What is Multi-cloud?

Multi-cloud is one of today’s biggest buzzwords. Multi-cloud is also a fairly general term being used by many people for many purposes and as such is causing confusion and disagreement about its meaning.

Clouds

The Multi-cloud method

Multi-cloud is a method of leveraging multiple cloud computing platforms for independent or orchestrated tasks. Many businesses may choose several cloud providers to best fit their unique service rather than depending on one single cloud provider. Multi-cloud is different from hybrid cloud because it uses multiple cloud services rather than multiple deployment modes.

Different Cloud Storage terms

Cloud

The relatively simple use case such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service for Dev/Test workloads; data backup to a single cloud; or a Software-as-a-Service application.

Hybrid Cloud

The use case where an application, workload, or data could be run in the same technology stack on-premise (potentially in a private cloud) and in a cloud provider, but where the customer was essentially locked into that technology stack. An example could be moving a VMware workload between an on-premise datacenter and AWS. The workload can be moved back and forth, but remains locked into the VMware technology stack and cannot be easily ported to another virtualization platform such as Microsoft, Red Hat, etc.

Multi-cloud

The uses cases that enabled true freedom and control to run an application, workload, or data on any cloud – private or public – based on business or technical requirements.

Features of multi-cloud data control

Features of a multi-cloud data control platform

  • Support for multiple cloud storage services independent of the APIs and interfaces used to access these services. In other words, an abstraction layer between data and the proprietary APIs used to place that data in any given cloud storage service.
  • Ability to translate data into the native format of any given cloud storage service so that the data remains open and accessible to any system and not just the system that placed the data.
  • Search and metadata search capabilities to find data regardless of location.
  • An extensible data workflow engine that supports full Data Lifecycle Management capabilities.
  • Highly available and scalable architecture to support on-premise and cloud-based applications that themselves are highly available and scalable.

Multi-cloud capabilities

Just as technology stacks are multi-layered and comprise operating system, virtualization/containers, database/storage, applications, etc., so too is the Multi-Cloud multi-layered.

Multi-cloud capabilities can be found in provisioning workloads, capacity management, orchestration and automation, monitoring, cost management, security, data management, and others.

Benefits of multi-cloud data control

Having the freedom and control over data placement, movement, and search
  • Ability to select the appropriate data storage location – public or private cloud – based on business needs or required technical features
  • Higher level of data availability and durability given data can be replicated across multiple, fully autonomous clouds
  • Cost efficiencies due to increased competition between cloud storage providers combined with ability to instantly take advantage of new pricing for any given storage offering