A recent study by 451 Research indicates that nearly a third of large organizations work with four or more cloud vendors, making one wonder whether multi-cloud is the future of cloud computing. The recent acquisition by Google of Orbitera, a platform that supports multi-cloud commerce, shows that Google recognizes that multi-cloud environments are the future. In a market estimated by Gartner to be worth $240 billion next year, multi-cloud creates a new front in the so-called “cloud computing wars.” This can only be good news for those businesses looking for flexibility, cost savings, and ultimately better solutions.
It appears that organizations that prefer multiple cloud providers have very logical reasons for this. They use multiple cloud providers to support specific applications or workloads. For example, a core application may need more resilience to perform when power is lost or expand to capacity and another department within the same organization may need the cloud to enhance productivity. Having one single cloud solution may compromise its outcome, which is probably why large companies with multiple functions may end up with several clouds. Another reason, as per a report by Ovum, seems to be overall dissatisfaction with a single cloud service provider. Key reasons cited include poor service performance and a lack of personalized support.
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One more reason could be that companies vary of keeping all their applications and workflows in one single cloud, because it can leave them vulnerable and reduce their pricing negotiation powers with the provider, in the long term.
While the logic behind a multi-cloud environment may seem sensible, the fact remains that it can be difficult to jostle between clouds. While cloud providers make it easy to move applications to their platforms, leaving it is not easy, to ensure that their business is not reduced to a price-sensitive commodity.
Also, some organizations are worried about the downtime involved in moving petabytes of data
Many organizations are rightly concerned about the downtime involved in moving petabytes of data between cloud providers. Fortunately, the same patented Active Data Replication technology that all the major cloud vendors offer to make it simple for customers to move to the cloud can also be used to migrate data between the clouds.
The ramifications of this are huge. While Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant player in the space, businesses wanting the freedom to juggle multiple cloud services and avoid vendor lock-in may well help the other players to catch up.