Enterprise cloud environments are constantly evolving. Smart organizations design for a cloud that grows with them, which reduces reliance on a single cloud provider.
The largest hyperscale cloud vendors present themselves as a one-stop shop, inviting you to become wholly dependent on them as a single source for everything you might ever need. Perpetually racking up new services and resources with the same cloud vendor might look like the path of least resistance, only to discover your cloud provider has painted you into a corner.
The problem with relying on a single-source cloud provider is vendor lock-in. You get so deeply entwined into the vendor’s ecosystem that it becomes impossible—or at least cost-prohibitive—to break away if and when your business needs change. Beyond being trapped, a single source architecture makes your infrastructure—your business—less adaptable and resilient. For example:
Cost efficiencies: A single-source vendor has no reason to negotiate or provide economies of scale. You should be able to move your workloads freely to another cloud provider and experience savings that allow you to grow your business.
Resiliency: If your provider hiccups, your business hiccups. And the impact is typically worse for you than them. Working with an additional provider as part of your multicloud architecture allows your business to keep running if one of your providers goes down. It’s not a question of if, but when.
Fit: The Big 3 hyperscale providers—Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform—prioritize volume and scale. They often aren’t the best fit for a smaller organization or hobbyist developer.
The rise of alternative hyperscale providers like Linode, DigitalOcean, and OVHcloud, is causing a significant shift in the cloud industry. Gartner estimates that two-thirds of all cloud industry customers will adopt multicloud as a means for avoiding lock-in by the end of 2024, while according to a recent survey from HashiCorp, more than 76% of enterprises already have adopted a multicloud strategy.
The Alternative Cloud™’s Role in Multicloud
Interoperable component services maximize the advantages of multicloud. Your cloud providers should support tools that are provider agnostic. In practice, this usually means that the cloud vendor must support free and open source tools available to other vendors. The Terraform Infrastructure as Code framework and the Kubernetes container orchestration system are examples of open source tools available through multiple cloud vendors.
Many organizations build their custom client applications to access cloud resources, so it is also essential for your cloud vendor to support open APIs. An example of an open API is the Simple Storage Service (S3) object storage API, developed by Amazon but now supported in multiple cloud environments. This universal support means you can write an application that accesses cloud-based object storage for one vendor and then use the same or a similar application to access object storage from a different vendor. By contrast, a proprietary API would require you to write, maintain, and administer two different client applications, adding confusion, increasing the possibility of errors, and double the overall cost.
A branch of the cloud industry known as The Alternative Cloud™ has evolved to provide a ready option for organizations that want to migrate to multicloud. In a typical scenario, you might maintain an ongoing relationship with a larger vendor like Google or AWS and then balance or optimize their overall architecture using an alternative cloud provider. At the same time, the company can maintain a relationship with the larger vendor for continuity or support a service that is better suited for the big-cloud setting.
An extensive set of open tools and APIs makes a company like Linode an ideal multicloud partner, including support for Kubernetes and S3 object storage, as well as several open frameworks for orchestration, configuration, and automation. Our object storage support illustrates how provider-agnostic tools in the alternative cloud can lead to significant savings. You can continue to use AWS for mission-critical services while moving object storage to Linode for considerable cost reduction. GigaOm analyst Enrico Signoretti ranked the S3-compatible Linode Object Storage as a “challenger” and “fast mover” in his recent research report on alternatives to Amazon S3.
Find out if an efficient, flexible, and fault-tolerant multicloud environment is right for you. Contact our team of experienced IT and cloud consultants who can guide your architecture, migrations, and software deployments.