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What Is Multi Cloud?

To understand multi cloud, let's take a minute to look at the definition of cloud computing. The cloud can be defined as a group of servers that customers access over the Internet. Cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure operate and manage their clouds. A cloud shared by more than one customer is known as a public cloud, while a cloud with only one client is known as a private cloud.

In a multi-cloud environment, two or more public clouds or two or more private clouds provide services for the customer. Rather than a client only using one vendor for web services, backup or disaster recovery and security, it uses a multi-cloud configuration to provide these services to businesses or the public.

Veeam reports about 80% of all businesses will adopt a multi-cloud strategy. Veeam offers the number one data protection and disaster recovery age package for multi-cloud enterprises. With Veeam, you can be sure that if one of the servers in your multi-cloud strategy goes down, your data will be retained and protected and you can quickly be back online.

Key Components of Multi Cloud

Cloud services, cloud service providers and cloud management platforms provide the critical architectural elements for a multi-cloud strategy. Cloud services can involve working with a vendor for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS). Sometimes, businesses may prefer to use on-premises servers to provide data security or for regulatory compliance.

  • Distributed multi-cloud architecture: Companies place their services or applications across two or more cloud providers in this configuration. This helps them select the best vendor for each service or application.
  • Redundant multi-cloud architecture: This configuration can be active-active or active-passive. In an active-active model, services or applications are again distributed across two or more clouds. All these services and applications are live and use a load balancer to manage traffic and operations. This load balancer directs traffic to the most available server. If a cloud provider fails, the load balancer directs traffic to the other cloud server. In an active-passive model, services and applications deploy to a single vendor. If that vendor's server crashes or encounters another failure, traffic will automatically be sent to the backup cloud.
  • Intercloud architecture: Here, data and workflows move from one public cloud to another. Due to the integration between the two clouds, you can create a hybrid cloud-like environment where public and private clouds also connect. A hybrid cloud environment is one where a business uses both public and private clouds. Multi-clouds and hybrid clouds are similar but not the same thing.

Multi-cloud Advantages

Using a multi-cloud strategy comes with several advantages, such as:

Best in Breed

When a client is not locked into using a single vendor, any business can distribute its services or applications across different clouds that provide the best fit for that service or application.

Shadow IT Avoidance

When employees of a company discover a service or an application that better suits their needs in terms of job performance, they will often adopt that software outside of a company's IT operational guidelines. It's like creating a multi-cloud environment by default. However, this can cause security and performance issues in the long run. Instead, a multi-cloud strategy enables you to include new technologies preferred by your employees as they emerge and integrate them into your company in a way that does not threaten security or operations.

Vendor Lock-in Avoidance

In a multi-cloud strategy, a company can choose from various providers. You are not limited or tied to a single vendor. This lets you find the best solution for your business while reducing the costs incurred by using a single vendor.

Improved Security and Regulatory Compliance

A multi-cloud strategy allows businesses to implement security policies consistently across all locations to provide services and applications. Regarding regulatory compliance, large companies often operate across several countries or continents, each with its own set of regulations about internet usage. A multi-cloud strategy allows businesses to provide services and applications that comply with the regulations required by each locality.

Improved Redundancy, Which Leads to Increased Reliability

When implementing a multi cloud strategy, your company can better deal with outages, server crashes or unplanned downtime. Using multiple vendors reduces the risks of working with a single vendor and that single vendor having an unplanned failure. If one vendor has a problem, it doesn't necessarily affect the services and applications you may have on other clouds. And if you're using an active-passive architecture, traffic can be easily rerouted to another cloud if your central server does have a problem.

Improved Customer Experience

When you use an active-active multi cloud strategy with a load balancer, you reduce your customers' latency and load times. Happy customers mean more business and better word-of-mouth about your services or applications.

Multi-cloud Challenges

While adopting a multi-cloud strategy may seem like a win-win proposition for businesses, there are potential pitfalls.

Increased Complexity

When a company migrates from an on-premises server or a single vendor to a multi-cloud strategy, this increases the complexity for their IT department. You can't move to a cloud in one step. Previously, they may have only known how to maintain and operate one server or work with one vendor and its requirements. When you expand to an m-cloud operation, your IT team will need to manage operations with more than one cloud vendor who may have completely different operational requirements. Some businesses may require an on-premises squad or teams that manage services with other public vendors, such as AWS or Microsoft. This increases complexity and costs, and some businesses cannot afford it.

