My Journey to the World of Multi-cloud: Benefits and Considerations, Part 2 of 4
Author: Antti Pohjolainen, Codento
This is the second part of my four blog post series covering my journey to the world of multi-cloud. The previous post explained the background of this series.
This post briefly presents what academic literature commonly lists as the benefits and challenges of multi-cloud architecture.
Benefits of using a multi-cloud infrastructure
Academic literature commonly names the following benefits derived from multi-cloud architecture:
- Cost savings
- Better IT capabilities
- Avoidance of vendor lock-in
Cost savings is explained by the fact that hyperscalers have fierce market share competition, which has resulted in decreasing computing and storage costs.
Increased availability and redundancy, disaster recovery, and geo-presence are often listed as examples of better IT capabilities that can be gained by using cloud services provided by more than one hyperscaler.
Perhaps the most important reason, at least from an academic literature point of view, to implement a multi-cloud architecture is the avoidance of vendor lock-in. Having services only from one hyperscaler creates a greater dependency on a vendor compared to a situation where there is more than one cloud service provider.
Thus, the term “vendor lock-in”. Typically, switching from one cloud service provider to another means considerable expenses, as switching providers often necessitates system redesign, re-deployment, and data movement.
To summarize, by choosing the best from a wide range of cloud services, multi-cloud infrastructure promises to solve the issue of vendor lock-in and lead to the optimization of user requirements.
Challenges with multi-cloud infrastructure
Implementing a multi-cloud infrastructure comes with a number of challenges that should be addressed in order to reap full benefits. The following paragraphs deal with the most commonly referenced challenges found in the academic literature.
When data, platforms, and applications are dispersed over numerous places, such as different clouds and enterprise data centers, new challenges emerge. Managing different vendors to ensure visibility across all applications, safeguarding various systems and databases, and managing spending add to the complexity of a multi-cloud strategy.
Complexity increases as the needs and requirements of each vendor are typically different, and they need to be addressed separately. As an example, hyperscalers frequently require proprietary interfaces to access resources and services.
Security is generally speaking more complex to be implemented in a multi-cloud environment than in one cloud provider architecture.
Multi-cloud requires specific expertise, at least from technical and business-oriented personnel as well as from the vendor management teams. Budgets for hiring, training and multi-cloud strategy investments are increasing, forcing businesses to develop new knowledge and abilities in areas like maintenance, implementation, and cost optimization.
Furthermore, it is said that using cloud computing can promote innovations, change the role of the IT department from routine maintenance to business support, and boost internal and external company collaborations. Thus, the role of IT may need to be adjusted when implementing a multi-cloud architecture.
The vendor management or procurement teams may need to learn new skills and methods to be able to select the suitable hyperscaler for different needs. Each hyperscaler has different services and pricing plans, and understanding those require expertise that might not be needed when working with only one hyperscaler.
What’s next in the blog series?
In the next post, I will discuss what I learned from the interviews I conducted for this research project. Stay tuned!
About the author: Antti “Apo” Pohjolainen, Vice President, Sales, joined Codento in 2019. Antti has led Innofactor’s (Nordic Microsoft IT provider) sales organization in Finland and, prior to that, worked in leadership roles in Microsoft for the Public sector in Finland and Eastern Europe. Apo has been working in different sales roles for longer than he can remember. He gets a “seller’s high” when meeting with customers and finding solutions that provide value for all parties involved.
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