Overcoming the Data Problem with Multi-Cloud

Multi-Cloud is a hot topic right now in IT circles. Instead of being locked into a single cloud, organizations can shift workloads between clouds as needed. Multi-cloud enables them to receive the best pricing possible on cloud services and resources. The multi-cloud strategy implies a free flow of information and a sense of cooperation between cloud providers. The problem is that while the primary cloud providers offer a full range of applications, services, compute and storage, and through pricing, they discourage the movement of an organization’s most valuable asset; data.

Data, as has been said many times, has gravity. The transport of data between cloud providers takes time but the time to transfer data, assuming a direct connection between providers, is not the issue since most cloud providers’ primary data centers are near each other.

The primary issue is egress fees, a difficult to calculate taxation that providers charge their customers for transferring data out of their cloud. It is interesting that no cloud provider charges for transferring data into their data center. The egress fees to move data between various cloud providers is significant. Some organizations with multi-cloud aspirations simultaneously seed multiple clouds so they can get around egress fees. For them, it is cheaper to store data in multiple locations instead of transferring it between locations.

A third issue is that, since the large cloud providers offer a full range of services and resources, there is little incentive to cooperate. These providers are each full service and don’t perceive a need for each other. They are competitors.

The Cloud Specialists – A Best of Breed Cloud Option

There is a new emerging set of cloud providers that focus on just one particular service or cloud resource. These providers often deliver more advanced features, higher performance, and a greater level of service and support than their larger competitors. They also tend to be nimbler, integrating newer technology and concepts as soon as they become available. Because these providers typically focus on delivering just one service or resource they, by default, are encouraged to work with each other establishing deep partnerships and relationships that further improve the quality of support, and ultimately delivering a better customer experience. These providers though, need each other. A best of breed compute provider needs a best of breed storage provider with which to connect and store data.

Part of an aspect of working together is the free flow of information. These providers want data to be accessible to any other provider that the organization wants to leverage, including, ironically enough, the mega-cloud providers. As a result, it is rare for a best of breed cloud provider to charge any egress fees.

Cloud Specialists Make Multi-Cloud a Reality

If an organization picks a best of breed cloud provider for storage, as an example, they are then free to attach almost any cloud compute or cloud application provider to that resource. Cloud compute providers of any type can connect to the cloud storage provider’s data directly so that it does not need to migrate to the compute provider’s platform. If for some reason data does need to transfer results in and back out, egress fees are either non-existent or nominal.

A best of breed cloud storage provider should then be at the center of an organization’s cloud strategy. It allows the organization to have multiple compute clouds, and even compute services from mega-cloud providers, connect to their data set for processing or analysis. The cloud storage provider can also be leveraged to protect on-premises data as part of a hybrid-cloud strategy.

StorageSwiss Take

It may be time for organizations to rethink their current cloud strategy. Multi-cloud appeals because of its promise of flexibility, and the ability to move or attach data to the most qualified and price competitive cloud as needed. Best of breed vendors should be in a better position to provide a real multi-cloud experience to their customers because they need partnerships to offer a complete solution.

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Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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