Multi-Cloud Strategies: The 2023 Primer

Introduction

When cloud computing first emerged, it seemed like the sky was the limit. Developers would no longer be constrained by the physical location of their servers, allowing them to create innovative products and services with no limits other than their own.

Software programmers had an indefinitely scalable palette at their disposal, appearing capable of materializing whatever they desired at the click of a button, thanks to the lack of bureaucratic protocols governing resource allocation. The cloud rapidly became a one-stop-shop for all demands, worldwide, as manufacturers added more and more capabilities giving advanced features like machine learning to their platforms.

Businesses, however, are beginning to see the cloud’s dark side. An increasing variety of platforms were being supported by organizations as developer interest in cutting-edge cloud services and tools increased. As a result, there is now a complex web of cloud products that may or may not work together.

There has been a steady increase in the number of businesses adopting multi-cloud strategies, which involve utilizing services from many cloud vendors. Applications and workloads can be difficult to build and operate due to the difficulty of working with a diverse mix of proprietary platforms, services, and interfaces, but a multi-cloud strategy can, at least in theory, provide specialized capabilities and optimum pricing.

As defined by Gartner, a multi-cloud strategy is “the deliberate use of cloud services from multiple public cloud providers for the same general class of IT solutions or workloads — almost always IaaS and/or PaaS, not SaaS. Many organizations become “accidentally” multi-cloud (through inadequate governance, M&A or the like), rather than deliberately adopting a mult-icloud strategy. Being multicloud increases management and governance challenges, increases the complexity and cost of IT, and demands greater skills. However, a well-governed multi-cloud strategy can improve access to a breadth of technology choices and innovative best-of-breed capabilities.”

This definition is particularly important as it highlights some of the struggles that companies face when attempting to harness the benefits of their cloud investments.

What 2023 Holds for Multi-Cloud

To provide customers with cutting-edge innovations and valuable services in 2023, businesses will continue to invest heavily in cloud computing and related business models. Clients are benefiting from the use of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, analytics, and robotic process automation, and the rate and tempo of these developments are increasing rapidly thanks to cloud computing.

Multiple platform-as-a-service tools

Today, even if they don’t want to, most businesses have to use multiple platform-as-a-service tools. Up to 85% of businesses use at least two cloud platforms, and 25% use at least five. It’s not likely that this will change soon. Solution teams want to use the tool they think is best for the job, no matter where it is in the cloud. They don’t want to be limited to the tools that are available from a single vendor. Also, they use the vendors’ competitors as a bargaining chip to get better service terms. Most businesses won’t be able to run their business with just one cloud provider, so multicloud is likely to be the way to go for the foreseeable future.

Security and redundancy

A lot of businesses that are now in a multi-cloud environment got there by accident. They added new services to public clouds on an ad hoc basis, without a bigger plan for how to handle things like redundancy and security. Keeping track of multiple security settings and data repositories is hard in a multi-cloud environment. Technology leaders want to get rid of these problems because their companies aren’t likely to see the cost savings or improvements in operational efficiency that can come from using the cloud. Their experience with the complexity of multi-cloud has led to problems like paying for services that do the same thing, security holes, and trouble finding workers to clean up the mess.

Poly and hybrid cloud strategies

As cloud managed services providers continue to make their services stand out, we expect organizations to be very careful about where they put their workloads in 2023. This multi-cloud or “poly-cloud” approach will give applications the best services for their use case, whether they need a specialized database, an AI/ML service, or an industry cloud solution. Enterprises also continue to realize that not all workloads belong in the public cloud (mostly because of cost, performance, and regulatory concerns), and organizations will embrace their on-premise and private cloud footprints in their roadmaps.

Flexibility

It would be impossible to overstate the significance of flexible applications that are easy to move. Almost every business has migrated at least one application to a new IT environment in the past year. Still, it’s common knowledge that moving a workload to a different cloud setting can be a challenging and expensive endeavor. When considering whether to make the switch, security concerns are usually at the top of the list, followed by concerns about performance and the desire to keep control.

Conclusion

Innovative business leaders aren’t just accepting the complexity that multi-cloud and the expanding IT footprint have brought forth. Instead, businesses are trying to find solutions to the problem of multi-cloud complexity while still reaping the benefits of managing numerous cloud instances for their operations.

Though it can be confusing at times, our current reality is a multi-cloud environment, and it seems likely that this is where we will remain for the foreseeable future as well. In order to minimize the security and redundancy issues that come with managing many cloud instances, savvy business and technology leaders should seek out places to reduce complexity wherever possible, perhaps through leveraging mature clouds like Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure offers a complete set of services to make multi-cloud deployment easier. These services include the network, database, data mesh, integration, security, observability, and management.

In a world with many cloud-based services and solutions, a multi-cloud environment is often the best way for organizations to balance price, performance, and flexibility. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure supports strong multi-cloud solutions. This makes management easier and reduces integration problems and security risks while making it easier to use.