Most enterprises have been, for the past few years been preaching about migrations to various public and private clouds, taking their workloads out of self-run, or partner-run data centres. From my experience, similar technology stacks would be used in each of those datacenters, whether that be Cisco networking technologies, HP storage, Dell compute, the list of common vendors goes on and on. Moving to the cloud allow enterprises to stick by that mantra, if of course they commit to a single cloud provider.
Do you put all your eggs in the AWS basket, knowing you have the Gartner leader in IaaS for the past 3 years (July 2019, April 2018 & June 2017)? Do you choose Microsoft, another Gartner leader for the past three years, currently playing second fiddle to AWS in market share? Or Alibaba or Google Cloud Platform, both of which are gaining market share at an alarming rate.
The worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019Gartner (https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-11-13-gartner-forecasts-worldwide-public-cloud-revenue-to-grow-17-percent-in-2020)
There are plenty of stories that have been told recently of businesses moving out of the cloud, a lot of these seem to revolve around controlling their costs spiralling out of control, but on the whole many corporates are heading towards an OPEX-based cloud infrastructure. With fears of uncontrolled spending, does adding a second cloud provider help this, or muddy the waters further?
If we move away from financial factors for just a minute, and look at the pros and cons of using more than one cloud platform. Just like every tech product, everything has its own strengths and weaknesses, some have steep learning curves but each product suits a certain workload. Lets look at who leads on which functionality (I’ve focused on the three most commonly used platforms in EMEA)
Obviously there are far more pros and cons of each platform, but solely looking at ensuring you are using the right tool for the job, there is a trend of many businesses adopting more than one cloud to suit different business and technical requirements.
A lot of my readers I suspect, will identify with the fact that my employer Stagecoach have also adopted a multi-cloud strategy alongside a hybrid-cloud strategy which includes VMWare Cloud on AWS. Why is this relevant to this debate I hear you ask, because I hope this will help explain ensuring the right tool is used for the right job.
Historically the Stagecoach infrastructure has been built on private cloud vSphere architectures across multiple data centres. As time has moved on, and the requirement for a highly functioning website and app emerged, the business decided on in-house development. The various services offered by AWS suited those technical and business requirements and the rest is history. However, for other workloads which are hosted third-party solutions, having the same underlying technology as we’ve always trusted running on the same infrastructure used for our web and app estate made perfect sense.
Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole by trying to use a single cloud provider would, for Stagecoach, have resulted in increased spend and no doubt alienated technical staff who weren’t familiar with those AWS services and didn’t have the skillset. I think Stagecoach are typical of many enterprise businesses, who are going through the migration to the cloud but wisely spent the time up front to choose the right providers for their workload now and for the foreseeable future.
So, like each of my articles, I circle back to answer my original question; Is Multi-Cloud the way forward for big enterprises? For me, it has to be. Technically, you should always use the correct tool for the job – if your requirement says your product has a heavy use for AI, then look seriously at GCP, if you’re a 100% Windows house, then on a lot of occasions Azure will make sense – but the key takeaways for me is ensuring that processes are put in place to control spend and to ensure security policies are adhered across all providers. Public cloud, if not managed properly, can rip through budgets at rapid pace, or leave huge security holes. When managed properly multi-cloud can get your business quicker to market, with robust security and fantastic scalability