Increased Latency

Suppose your cloud service providers and their data centers are too geographically distant but need to talk to each other to answer user requests. In that case, this can result in a latency that users may find cumbersome. Latency can also increase if you use more than two vendors who need to interact with each other to fulfill user requests.

Increased Security Vulnerabilities

The more places hackers or other bad actors can use to find a way into your servers, the greater the likelihood you will face attacks such as ransomware or denial of service attacks. This is why you need services provided by a company like Veeam to protect your data and provide redundancy if one of these bad actors attacks you.

Performance Issues

Balancing workflows across multiple vendors can be difficult. This difficulty increases with the distance between each vendor's data center, resulting in poor performance for your services or applications and lost business.

Best Practices for a Multi-cloud Strategy

If you're considering moving to a multi-cloud strategy and architecture and want to ensure your greatest chances of success, consider certain factors.

Assess Your Business Needs

It's essential to determine if your business should move to a multi-cloud strategy. You must carefully determine pluses and minuses of shifting from a single vendor to a multi-cloud approach. Upon close examination, you may discover it's not the right time to move to a multi-cloud architecture or you can't currently afford it.

Establish Governance and Cost Controls

As part of your deep dive into whether your business would benefit from a multi-cloud strategy, it is also important to establish sound governance with consistent policies and processes. You need to ensure if you use different vendors, you have accurate reporting of utilization, including alerts that notify you if your business exceeds cost thresholds.

Select the Appropriate Vendors

Once you decide to move to a multi-cloud strategy, you want to take the time to determine which vendor will best manage each service or application and give you the best cost savings.

Find the Best Cloud Management Platform for Your Business

Companies can use cloud management tools for each vendor, but the best answer is a multi-cloud management platform. A multi-cloud platform gives you a "single pane" view of all your operations on different vendors. It allows your IT department to operate as if it is working in a single vendor environment. Take your time to find a multi-cloud management platform that gives you permissions and control over each service or application running on that cloud, whether public, private or on-premises. You also want a platform that provides up-to-the-minute analytics and the ability to sift through data quickly to find critical elements needed to improve your business.

Multi cloud vs. Hybrid cloud

As noted above, a hybrid cloud strategy differs from a multi-cloud strategy because it involves using a public and a private cloud together or an on-premises server with a public or a private cloud. Multi cloud and hybrid cloud are similar but different. Think of a multi-cloud strategy as using only one form of transportation to accomplish numerous tasks. You may live in a rural area where it's easier to use a pickup truck to get everything done — to go shopping, visit family and friends or go to the post office. This is similar to using only public or private clouds for your business.

With a hybrid model, it's like using different forms of transportation to accomplish these tasks. You may use a car to get groceries, ride a bus to work to save money and take an airplane to visit family. This compares to companies using the hybrid cloud to make their services and applications available. You may keep your data on an on-premises server to provide greater protection while using a public cloud for your web services and a private cloud for internal communications.

Multi-cloud Examples

A multi-cloud strategy provides numerous ways businesses can improve operations and better serve their customers.

Disaster Recovery

Businesses can use the multi cloud to back up data and critical applications when they don't rely on a single vendor to provide their services or applications. If that single vendor has a problem, you can use their other vendors to continue to serve their clients. It also means that businesses can restore operations in a few clicks.

Regional Differences

Companies that offer their services and applications globally can better abide by location-specific regulations and rules when they offer services on a regionally located vendor. It reduces latency issues, as customers will not be forced to retrieve services or applications across vast geographic distances.

Stopped Shadow IT

Use the multi cloud to provide your employees with tools that help them do their jobs better and comply with your security and operational concerns. Multi cloud reduces the number of times employees consider using unsanctioned applications to do their jobs.

Setting Up Multi Cloud With Veeam

If you're exploring a multi-cloud strategy, you want to check the various related products offered by Veeam. For instance, numerous businesses use Veeam to protect data for their multi-cloud operations. Veeam can also provide information about how to create a multi-cloud or hybrid strategy for your business.

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