Why multi-cloud has to be the end game
Hybrid cloud has become one of the hottest topics of discussion in the technology industry, and deservedly so. It has been overtaken by its close relative ‘multi-cloud’, with 79% of businesses already admitting to working with more than one cloud provider
Analyst firm 451 Research estimates that 69% of enterprises will be running hybrid IT environments by 2019, while Gartner predicts that 90% of organisations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities by 2020.
Hybrid is clearly here to stay, but it’s not the only cloud trend garnering the attention of CIOs and CTOs around the world. In recent months, it has been overtaken by its close relative ‘multi-cloud’, with 79% of businesses already admitting to working with more than one cloud provider. As such, it is widely considered to be the future of cloud computing, opening up new opportunities for innovation, such as enabling organisations to ‘fail fast’ and rapidly roll out new services to customers.
As the name suggests, multi-cloud refers to the use of multiple cloud vendors and providers within a business architecture - across a mix of public and private platforms - thereby enabling organisations to separate different workloads into different environments depending on their specific requirements.
From both a business agility and cost-efficiency point of view, achieving a balance of both public and private cloud options is proving to be a winning tactic. However, there are still some people who are yet to be fully convinced.
Navigating cloudy skies
Perhaps the most obvious reason for any hesitation around multi-cloud adoption is that deploying cloud platforms and services from multiple vendors can be seen as a rather complex process, especially when it comes to efficiently weaving multiple different clouds together in a way that doesn’t hinder productivity or innovation.
The inherent technical challenges of multi-cloud deployments have the potential to cause difficulties and amplify already-existing business pressures, especially for those organisations that lack the in-house skills required to carry out such a transformation.
This is something many businesses have quickly realised as they have continued along their deployment journeys. Indeed, technical and skills challenges were identified as critical learnings from managing multiple clouds by more than half (57%) of senior IT leaders in a recent study.
This followed closely behind integrating legacy systems (62%) and simply understanding the new technology (61%), both of which highlight the importance of finding the right partners and properly planning deployments as opposed to jumping in headfirst.
Finally, as with virtually any technology in today’s climate, security is also a concern. Some businesses are under the impression that integrating multiple different systems into one environment has the potential to result in security holes. With strict legislation such as the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) changing the way businesses think about data security and privacy, it’s an issue that is at the forefront of many minds.
But this is just one - somewhat misguided - side of the multi-cloud discussion. When it comes to transforming with cloud technologies, there are several reasons why multi-cloud is proving itself to be the correct end game for businesses in all industries.
The go-to game plan
So, why multi-cloud? Firstly, it means businesses can avoid vendor lock-in and reduce their dependence on a single vendor. This has become a key concern for the majority of enterprises, especially those that have found themselves having to rely on traditional vendors that aren’t able to offer a complete cloud package.
Not only does a multi-cloud approach therefore enable businesses to leverage the best of every cloud platform available to them rather than having to compromise, it could also save significant sums of money. Customers are no longer at the mercy of a vendor’s decision to increase costs, with the freedom of choice that multi-cloud offers also enabling them to maximise ROI and become much more cost efficient.
According to a recent survey, cost optimisation was seen as the biggest driver to adopting a multi-cloud setup, with the flexibility to spread across both public and private platforms and spin up whatever resources are needed to solve specific needs optimising the return on cloud investments. This is true from both a CapEx and OpEx perspective. Businesses that have long-term, steady compute requirements can run this privately and keep their costs predictable, while still having the flexibility to turn to the public cloud for any variable capacity needs.
Secondly, using a mix-and-match approach enables organisations to effectively leverage extended capabilities, as they can pick the best products to suit specific business needs. Different vendors will naturally innovate in slightly different areas, meaning businesses taking a multi-cloud approach can exploit developments as soon as they become available rather than having to wait for their vendor to catch up.
Ultimately, in today’s technology landscape every institution should have a plan to operate in a multi-cloud way. The journey may not be entirely straightforward, but a balance of public and private platforms is quickly proving to be the ideal deployment option for enterprises.
That’s why, for any serious business looking to be a leader in its field, establishing a multi-cloud environment simply has to be the end game.
Mark Baker, Field Product Manager at Canonical
Is Cloud Computing Environmentally Friendly?
Cloud adoption was well underway before the coronavirus pandemic hit but it has definitely accelerated more organisations to make a move.
Research from NetApp has found that a large majority of users (86%) felt the cloud has become essential to their business and many of them saw it as playing a greater role in their storage strategies. Some 87% viewed storing data in the cloud as easier than other methods.
Flexera, revealed that almost all organisations are using at least one cloud with 99% of respondents saying they are using at least one public or private cloud. 97% of respondents utilise at least one public cloud, while 80% have at least one private cloud. 78% of respondents are using hybrid cloud.
By pursuing a green approach, Accenture analysis suggests migrations to the public cloud can reduce global carbon (CO2) emissions by 59 million tons of CO2 per year. This represents a 5.9% reduction in total IT emissions and equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.
A greener cloud
Selecting a carbon-thoughtful provider is the first step towards a sustainable cloud-first journey. Cloud providers set different corporate commitments towards sustainability, which in turn determine how they plan, build, power, operate, and retire their data centres.
The Google Cloud platform has committed to operating its data centres carbon-free 24/7 by 2030, rather than rely on annual direct energy matches. In 2020, Google became the first company to achieve a zero lifetime net carbon footprint, meaning the company has eliminated its entire legacy operational carbon emissions. According to Google, their data centers are twice as energy-efficient as a typical data centre, and they now deliver seven times more computing power for the same amount of electrical power than they did six years ago.
Microsoft has committed to shifting its data centres to 100% supply of renewable energy by 2025 through power purchase agreements (PPAs). The company has launched its ambition to be carbon negative by 2030 and by 2050 to remove all carbon emitted by the company since 1975. Microsoft Azure’s customers can access a carbon calculator that tracks emissions associated with their own workload on the cloud.
A new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the continued adoption of cloud computing could prevent the emission of more than 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from 2021 through 2024.
"The idea of 'green IT' has been around now for years, but the direct impact of hyperscale computing can have on CO2 emissions is getting increased notice from customers, regulators, and investors and it's starting to factor into buying decisions," said Cushing Anderson, programme vice president at IDC. "For some, going 'carbon neutral' will be achieved using carbon offsets, but designing datacentres from the ground up to be carbon neutral will be the real measure of contribution. And for advanced cloud providers, matching workloads with renewable energy availability will further accelerate their sustainability goals."
Accenture analysis shows that customising applications to be cloud-native can stretch carbon emission reduction to 98%. Customisation requires designing applications to take full advantage of on-demand computing, higher asset utilisation rates, and dynamic allocation of computing resources. Cloud computing is also a way of reducing the use of resources such as paper, electricity, packing materials, and much more.
For companies striving to cut carbon emissions and to become more sustainable, cloud computing is definitely an option. Taking the steps to choose the right providers and making the businesses more efficient is key to having the wanted end result.