Guest post originally published on the Snapt blog by Craig Risi

To cloud or not to cloud? This question has been around for a while now, as the cloud has opened the door to many opportunities for companies. From not needing to maintain expensive servers to additional development infrastructure, better deployment, and scale, moving to the cloud has a lot to offer companies. However, the discussion for many enterprises is perhaps no longer about the need for or the importance of adopting a cloud strategy but about moving toward adopting a multi-cloud strategy.

What is Multi-Cloud?

In a multi-cloud strategy, companies adopt more than one cloud service provider to host their different applications. There are a variety of reasons why businesses would want to do this, which we will unpack throughout this blog.

However, before companies explore the possibilities of a multi-cloud strategy, they first need to determine if a cloud strategy is for them and understand what it will take to architect their systems to become cloud-native. While you can just upload software to the cloud, it can be expensive if you don’t design it right, and adopting a multi-cloud strategy becomes even more complicated.

Finding the Cloud Provider for You

The first step in the cloud migration journey is to determine which service provider to use. This step can become quite tricky, as you could be looking at any service provider, from Amazon to Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and/or Digital Ocean, each with its own reliable and cost-effective solution.

With so many options available and each cloud service provider offering a different set of tools and pricing structures, it pays off for companies to shop around and adopt services from the many different cloud providers. This way, they will be able to build their products with the right toolsets and get the best prices for their needs, leveraging the offerings of the different providers.

Our Reasons You Should Consider Adopting a Multi-Cloud Strategy

1.   Differing toolsets

No two cloud service providers are alike, and they each have their own strengths and specialties in the different services they offer. When you are developing your applications, you may find that certain features available on one cloud provider benefit one application, whereas another application might be better suited to a feature on a different cloud provider. Being in a position to utilize these different toolsets and features to your advantage could drastically improve the effectiveness of your application.

Additionally, different departments within your organization will likely have varied needs. Your application development team and IT admins won’t use the same apps as those in the sales office. Having a multi-cloud setup can address these needs and the fact that some necessary applications can run better on one platform than on another.

2.   Reduced costs

Similar to the different toolsets, different cloud providers have different costs, with some providers offering cheaper features. At the same time, many fees might change depending on availability, and sometimes, there are specials that can enable companies to switch cloud providers for a period of time to take advantage of the better rates on offer. Savings can drastically reduce costs, especially considering the large amounts of money companies need to spend to use these cloud services.

All this means is that a company that is best positioned to shift and move across to different cloud providers has the opportunity to save a lot of money if it can design its applications correctly and make the best use of its multi-cloud approach.

3.   Avoiding vendor lock-in

Designing your applications around one service provider locks you into them. Should that day come where you decide to move to another service provider, it will end up being a costly exercise with a frustrated development team. And let’s face it: with things changing so fast in the cloud space, you are going to be faced with moving across to a different system over time. Designing with multiple cloud providers in mind might take longer to get started initially, but it gives you the freedom to move onto the platform that best suits you at any given point in time while also easing that future maintenance burden.

A multi-cloud approach also provides the added flexibility to transfer to a new provider whose pricing structures or capabilities are more appealing than those offered by your current cloud provider. This also allows you to optimize cloud usage costs across providers.

4.   Optimizing performance

The ability to pick and choose which services run on a particular platform in a multi-cloud environment helps you create a level of performance that’s specific to your organization’s needs. In a single-cloud environment, you might not get optimal performance from every application.

A multi-cloud strategy borrows from each incorporated platform’s strengths, allowing your IT team to run workloads in the most appropriate environment and seamlessly shift to another one if needed.

5.   Improving reliability

Reliability is all about staying online and available to your clients, being highly performant, meeting the scale as needed, and—importantly—security. Let’s use a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) as an example. If your cloud provider is hit with a DDoS attack in a single-cloud model, there’s always a chance you could face some costly downtime for at least some, if not all, applications.

Larger organizations with massive traffic often use backup clouds and maintain targeted load balancing across these clouds. They can split traffic to optimize performance and mitigate widespread outages across their network. Should one provider have an outage, these customers are able to redirect traffic to another provider’s cloud infrastructure.

6.   Meet the world

Unless you’re a highly localized business offering a service to a particular area, there is a chance that you will have potential clients accessing your site from all around the world. While cloud providers try to have their services everywhere, it’s not feasible for them to be in every place equally. Adopting a multi-cloud approach can allow you to scale to where your customers need you the most, this is especially important for entertainment, online retail, or gaming sites, which are accessed from different parts of the globe all the time.

Orchestrating Load Balancing and Scaling Needs

Having a multi-cloud setup solves all these challenges, but it doesn’t come without its own complications. Orchestrating load, scaling, performance, and delivery and ensuring security across all the different cloud providers can prove to be quite a headache for support teams. This is especially relevant when there is no clear way to visualize what is going on around the globe.

Having a load orchestration tool like Nova ADC pays off, as it allows you to deploy an open thin client across all your different connected nodes, regardless of which cloud provider they operate on. Even if you are hosting services in-house, Nova allows you to have full control of your entire infrastructure from one central point and gives you the big picture of exactly what is happening on your system across the globe.

All this information also allows Nova ADC to be able to make intelligent decisions on your behalf. With each node speaking to each other, Nova can understand where your performance and load needs are across your multi-cloud setup and ensure that your system meets those needs, responding to failures, load, and security threats as they arise. This is all done proactively through its AI system, giving you the control you need to better manage your infrastructure when you need it the most.

Nova integrates with your locations and allows you to manage the ADCs, configurations, Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), and routing to them through the central application. You can deploy ADCs into any cloud (private or public) at the click of a button and view the stats for all of your cloud platforms together. Nova reduces complexity and cost by enabling seamless multi-cloud redundancy, autoscaling, monitoring and optimization, and “least-cost routing,” all from a single dashboard.

Don’t let the complexity of multi-cloud stop you from achieving your cloud dreams and leverage the tools available to make this orchestration easier and get the benefits without a few of the risks. Chat to the Snapt team today about your cloud infrastructure needs.