This month was busy. The blog below is a shorter version of piece that ran on Technative entitled The Path to Multi-Cloud: How Converging Technologies and Innovations Require Multi-Cloud Strategy
So, if 800 words or less is more your style… read on… and if you like longer form check out The Path to Multi-Cloud: How Converging Technologies and Innovations Require Multi-Cloud Strategy on Technative.
A pattern of converging information technology (IT) has been underway for at least the past 15 years. Initially, the way to consume IT was through capital expenditures for compute, storage, network, and virtualization separately.
By 2006 Amazon Web Services (AWS) emerged as an alternative pattern for consuming IT. Over the next 15 years, the pattern of consuming IT would continue converging.
By 2010, software-defined storage/networking and terms such as “private cloud” and “public cloud” arrived along with entrants such as Microsoft and Google.
By 2015, the category of converged and hyper-converged infrastructure was created while “hybrid cloud” joined public and private cloud with entrants such as IBM and Oracle.
By 2020, the response to perceived needs for data-first strategies created the category of cloud data services for these multiple clouds.
By 2025, cloud data services for multiple clouds will be ubiquitous and offered by multiple vendors.
The converging past is a strong indication of the converging future. Gaining competitive advantage and staying innovative in today’s data-centric world requires the flexibility and scale of multiple clouds combined with an effective approach for the converging future.
For years, “Cloud-first” was the mantra for enterprise IT departments to gain scalability, agility, and resilience by consuming public cloud services. In the beginning, a cloud-first strategy is typically straightforward and inexpensive by limiting to a single cloud provider.
However, when an organization wants to use innovative cloud services from competing cloud providers, its data is locked into the original cloud due to data gravity. Further, the organization is subject to hefty egress fees to repatriate, read, or move the data to a different cloud.
A “data-first” approach makes data accessible by multiple clouds and inherently avoids vendor lock-in that inhibits innovation. Data-first goals enable innovation not feasible with a cloud-first approach alone.
To embrace data-first goals, think in terms of enduring use cases, not one specific cloud. Gather views from all stakeholders, including those who run/maintain systems of record or core/mission-critical business applications.
Next, process these views to assess, prioritize, and rationalize the target data sets for innovation opportunities across multiple cloud providers. Indeed, data-first goals in pursuit of specific innovations may, for example, lead to using GCP today, then turning to Azure tomorrow, and then to AWS.
As Santhosh Rao, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner, said in 2019: the move to multi-cloud is an issue of “when,” not “if.” That time is now.
Four key themes are converging to drive interest in multi-cloud by companies:
Accelerated cloud spending is required to deliver on innovation initiatives
Single cloud alone will not meet evolving business requirements
Consolidation and/or decommissioning of legacy data centers continues
Advantageous placement of essential company data is challenging
Companies want to unlock innovation without having to rehydrate or pay fees to move data in order to take advantage of the constantly growing list of services available from public clouds. For these reasons, leveraging multiple clouds must be approached with an architecture that overcomes data gravity.
True multi-cloud architecture is more than simply using multiple clouds. Multi-cloud enables workload matching with the best-fit services and capabilities from any cloud, maximizing innovation and freeing organizations from data gravity and vendor lock-in.
In fact, multi-cloud leverages the strategic placement of a single, central copy of data. This single, central copy of data provides benefits regardless of the volume of data because it’s simultaneously adjacent to all public cloud service providers.
Companies can take immediate advantage of any innovation cycle from any of the public cloud service providers by attaching to the same single storage. This lowers costs associated with maintaining duplicate copies of data in each cloud and caps the technical debt of bespoke configurations.
Multi-cloud simplifies job management by relying on a shared file system rather than separate instances across various locations. Multi-cloud streamlines ease of use, with key workflows running from a shared repository as a shared high-performance file system that doesn’t require collation.
With cloud data services for multi-cloud soon becoming the norm, consider your needs today. How frequently are you accessing data? How easily are you using cloud data services? How can you maximize strategic initiatives while minimizing cloud overspend? Don’t just look to a cloud; maximize the value of your data with true multi-cloud architecture.