Hybrid and Multi Cloud Computing – The Future or The Present?

Hybrid and Multi Cloud Computing – The Future or The Present?

Cloud computing is a key part of many businesses, but has it become a necessity? Is it now not the question of if it will be embraced, but how well businesses embrace it? 

Analysts are in disagreement about whether cloud computing growth is accelerating or decelerating. Some expect the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud business to grow by six-fold within 10 years, as they assume the already high margins will continue to increase [1]. Others predict that the global market will reach £562,137,738,000 by 2025. Known actors that are propelling this growth include increasing automation, necessity for delivering enhanced customer experience, increased cost savings, and enhanced internet quality due to the rise of 5G technology [2].

Competition within the market is also increasing, with smaller businesses only now moving to the cloud and thereby increasing competition for larger, established companies. With some businesses only now developing their presence in cloud computing, the market must still be developing and therefore its growth accelerating.

However, as more companies come into cloud computing, others are looking to keep their margins and do things that make sense, such as working together to improve service. An example of this is Dell’s acquisition of EMC through their record breaking deal in 2016 which created DellEMC; now one of the leading businesses in the market. Through joining forces, they became one of the most powerful in the field and removed their previous biggest competitors – each other.  This implies the market is decelerating as big companies are collaborating as opposed to competing. However, if the sector continues to develop at its current pace, further innovation like these partnerships will be necessary to integrate new needs and technologies to the existing contractual and regulatory framework.

A recent innovation to address this is hybrid cloud computing. Analysts believe that for the vast majority of businesses, the future of the cloud is a hybrid one that can leverage both on premise computing resources and elements of the public cloud. A hybrid cloud solution has the potential to provide the best architecture for various workloads while still maintaining a single point of control [3]. In simple terms, hybrid cloud enables a converged IT environment to encompass both public/offsite and private/onsite cloud resources.

However, hybrid cloud is more than just the middle ground between public cloud and private cloud and involves more than simply running different workloads in different IT environments. Hybrid clouds integrate compute, storage, security, networking, applications, and management into an onsite/offsite IT operations “workspace”, which enables businesses to use the speed and agility of public cloud alongside the existing tools, systems, and policies being used in the datacentre [3].

Companies need the flexibility of the hybrid cloud as it gives them additional choices in who manages resources and how they’re paid for, and is really the only option that addresses this range of needs. It is a cheaper alternative as you don’t require a separate computer for each server, it has a lower cost than a dedicated server and some argue that it has better security than shared hosting. There’s no downside!

Multi-cloud computing is another new cloud innovation that is expanding the market. The term multi-cloud refers to the use of multiple cloud computing services from multiple cloud vendors in a single architecture. The distribution of cloud assets, software, and applications is spread across multiple cloud-hosting environments (public clouds and private clouds) and aims to eradicate relying on a single cloud provider [4]. Multi-cloud computing is most definitely on the rise, with IDC estimating that a staggering 90 percent of European businesses will make use of multiple cloud services by 2020! [5]

Most enterprise cloud users are running more than one type of cloud deployment, for example Iaas, Saas, private, hybrid and public, and are working with more than one major public cloud provider. This is so they can pick and choose the best features and services from an assortment of vendors in order to get their ideal service. [5]. There are many other benefits for a multi-cloud environment, such as not having to depend on a single cloud vendor, preventing data loss, preventing downtime (thanks to localized component failures), the use of shadow IT, adherence to data laws, and achieving optimal performance for end users [4].

However, some experts are questioning whether multi-cloud computing is just a “nonsense buzzword” [6]. Some believe that its uptake is so fast purely because of hype, and not it’s actual capabilities. Part of the reason for such opposing views is that we lack a complete definition of multi-cloud. There is little controversy in stating that multi-cloud is “the simultaneous use of multiple cloud vendors,” but people are asking: to what end, exactly? Ben Lambert, Director of Engineering at Cloud Academy, discusses how an essential element of multi-cloud strategy is the teams within your business that are tasked with best-fit decision making. He then states that “we can reasonably define multi-cloud as the use of multiple public clouds to enable enterprise teams to select best-fit platforms, services, and functionality.” [6]

It seems that cloud computing is now firmly within our present and companies who have not addressed it have fallen behind. The future, which is already our present here at Certus thanks to our Tier 3+ NGD data centre, is hybrid cloud computing, and multi-cloud computing has the potential to become a business necessity. The complexity of modern IT still remains a significant challenge for many businesses, and multi-cloud falls behind hybrid cloud in accessibility due to this, but options that increase flexibility and choice are going to be the most important moving forward.