The rapid rise of multi-cloud

The mass consumerisation of technology has directly stimulated expectations among employees, executives and others in the private and public sectors. No longer will cookie-cutter approaches to strategies and technology service delivery hack it in the average organisation, with preferences continuing to move in the direction of highly personalised and customised IT frameworks.

Thanks to the birth of the cloud as a viable option for IT modernisation, this idea has spread from matters of device and application selection all the way down to infrastructure, platforms and software. Today, business leaders appear to be increasingly interested in multi-cloud services, which are often brokered by a provider that helps to craft the perfect overall approach to management, delivery, maintenance and optimisation.

Multi-cloud technology can help to dramatically reduce deficiencies that would otherwise be caused by choosing only one provider or option, which might be a good choice for some reasons and undesirable for others. The rise of the multi-cloud has been more closely aligned with the other trends taking place in the IT arena than virtually any other approach to infrastructure, which is why so many firms can benefit from this model.

Some of the most popular cloud options such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are increasingly adjusting their models to allow multi-cloud arrangements, and are even allowing brokers an enhanced ability to customise frameworks for clientele. This is leading to an era of efficiency in operations, management, and finances that might be the best in history from an enterprise infrastructure standpoint.

Why use a broker?

Some corporate executives might look at the progression of cloud vendors’ innovation and think there is no longer any reason to have a middle man in place. However, this overlooks what brokers can really do for end users and businesses at large.

David Linthicum, an expert in the cloud computing industry, recently published a TechTarget piece in which he argued that a broker will often be the stepping stone toward enjoying the broadest and most powerful advantages of a multi-cloud arrangement. It is worth noting here that while a small portion of the private sector might not yet be on board, it has become clear that many business leaders are already getting on board with these concepts.

According to the author, one study from MarketsandMarkets revealed that investments in cloud service brokers will have a compound annual growth rate of 46.2 percent between 2013 and 2018. This translates to an increase from $1.57 billion at the beginning of the study period to $10.5 billion by the end, Linthicum pointed out, and this is largely the product of the distinct value a broker adds to the cloud equation.

For example, he asserted that many business leaders will need assistance when trying to craft the perfect cloud strategy, and without the right experience and support, this would be much more difficult. With a broker, though, Linthicum argued that the right decisions will be made, while long-term management and maintenance can be significantly streamlined, thus taking some of the strain off of IT departments internally.

Furthermore, with respect to the management advantages, he stated that AWS has effectively opened the doors for these types of professional partnerships and relationships, and a company could tap its managed service provider to take care of all maintenance needs.

Linthicum noted that AWS is actually playing a major role in the evolution of cloud provisioning models and multi-cloud or hybrid IT frameworks, as it is one of the first to focus on building a service that can be easily integrated with other options from varying vendors.

What comes next?

CloudTech reported this Spring that a study conducted by Dimensional Research revealed that more than three-quarters of IT leaders are intent on beginning to migrate to multi-cloud arrangements in the near future. Perhaps even more impressively, nearly half of the respondents putting forth such plans believe that they will implement a minimum of six cloud services, the source noted.

According to the news provider, the main reason behind this is the desire to have the best possible infrastructure, platforms and services in place, and this will very rarely be achievable for a business only using one product. Instead, virtually every company will have a unique set of demands, and those will vary even more when looking more specifically at infrastructure, platforms and software.

As such, the multi-cloud is largely the product of organic evolution within this fast-growth segment of the IT market, and business leaders will often be able to find plenty of reasons to get on board with these types of arrangements, especially when the right managed service provider is involved.

Now that the cloud’s value has been firmly established, business leaders in every sector must confront the question of how to best take advantage of this technology. How can leveraging cloud services maximise utility throughout the organisation, in as many areas as possible?

It’s imperative to note that a successful multi-cloud strategy depends heavily on overcoming the management challenges that inevitably accompany these deployments, as TechTarget contributor Paul Korzeniowski explained. The writer pointed out that integration is a particularly challenging issue, thanks to the innate differences between the various cloud services on the market.

For example, Korzeniowski noted that Microsoft Azure tends to be “Windows-centric”, naturally, but AWS “has a distinct Linux flavour.” For a multi-cloud deployment to succeed, companies need to find ways to ensure that the various cloud services function smoothly in conjunction with one another, despite these differences. One problem-solver is partnering with the right managed services provider to help you with your cloud strategy from conception to execution and management.

In addition, decision-makers are coming to the conclusion that a multi-cloud deployment is the way to go. With multi-cloud, firms can ensure they are using the right hosted resource for each of their varied needs, which will naturally optimise efficiency, along with security and scalability.

Multi-cloud popularity

Multi-cloud deployments’ popularity is growing at a rapid rate. A recent Dimensional Research survey of more than 650 IT decision-makers found that 77 percent are planning to implement multi-cloud architecture in the near future.

Considering that the adoption and use of even a single public or private cloud solution was relatively uncommon just a few short years ago, this figure demonstrates a truly massive shift in decision-makers’ thinking, and suggests that the advantages offered by multi-cloud deployments are applicable to a huge range of sectors and regions.

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Tony serves as Regional Marketing Director for Rackspace in the EMEA region, after holding a similar position at Datapipe, which he joined in 2015. An experienced IT and telecoms executive with a successful career in marketing, product management and sales, Tony has held senior positions for companies including Verizon, BT and Cable & Wireless. He has extensive knowledge of cloud, network, security and advanced communication products, technologies and managed services, and has worked in both direct and indirect channels to market. He also writes regularly about the ever-evolving cloud industry, and was named a top cloud computing blogger in 2017. Tony is a sports fanatic and for his sins, a passionate supporter of his hometown club, Everton FC. He lives in Sevenoaks, just outside London, with his wife and occasionally his son (when he’s not hard at work at University).