Multi-cloud strategy: Pros, cons and tips

Flexibility and feature functionality are among CIOs’ reasons for embracing a multi-cloud strategy. Experts explain the pros and cons of multi-cloud strategy and offer tips to get there.

Multi-cloud strategy: Pros, cons and tips
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The competitive arms race that is the public cloud market affords CIOs several options as they look to rent software and infrastructure. Differences in price, business requirements and feature sets often force IT leaders to solicit more than one cloud vendor to serve their business technology needs, which many refer to as multi-cloud strategy.

Multi-cloud defined

Most CIOs refer to a multi-cloud strategy as using two or more IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Some IT leaders consider multi-cloud a single IaaS provider plus SaaS tools from Salesforce.com, Workday, ServiceNow and other vendors.

Gartner has a more formal definition of multi-cloud: The deliberate use of the same type of cloud services from multiple public cloud providers, says Gartner analyst David Smith. In this construct, a mobile app may dynamically move, via containers or other technologies between AWS or Azure based on prescribed business requirements. These portable apps are managed and monitored for uptime, reliability and security via a single dashboard.

Few enterprises check all of these boxes on Gartner’s multi-cloud rate card because such prescribed, dynamic scaling is hard to do, Smith says. Regardless of how you define multi-cloud, of the 52 percent of 1,200 respondents using public cloud, 81 percent work with one or more public cloud vendors, according to a survey Gartner conducted in November 2018.

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