October 1, 2023

For good motive there’s a number of dialogue about multi-cloud amongst enterprise knowledge architects, CIO/CDOs, business analysts and tech illuminati. However what’s multi-cloud? The time period suffers from ambiguity and misunderstanding that always plague rising know-how structure ideas.

We’re finest to grasp what multi-cloud is (and isn’t) within the body of the “ache” multi-cloud ought to clear up. The time period “multi-cloud” is mostly related to the proposition of escaping cloud vendor lock-in and the challenges that stem from lock-in. As we’ve written within the submit, Reframing Lock-in Within the Period of Information-Pushed Transformation, we subscribe to a “data-gravity” model of lock-in the place the principle “downside” is the issue in making knowledge out there to the cloud purposes, native and third-party knowledge companies provided by cloud suppliers.

If at this time’s model of cloud vendor lock-in is about knowledge – particularly making knowledge out there to purposes, and native and third-party knowledge companies within the cloud – then multi-cloud should be a data-centric answer that solves for the challenges of constructing knowledge out there to the appropriate purposes and companies anytime and wherever.

Getting by with A number of Cloud Options to Information Gravity

Frequent observe amongst organizations who’re already utilizing purposes and companies in a number of clouds is to repeat and transfer knowledge in order that knowledge resides in every of the clouds by which the group is internet hosting purposes and utilizing companies.

It will be a misnomer to consult with this “application-first” strategy to fixing knowledge gravity as multi-cloud. Slightly, this strategy is finest understood as a a number of cloud strategy. Typical ache factors that stem from a a number of cloud strategy to creating knowledge out there to purposes and companies in a number of public clouds embrace:

  • Operational complexity
  • Problem synchronizing knowledge throughout a number of locations
  • Prices related to duplicating knowledge
  • Uncontrollable egress and switch costs related to shifting knowledge out of/between clouds
  • Safety, compliance, privateness and governance challenges
  • Incapability to optimize the fee/efficiency trade-off for every workload
  • Incapability to leverage the perfect cloud sources or companies for every job’s necessities

All of those challenges can impede the progress of data-driven transformation initiatives leading to a enterprise ceding benefit to opponents with extra nimble knowledge architectures.

Though there exists software program that may facilitate the duplication and synchronization of knowledge throughout a number of public clouds, it stays operationally tough, expensive and time consuming, and in some instances impractical to take action, notably with giant knowledge units. It is a matter of physics; with the velocity of sunshine being a rate-limiting issue sophisticated by safety, governance, compliance and different components.

A number of cloud approaches to fixing for knowledge gravity emerge from an antiquated application-level view of lock-in, the place the placement of the appliance determines the placement of the info. If we reframe our view of lock-in as a data-gravity downside, we’re liberated to re-imagine the answer; shifting from an application-first view to a data-first view.

Re-imagining Cloud Structure with a Information-First Strategy to Fixing Information Gravity

What’s required to unravel knowledge gravity is a data-first structure for the general public cloud. Such an answer would allow a one knowledge retailer to current knowledge to purposes, and native and third-party knowledge companies in a number of clouds concurrently. In a data-first structure, every software and repair may learn and write to the identical knowledge set, concurrently. Such an structure requires a mixture of cloud-adjacent knowledge and networking to current that knowledge into purposes and companies in a number of clouds.

This data-first idea of the answer to data-gravity is really multi-cloud by design with one copy of knowledge connected to purposes and companies in a number of public clouds (together with a number of availability zones) concurrently.

Placing Multi-Cloud in Context

It’s notably essential and pressing for IT organizations to unravel the challenges of knowledge gravity within the period of data-driven transformation the place the lack to make knowledge available can go away a corporation falling behind its opponents. Enabling data-driven transformation requires re-imaging cloud structure with an answer that defies knowledge gravity by presenting knowledge to purposes and companies in a number of public clouds moderately than shifting knowledge to the place purposes and companies reside. In making this shift from application-centric cloud design ideas to data-first cloud design ideas, it turns into apparent with the advantage of hindsight {that a} true multi-cloud knowledge structure is an enabler of data-driven enterprise transformation.

By Derek Pilling