EDR)), end-user services (virtual desktop, mobile device management, end-user application delivery), and data plane services (workloads and data that create applications, business analytics and offerings).
Multicloud environments reduce complexity and services are on a “horizontal” - providing functionality across locations. Multicloud services extend and complement the native services on each cloud while also providing consistency. Organisations use multicloud management tools or a multicloud management platform to monitor and manage their multicloud deployments as if they were a single cloud environment.
Sometimes, Multicloud can come about unintentionally because of Shadow IT. Shadow IT is when internal teams set up technical systems or use software products without official approval or oversight from the larger organisation (i.e. a company’s employees use a chat app that isn’t sanctioned or managed by the company to communicate about business activities). Shadow IT can find its way into application architecture too – either as a short cut for getting things done, or out of necessity, employees may incorporate cloud services into a company’s technology stack before receiving official approval.
There are numerous benefits to switching to a multicloud environment. One of these benefits is proximity. When hosted by a regional, public cloud, a multicloud workflow allows quicker response time for faster collaboration. This is a high speed, low latency infrastructure, therefore improving on application response times and creating a greater user experience for your customers.
Multicloud environments also help protect your business from outages. It provides scalable backup for your data, helping to prevent data loss. improved observability which in turn can improve application performance and security.
Enterprise businesses switch to multicloud to avoid vendor lock-in and ensure enterprise sovereignty. The costs can be spread across multiple environments to help reduce cloud spend. reduced operational overhead by managing applications and infrastructure with the same toolsets across clouds.
Overall, be sure to research vendors to make sure they align with the values of your organisation and match your cloud strategy during your consideration of switching to a multicloud environment.