The freedom to choose among multiple options is considered a fundamental indicator of economic well-being.
CIOs worldwide are now exercising that freedom as part of their mass migration to the public cloud, in many cases choosing more than one infrastructure service provider. With that multicloud approach, they reason, they’re able to negotiate the best discounts, pick the best provider for specific workloads or features, and avoid vendor lock-in, while mitigating the risks of downtime, security breaches, and performance bottlenecks.
One of the main reasons organizations turn to subscription cloud services in the first place is because of the intrinsic flexibility of such offerings—capacity and functionality that can be turned on and off as needed. Why would they want to limit that flexibility by relying on a single provider? It pays to hedge your bets.
But let’s not confuse a thoughtful multicloud strategy with a buying free-for-all, in which different shadow IT groups pick and choose so-called best-of-breed providers for their very specific needs. When it comes to selecting multiple clouds, enterprises must map out a cohesive plan built around a cohesive architecture, especially to ensure interoperability and proper governance.
“The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital transformation in the Asia Pacific region, and most organizations have adopted a multicloud strategy, choosing the best cloud fit for their workloads while ensuring workload portability and integration,” says IDC Research Director Daphne Chung.
For example, a strategic partnership between Oracle and Microsoft is helping our joint customers run workloads across our clouds, making it easy for them to extend applications from Microsoft Azure into Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and vice versa. One such business, Tokyo-based OPEN8, has boosted the performance and cut the cost of Video BRAIN, its AI-based business video-editing cloud service thanks in part to the Oracle-Microsoft interconnect partnership, while ensuring that its core business isn’t overly reliant on any single infrastructure provider.
In highly regulated industries, oversight authorities are starting to nudge the major players toward spreading the critical workloads they’re moving to the cloud among multiple providers.
Consider the financial services sector. Both the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Association of Banks in Singapore—without explicitly requiring financial companies to go multicloud—are urging them to mitigate the adverse effects of system failure and security breaches owing to their reliance on a single cloud.
Among government institutions, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, as part of the national GI Cloud initiative, has accredited Oracle and a handful of other cloud providers as meeting its stringent guidelines on interoperability, security, data portability, and service-level agreements. Those accreditations pave the way for federal and state agencies in India to spread their cloud workloads among multiple providers for the scalability, flexibility, and efficiency reasons cited above.
Likewise, the US government has accredited several cloud providers as part of its Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, or FEDRamp, which allows federal, state, and local agencies to migrate workloads to the cloud more securely. It’s noteworthy that one big US government institution, the Pentagon, reversed course a few months ago on its massive JEDI (Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability) contract, deciding to go with multiple cloud vendors after initially picking a single FEDRamp-qualified one. The defense agency came to realize that it needed to ensure it always had access to best-in-class cloud innovations, whether in automation, AI, or data analytics, and that no single vendor could meet all its current and future requirements.
Telecom carriers worldwide are among the most vigorous multicloud adopters, in some instances turning to one cloud infrastructure provider for ecommerce and other front-end applications, and another for more complex back-office billing, revenue management, and network monitoring systems.
Not too long ago, the debate among IT leaders and their C-suite peers was around the wisdom of committing to the cloud. That debate has been settled; today’s focus is on identifying primary and secondary vendors to support their organizations’ cloud strategies. The deciding factor should be which providers are embracing a multicloud approach and which ones try to resist in order to maintain their unhealthy market dominance.