What is multi-cloud?

A multi-cloud environment is one where an organisation leverages more than one cloud platform (with at least two public clouds) that each delivers a specific application or service.

All of these cloud computing and storage services are from different vendors, yet they all combine to form a single heterogenous ecosystem. Multi-cloud has evolved into one of the most popular types of cloud deployment. According to Gartner, 81% of organisations are now working with two or more cloud providers.

Why multi-cloud?

In the world of cloud computing, the well-worn principle of ‘less is more’ does not apply. Organisations are choosing to adopt a multi-cloud strategy for a number of reasons, including flexibility, consistent software updates and avoiding lock-in with one specific vendor.

Security is also a growing concern – at a time when elevated cyber threats are becoming the ‘new normal’, a single-cloud approach is increasingly incompatible with the need for round-the-clock cyber security. Therefore, multi-cloud’s blend of on-premises operations with applications and services on multiple public cloud providers lets businesses enjoy the benefits of each platform whilst mitigating their individual shortcomings.

Multi-cloud management

However, to capture the advantages of a multi-cloud environment, organisations must ensure that deployment is appropriately managed. This necessitates the development of a consistent, uniform system to handle all applications and workflows in the clouds.

Multi-cloud management is the collection of tools and processes needed to monitor, secure and optimise multiple cloud accounts. Without multi-cloud management, businesses will find it extremely difficult to keep track of workloads and observe what is running where in this complex environment.

Multi-cloud vs hybrid cloud

Despite the growing popularity of multi-cloud infrastructure, it is not unusual to see the term being used interchangeably with hybrid cloud. While both incorporate cloud services from more than one source, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud do so in very different ways.

Hybrid cloud describes a mix of public and private clouds, while a multi-cloud environment spans multiple public clouds from different providers. As such, businesses can choose between an interconnected approach (hybrid cloud) or a separate one (multi-cloud) – but cannot have both. Many businesses opt for a multi-cloud strategy to avoid keeping all their eggs in one basket, instead embracing a more layered multi-vendor approach.

Benefits of multi-cloud

So, what are the specific benefits of a multi-cloud environment?

  • Increased ROI

In business, choice is everything. Organisations that use multi-cloud can scale up whatever cloud resources are on offer without having to compromise their choices, allowing them to pick and choose from a rich set of resources to suit their diverse computing and business needs. This enables stakeholders to optimise returns on cloud investments.

  • Enhanced security

Multi-cloud security is another significant benefit. The use of multiple platforms provides greater protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, reducing the risk of costly downtime. Applications can be run on multiple clouds to ensure constant availability in the event of a service outage.

  • Flexibility

As every business is different, multi-cloud infrastructure empowers stakeholders to mix and match platforms and vendors to suit their exact requirements, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach. This flexibility ensures that businesses are not locked in with one specific provider, which frees them to customise their infrastructure.

  • Reliable architecture

With a multi-cloud strategy, organisations can host their infrastructure in several locations, guaranteeing customers a high degree of availability and reliability.

  • Improved disaster recovery

By storing data with more than one cloud vendor, it is kept safe in the event of disruption. As concurrent outages across multiple clouds are extremely rare, a single point of failure will not cause everything to come crashing down.

  • Cloud compliance

A multi-cloud approach can help businesses stay compliant, as they can leverage a mix of clouds to align with differing international legislative requirements.

Building a multi-cloud strategy

Accordingly, a multi-cloud strategy is essential to ensure that multi-cloud is properly implemented and capitalised on. It means that a business is choosing to be in the multi-cloud on purpose – rather than being multi-cloud by accident or default.

To build a strong multi-cloud strategy, businesses need to carefully consider their needs and reflect on which vendors best align with these. For example, an organisation wishing to achieve broader business and technical goals should firmly embed their multi-cloud strategy into their IT strategy, lining up their business objectives with the optimal cloud-hosting providers for each individual task.

A multi-cloud strategy also helps organisations to avoid data loss – a growing risk for businesses of all sizes. Moving to a multi-cloud system allows for better backups, as even if one cloud service goes down, other providers can be relied on to keep important data safe.

Many businesses are driven to build multi-cloud strategies to avoid the costly and frustrating situation of vendor lock-in. If this risk is considered from the outset, businesses can make much more informed choices about the partners and technologies they use. Therefore, a multi-cloud strategy results in less dependency on one single provider, making it easier to end a contract that is no longer fit for purpose.

This can also simplify compliance demands, helping organisations meet regulatory requirements. For example, if a business wanted to enter a new market in a country with strict data sovereignty laws, they would need a multi-cloud strategy that ensures workloads are located close to the customers whose data is being processed. At a time when compliance regulations are becoming more stringent, it is vital that businesses implement a strong multi-cloud strategy to prepare for a range of scenarios.

Multi-cloud solution with Telehouse

It is undeniable that multi-cloud management comes with its challenges. As operations span across a distributed landscape, complexity grows – as does the attack surface.

But with Telehouse, businesses can access a highly connected and secure digital ecosystem of service providers. Telehouse Cloud Link is a multi-cloud connectivity exchange that empowers organisations to manage access to multiple cloud services through a single private connection. This end-to-end exchange simplifies, secures, and speeds up data transfer between customers’ network and cloud services.

Through a dedicated online portal, customers using this multi-cloud solution can seamlessly procure and manage access to cloud providers in real time over a scalable and secure network. This provides a safe platform for businesses to connect to multiple cloud providers, including Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud, to ensure perfect integration.

Telehouse helps businesses to simplify and streamline multi-cloud strategy implementation, all the while providing peace of mind through direct, private, and secure connections. By placing Telehouse Cloud Link at the centre of your multi-cloud strategy, you too can discover the array of benefits a multi-cloud environment brings whilst leveraging a highly flexible and scalable solution.

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