Cloud platforms are becoming a standard feature within most organisations in varying degrees. However, as digital transformation grows, many are discovering that to fulfil all their requirements they need to look at different multi-cloud solutions.

As a result, organisations are increasingly adopting a multi-cloud strategy to achieve their business requirements. This is reinforced by the recent Voice of the Enterprise (VotE) Digital Pulse survey, produced by analyst company 451 Research, which states that 60 percent of enterprises will run the majority of their IT outside the confines of enterprise data centres by the end of 2019.

Source: 451 Research 

What is a multi-cloud strategy?

With a multi-cloud approach, organisations use a mix of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), such as public cloud like Microsoft Azure combined with on-premise and private cloud platforms, to share workloads, assets, software, applications and anything else between them.

Why adopt a multi-cloud platform?

Organisations used to have to choose to use public, private or hybrid cloud  – which typically posed a challenge as each platform comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Not anymore. Cloud technology has changed. Businesses are no longer obliged to move between cloud platforms but, for example, can bring Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud or Citrix together in one system to efficiently operate their business. Today, more and more organisations are choosing to work with multiple cloud providers to realise their cloud strategies.

The benefits of multi-cloud computing for your organisation

Adopting a multi-cloud approach delivers a number of notable advantages:

1) More choice

Cloud-hosting providers come in many different shapes and sizes, and its unlikely one single provider is a perfect fit. Working with multi-cloud platforms offers the ability to use the best of every platform, creating a bespoke infrastructure specific to an individual business depending on their organisational goals.

2) Greater reliability

A multi-cloud strategy can also improve reliability, as your data is no longer stored in one single place. If one host fails, the business can still operate by simply using another platform it has stored in the multi-cloud system.

3) Avoid vendor lock-in

Using a multi-cloud infrastructure gives organisations greater leverage over vendors, as it allows them to shift between platforms and avoid workloads being ‘locked-in’ to a single cloud provider. The ability to transfer between cloud service providers, based on business needs such as performance, security and productivity, allows organisations to have more autonomy to use the best cloud platform fit for each business function.

4) Cost-effective

Having greater control is also cost-effective. A multi-cloud service gives organisations the ability to use the best platform, fit for each specific workload, at the best price. Multi-cloud solutions also reduce on-premise IT costs, as the cloud providers carry all hardware, software, and maintenance costs.

5) Improved security and resilience

If an organisation’s resources that power its website are on one single cloud, a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack can both take the site down, and ultimately keep it down. According to a study by the Rand Group, 98% of businesses say that an hour of downtime costs their company more than $100,000 (c.£75,700).

Source: Rand Group

A multi-cloud model uses a combination of public cloud platforms and/or private cloud. With this approach, organisations can choose secure sensitive data in a private cloud and operate other business areas in a public cloud environment. So, if a cloud provider suffers an outage, you can instantly shift the impacted services to another cloud environment, making your business much more resilient.

However, according to a report by Business Cloud News in 2016, 57% of all organisations do not have a multi-cloud computing strategy whatsoever.  Yet IDC predicted in its IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2017 Predictions that more than 85% of enterprise IT organisations will commit to multi-cloud architectures by 2018.

Multi-cloud strategy can deliver significant business benefits such as cost savings, avoiding vendor lock-in, a reduced risk of attacks, as well as improved reliability. Yet realising these benefits can only be achieved with thorough planning and evaluation to map out a solid multi-cloud strategy, prior to adoption.

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