Graeme O'driscoll
Graeme O'driscoll Head: Software Engineering

If you’ve ever been warned about “putting all your eggs in one basket” you’ll understand the value of a multi-cloud strategy: using different cloud services to minimise the risk of data loss or downtime due to a failure in a cloud environment. Unfortunately, many businesses perceive the risk of downtime as some sort of hypothetical event that affects only other businesses.

business man talking infront of a computer

But consider what happened to Amazon in 2011 when their Dublin-based cloud-computing hub went down due to an electrical transformer malfunction. They weren’t the only ones. The next year, Microsoft’s Azure Cloud management system experienced an outage, and users were negatively affected in the United States and Europe.

As the name suggests, a multi-cloud environment puts your “eggs” in multiple baskets. The upside is that this reduces risks and minimises vendor lock-in by giving businesses more agility and flexibility. This allows them to meet the needs of a spectrum of customers.

One of the benefits of cloud includes cost savings. With a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can cut costs and also shorten time to market, streamline workloads and up or downscale as their needs change.

But no cloud model is ideal for every workload. Research indicates that the use of multiple clouds is growing. According to a 2016 Dimension Data study, 77% of businesses plan to implement multi-cloud architectures. This illustrates that the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy apply to businesses across a wide range of sectors and industries.

In this blog, we explain why an organisation might adopt a multi-cloud approach and offers strategies for building and managing a multi-cloud environment.

Planning a multi-cloud environment

It’s important to start by mapping your entire network and identifying where the cloud could fit in. If you have a clear picture of what role cloud could play as part of your broader business strategy, it’ll be easier to match each department with cloud providers that meet their different needs.

Two key elements to consider

From a security and compliance perspective, policies and implementations must be consistent across the multi-cloud environment. This can be complicated in a multi-cloud environment because you’re dealing with multiple vendors and each must have the right security and compliance procedures in place to keep your network and information safe. These measures include everything from identity management and data encryption to vulnerability assessments and intrusion detection.

When it comes to portability and migration, a multi-cloud environment allows you to choose from different migration models. Whatever you decide, it’s important that you partner with a cloud service provider that can support your porting and migration needs.

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