A multi-cloud strategy enables businesses to choose services across clouds to improve business resiliency and achieve digital transformation goals.
Multi-cloud generally refers to an approach in which an organization uses cloud computing services from public cloud providers to meet specific business needs and customer demands. Multi-cloud strategies can be extended to include on-premises private data centers and edge locations, as well as optimizations within a single public cloud provider. It enables organizations to choose the best services and features to enhance digital experiences, while improving business continuity and operational stability and safety. Multi-cloud boosts an organization’s resilience by distributing workloads across multiple cloud platforms—with comprehensive visibility to mitigate performance and security issues. This approach allows organizations to take advantage of a broader range of services but introduces inherent complexity with respect to maintaining a consistent security posture.
Key concepts and features of multi-cloud computing, networking, application delivery, and security include:
By leveraging these features, businesses can optimize their cloud strategy through cost efficiency, improved resilience, and increased agility.
Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud are both cloud computing models that involve the use of multiple cloud platforms. However, there are key differences between the two:
Multi-cloud offers greater flexibility than hybrid cloud, and may be a good choice for businesses in several scenarios, such as:
Multi-cloud can increase flexibility by enabling organizations to choose the cloud provider that best meets their specific needs in terms of performance, cost, compliance, and geographic location. For example, an organization can choose a cloud provider that offers high-performance computing capabilities for compute-intensive workloads, or a cloud provider that offers specialized services for data analytics or artificial intelligence. By using different cloud providers for different workloads, organizations can optimize their resource usage and reduce costs. Having multiple cloud providers also helps organizations avoid being boxed into unwanted service limitations, or other issues that may arise from vendor-specific changes or policies.
In addition, multi-cloud can improve disaster recovery capabilities by enabling organizations to distribute their data and applications across multiple cloud providers and geographic regions. This can help mitigate the impact of natural disasters, cyberattacks, or human errors, by providing redundancy and failover capabilities. In case of a failure or outage, workloads can be automatically migrated to another cloud provider, ensuring business continuity.
Addressing challenges such as complexity, security, governance, and compliance is critical for the success of a multi-cloud strategy, and requires a holistic approach that involves collaboration among multiple stakeholders within the organization, including IT and business teams.
For instance, managing workloads and applications across multiple clouds can be complex and require specialized skills and tools. This can lead to increased operational costs, integration challenges, and potential performance issues. In addition, differences in controls and logs obscure visibility, potentially delaying troubleshooting and incident response. Different cloud providers may also use different APIs, data formats, or protocols, which can make it difficult to integrate and manage data and applications across multiple clouds.
Likewise, multi-cloud environments may increase the risk of security breaches, data loss, or regulatory non-compliance, as organizations may have to manage multiple security policies, access controls, and data protection measures. This is due to the varying responsibility models, underlying technology, and efficacy of different cloud platforms.
Multi-cloud environments may also raise governance issues, as organizations may have to manage multiple service-level agreements (SLAs), contracts, and billing models, as well as comply with different regulatory requirements.
To address these challenges, organizations can use cloud management platforms and purpose-built networking solutions with consistent security and infrastructure policy management capabilities to provide centralized visibility, control, and automation of the multi-cloud environment. These platforms can help organizations manage workloads and applications across multiple clouds, optimize resource usage, and enforce security and governance policies. Multi-cloud networking services provide simple and secure connectivity between cloud regions and across multiple cloud providers. These services can reduce complexity and simplify operations with automated provisioning of links and network services with end-to-end orchestration across sites and providers.
Here are some tips and best practices for organizations considering adoption of a multi-cloud approach:
A multi-cloud strategy is becoming increasingly popular as organizations are hard pressed to balance digital velocity and operational stability and safety. A multi-cloud strategy can offer greater flexibility, agility, scalability, and resilience.
However, adopting a multi-cloud strategy requires careful planning and execution. It is important to define clear business goals and requirements, evaluate the capabilities and limitations of multiple cloud providers, and determine how best to integrate them into existing systems and workflows. Careful planning is also needed to ensure that data and applications are properly secured, managed, and monitored across multiple clouds, and that security and compliance measures are consistent across all cloud providers.
An effective multi-cloud strategy requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses technology, governance, and operations. It necessitates the use of standard APIs and technologies to ensure portability and interoperability between cloud providers, the adoption of a cloud-native architecture that leverages the strengths of each provider, and the use of a cloud management platform that provides a single view of the multi-cloud environment.
There are many multi-cloud use cases, but three of the most common are:
Multi-cloud computing has tremendous potential for organizations as it enables them to take advantage of the strengths of multiple cloud providers and optimize their IT infrastructure. With the adoption of multi-cloud computing, businesses can reduce their dependence on a single provider, enhance resilience, and gain greater flexibility in managing their workloads.
In the coming years, we can expect multi-cloud computing to evolve further as cloud providers continue to innovate and offer new services and capabilities. Some of the emerging trends in multi-cloud computing include:
Considering a multi-cloud approach is important for businesses as it enables them to achieve greater agility, flexibility, and resilience. By leveraging multiple cloud providers, businesses can avoid being restricted by specific public cloud provider limitations and select the best services and capabilities for their specific workloads.
F5 offers a comprehensive set of multi-cloud application services and management tools to help speed multi-cloud deployments and reduce operational complexity. F5 services are highly programmable, API-accessible, and can be integrated with existing automation and delivery systems. Follow this link to learn more about F5 multi-cloud application services.