By John Dix
Editor in Chief, Network World
If you are going with public cloud services, there is a certain appeal to centralizing your apps with as few suppliers as possible to minimize the management overhead. But given the recent outages with Amazon and other leading players, some observers say you’re better off using a multi-cloud sourcing strategy. What’s more, a slew of specialized SaaS offerings are emerging that give you the option of taking a best of breed approach. Experts argue opposing views about cloud sourcing strategy.
Multi-sourced delivers best of breed
Most CIOs agree the cloud is no longer an if but a when, so the question now is how to orchestrate the transition. Once you have determined which applications and services should migrate, you have to decide if your organization should go with a single vendor or multiple cloud suppliers. For enterprises looking to the cloud to increase efficiencies, effectiveness and customer satisfaction, a multi-cloud sourcing strategy is the way to go because multiple vendors provide the flexibility and the rich functionality required.
The following are the most compelling arguments for a multi-cloud sourcing strategy:
- Only a multi-provider solution can suffice for all of your cloud needs. Currently, only a multiple-vendor cloud solution can effectively meet the vast and continuously changing needs of the enterprise. Large organizations, after all, have a wide range of complex needs that would be hard – if not impossible – for any one supplier to address. What’s more, going with multiple providers makes it easier to develop and implement effective solutions.
- Having multiple providers is cheaper. The very existence of multiple vendors in a marketplace causes prices to drop. Providers who specialize only in certain services or areas of expertise can charge lower prices.
- Having multiple providers is quicker. There are many providers who offer plug and play cloud solutions which can make things as easy as possible. (Google Apps has a basic sign-up with no installations needed)
- Using multiple hypervisors doesn’t have to be a big deal. Providers are making it easy to move virtual machines from hypervisor to hypervisor so mixing and matching suppliers doesn’t come at the expense of flexibility.
- Multiple exit strategies doesn’t mean double the difficulty. Exit strategies do not have to be hard, and once you have developed one you can leverage the same core with multiple providers.
While the process of selecting multiple cloud solutions can be lengthier, it is important to remember that going this route will ultimately make the enterprise more efficient, with the benefits outweighing the extra effort required. After all, in an on-premise enterprise environment we avoid single solution environments so we can take advantage of hardware and software competition, and the cloud is no different.
In fact, one of the most enticing things about the cloud is the availability of a wide range of specialized services. A full range of services will not be available from any one cloud provider; it is the variety of vendors and their expertise that provides enterprises with the ability to pick and choose the services that best fit their needs.
When and if you decide a multi-cloud environment is right for you, transition issues you’ll need to address include:
- How to remain agile while maintaining overall costs
- How to develop a strategy that manages risk, addresses staff skills, and takes into account a sustainable timeline
- How to assess vendors and make selections
I suggest pursuing a broader cloud effort that includes more than just Infrastructure as a Service plumbing because the payoff is greater. And if you go broad, that more or less makes the multi-cloud vendor approach inevitable.
For example, if you take a broader view you’ll soon recognize the need for applications and infrastructure components that likely won’t be available from vendors that would be selected to manage, say, an archiving solution or cloud based virtualized server environment.
Granted, a multiple-vendor solution will make a cloud vendor exit strategy more complex. However, the functions and benefits from having a range of vendors outweigh the small amount of extra work required to develop multiple exit strategies, especially if you can model each exit strategy after a core strategy. Moreover, exit strategies are only used if you decide something is wrong, which may never happen if the appropriate research and discussion with vendor(s) is completed prior to the migration.
When you take all of this together, it is clear enterprises can move forward with multiple cloud vendors to develop not only a feasible solution, but a preferable one.
Original Article Published: Sept. 9, 2013. Original Article Link: https://www.networkworld.com/article/2225317/tech-debates/cloud-sourcing–consolidate-suppliers-or-go-best-of-breed-.html