Multi-cloud adoption is growing at an unprecedented pace as enterprises rush to modernise and migrate traditional systems. We are witnessing this boom in Asia Pacific (APAC) despite significant economic headwinds. The 2022 Cloud Computing Survey commissioned by CIO.com found that over half of IT leaders (53%) are expected to have most or all their IT environments in the cloud within the next 18 months.
The survey also found that 50% of respondents are evaluating or researching a hybrid or multi-cloud architecture. Another 8% are already in the process of deploying or have already deployed a multi-cloud architecture.
Why are APAC firms moving to multiple clouds, and what are the benefits they see? We asked our Foundry Influencer community of experts how multi-cloud strategies have helped their organisations optimise and achieve better business outcomes amid ever-tightening budgets.
Right-sizing cloud capabilities for specific business needs
Just as no two clouds in the sky are the same, no two digital cloud providers offer exactly the same capabilities, says Kieran Gilmurray, CEO of Digital Automation and Robotics Limited.
“One’s multilingual translation service may be great, but another’s less so.”KIERAN GILMURRAY
“Different cloud vendors have different strengths and weaknesses. One provider’s conversational AI natural language processing engine may be well suited to your needs, while the optical character machine learning models from another competitor might be better for the task you have,” he explains.
Cost and data sovereignty are two additional considerations to bear in mind. “The cost of computing and storage from one provider for the services you need could be prohibitively expensive when compared to an alternate cloud provider,” adds Gilmurray. “Application security or regulatory requirements may necessitate an on-premises deployment or a hybrid cloud model.”
Of course, the great news is that there is a wealth of cloud providers out there, according to Gilmurray. By matching the right apps to the right cloud, savvy enterprises can potentially drive differentiation and seize business opportunities at “very affordable prices”.
Overcoming cloud complexity
As enterprises rush to adopt multiple clouds, greater cloud choice is resulting in a sharp increase in complexity. Enterprises are finding that managing their entire app portfolio across disparate clouds is difficult and expensive due to proprietary tools and siloed cloud infrastructure.
As developers are forced to battle the growing chaos of multiple clouds, the result is an inevitable slowdown in innovation. The organisations that stay ahead do so by standardising their cloud environments to facilitate operations and development.
According to Aldo Ceccarelli, CIO of SEDAMYL, the cloud operating model that his organisation is creating will help standardise its infrastructure and intelligently increase the performance, stability, and resilience of the firm’s environment. “This modern multi-cloud infrastructure will help us in our daily operations by providing the agility to match the right cloud to any application or use case.”
Yet, achieving this is not a straightforward task. Depending on specific requirements, plans, and existing technology debt, it can be challenging to connect the dots from requirements to available solutions.
Alex Farr, Chief Technology Officer of Christie Group, recounted his experience: “Before developing our cloud strategy, we spent a huge amount of time researching the plethora of providers in the market to find the one that best met our business requirements. Although our requirements are not unique, I struggled to find one provider that could meet all our needs.”
Building a smart multi-cloud for the future
Enterprises that successfully make the transition to a smart multi-cloud strategy can expect to move faster and spend less as app development accelerates and the presence of a consistent enterprise infrastructure simplifies. And instead of the previous fragmented app-access experience, users can expect a much more frictionless experience.
For Farr, a multi-cloud strategy was the obvious option due to the way it allowed his team to mix and match the offerings of various cloud providers to benefit his organisation.
“The flexibility of this approach gave us the ability to manage some of our legacy applications and non-critical workloads in a lower-cost solution while continuing to offer increased levels of services on our critical client-facing workloads,” explains Farr.
“We were able to manage security at a more granular level with the multi-cloud.”ALEX FARR
Cyber-security benefitted too, due in part to a consistent operating model across clouds: “We were able to manage security at a more granular level, putting stricter controls in place to ensure compliance where appropriate while allowing greater flexibility for our teams to innovate and test new products without being restricted by the same measures.”
Finally, the freedom from cloud lock-in means that enterprises can better manage their costs and at the same time, respond quickly to new requirements without difficulty.
“As cloud providers add new services or change their costs, we can adapt accordingly, safe in the knowledge that we are not locked into any one provider. We simply move workloads between disparate clouds as appropriate. This allows us to manage costs in real-time and lets us respond to business needs or according to changing circumstances,” adds Farr.
Multi-cloud becoming a mainstay
Whatever the reason may be for moving, multi-cloud will become the norm. Organisations are beginning to realise how multi-cloud offers them a choice to run any app on whichever cloud that is efficient from a cost and performance perspective.
Amid this optimism, Joe Baguley, Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, EMEA of VMware, cautioned that this dependence on multi-cloud means a smaller margin for error in developing and executing a multi-cloud strategy.
“Economic headwinds and talent shortages are adding pressures on businesses to get their multi-cloud strategy right. How will they pay for it? How will they manage the risk and security across clouds? These are just some of the questions they should address to set their multi-cloud journey on the right path. It’s a tough road ahead but when done right, the returns will go a long way to future-proofing their business,” concludes Baguley.