Companies use multiple cloud providers to add efficiency, build agility, and improve fault tolerance to their business operations. As we discussed in my previous post, if you locate all of your cloud resources with a single vendor, you reduce—and in many cases give up—control of the reason why you moved to the cloud in the first place: flexibility. Multicloud architecture breaks that dependence and removes restrictions imposed by a sole-provider relationship.
Yet, avoiding lock-in isn’t the only reason to adopt multicloud architecture. It’s also about putting your data (portability) and applications (interoperability) on the products and infrastructure that make the most sense for your business based on performance and cost. The success of multicloud architecture is largely dependent on the compatibility of different cloud environments. In an ideal scenario, the differences between cloud providers will be invisible at the operational level.
In a fully portable cloud environment, you can leverage different data centers based on their proximity to demand surges, take advantage of better pricing models, and attain a level of agility that a sole provider might not be able to offer.
By 2025, 50% of all of the world’s data will be stored in the cloud. Enabling that data to travel freely will determine whether businesses reap the rewards of cloud or get locked into proprietary environments with little room to choose the tools, cost structures, and data center locations they want and need.
A freer, more portable cloud can be attained through the careful integration of analogous tools, the thoughtful architecture of open source infrastructure to create compatibility when it’s absent, and the support of cloud management and orchestration services providers when it’s needed.
But this maturity level calls for a shift in mindset—one that strives for a frictionless vendor-agnostic world of the cloud. Full portability depends on an ecosystem where data can travel freely across cloud providers. This approach requires openness and compatibility between proprietary software—with open source tools (interoperability) bridging gaps as needed.
Interoperability is fairly straightforward when analogous tools and applications exist across providers. These tools might include compute nodes, managed Kubernetes, or storage. Realistically, however, modern cloud environments are quite complex, and not all elements will work together out of the box. When tools are not directly compatible, users often need to fill in gaps with custom coding to build the desired compatibility, an increasing challenge with the current skills gaps across the cloud.
The malleability of open source makes it instrumental for building matching pairs in functionality between cloud providers when direct analogs do not exist. On the other hand, a proprietary environment complicates—and in some cases prohibits—your ability to build compatibility across clouds, often by design.
A growing ecosystem of organizations has built managed services on top of open source technologies, making them cloud-agnostic. These public cloud providers are putting themselves in the best position to benefit from the possibilities of a world where companies use multiple cloud providers. In particular, alternative cloud providers design their services to fit efficiently into multicloud scenarios. Alternative cloud providers offer an array of services that emphasize interoperability, strong customer service, and better price performance.If you’re looking for a cloud environment that is flexible, efficient, and resilient to lock-in, plan for a multicloud configuration built on open frameworks and freely available, open source tools.
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