Many businesses believe that moving to the cloud means selecting one provider based on features and costs, then deciding when and how to migrate services to it. Depending upon your design, this approach can mitigate many risks. But as recent cloud outages have shown us, it can’t mitigate all your risks. During the recent Amazon AWS S3 outage
<https://aws.amazon.com/message/41926/>, I continued to work because I use OneDrive to store my files and Amazon Workspaces for VDI. If I had put all my proverbial eggs into the Amazon basket, including WorkMail and WorkDocs, I would have been dead in the water.
It isn’t necessary to give up on the cloud for fear of outages. Taking a multi-cloud approach – one that uses two or more cloud service providers — will create new opportunities and reduce the impact of outages to your business. Imagine being able to keep your business running while your competition is down because of a cloud outage. How much money would you lose if you were down, too? How many customers could you convert if you were able to keep some of your services running because you hosted them on a different cloud provider? Now imagine being able to take advantage of the best features of the cloud providers of your choice to combine them into a new solution. These possibilities are why so many view a move to the cloud as a strategic decision, not just an operational one. Taking a multi-cloud approach can provide redundancy and flexibility not otherwise afforded by one cloud alone.
Done right, you can achieve geographic redundancy with all the major cloud providers. With a multi-cloud design, you can do the same thing while also avoiding platform-level outages. You can also mix the best of all worlds. For instance, you can host your mail in Exchange Online as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite while using Amazon’s AWS RDBS service to power your applications, or host Exchange in AWS and MS SQL in Azure. How about Amazon Workspaces for VDI, and Box.com for document collaboration? I’m sure you get the idea.
Designing multi-cloud solutions requires careful planning and integration. Among the many factors that need focus are authentication, integration points between cloud systems, redundancy within each cloud platform, and costs. When your solution is ready, though, the benefits will be worth the trouble. Here are some of the key advantages:
- Avoiding vendor lock-in
- Optimized spending choices
- Enhanced business continuity and disaster recovery benefits
- Richer feature options
- Sophisticated backup options
- Increased scalability
The first benefit in this list drives all the others. If you choose one vendor for your cloud solution, you are beholden to one pricing model, limited to one set of features, and vulnerable to platform outages. The more choices you give yourself, the more flexible you are to choose what is right for your business. The outcome is simple. Pay for what you need, select the best features, and reduce the risk of disruptive outages.