The Benefits and Challenges of Multi-Cloud Hosting

July 3, 2024 / Cloud Hosting

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According to recent figures from Statista , 76% of businesses now make use of multi-cloud hosting. As more businesses shift from on-site to cloud hosting, multi-cloud has become increasingly important as a way to match different cloud solutions to a company’s needs, whether that’s to keep costs down, improve security, enhance performance or reduce latency. In this post, we take a detailed look at the benefits and challenges of multi-cloud hosting and discuss the key considerations for companies wishing to adopt this approach.

What is multi-cloud hosting?

In simple terms, multi-cloud hosting is where a company’s infrastructure includes two or more cloud solutions and where these are provided by different cloud vendors. Adopting this approach helps prevent vendor lock-in and, more importantly, enables you to place each of your workloads in the most fitting cloud environment.

Benefits of multi-cloud

As all cloud service providers offer something different, a multi-cloud approach gives you the flexibility to choose the best solution for each of your workloads. This can be based on the vendor’s costs, their areas of expertise, the data centre’s location (for both latency and compliance), security and the infrastructure on offer, whether it’s the latest hardware or the suitability for specific applications. As a result, you are able to tailor your cloud environment so that it meets your requirements.

Another benefit of multi-cloud is that it can offer improved reliability. By spreading workloads across different vendors, you can put redundant systems in place so that if there is an issue with one provider, you have the reassurance that you can maintain your operations by using another provider’s services, if required, thus minimising the potential for downtime or data loss.

Considering the vast amounts of data that modern businesses store, transmit and process, it is no surprise that companies want cost-effective cloud solutions. By using a multi-cloud model, you can choose service providers that offer the best prices and move data between them if costs fluctuate. You can also manage costs by using different vendors for different purposes, for example, if one vendor offers the lowest storage cost and another offers the lowest networking costs, taking advantage of these different prices can help keep costs to a minimum.

For more information, read: How to Achieve Cost Optimisation through Managed Cloud Services?

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The final advantage of multi-cloud is that it can help with innovation. By using different providers you will be able to try out new technologies and services without having to migrate all your operations to a single new vendor.

Multi-cloud challenges

One of the biggest challenges for multi-cloud users is managing the different cloud environments. As each provider can have different management tools and interfaces, interoperability can be difficult to achieve if you don’t have expert oversight. While most cloud vendors will offer tailored managed services, these don’t usually extend to managing other providers’ infrastructure. This either needs to be done in-house or through a third party. Thankfully, there are now tools available that can monitor and manage multi-cloud setups, making it far easier for you to run your operations. These tools provide an overview of your entire multi-cloud system, helping you maintain performance, aggregate data from your different clouds, identify potential issues and increase efficiency.

When it comes to security and compliance, multi-cloud systems can be both a challenge and an opportunity. Challenges can arise if your providers have different security measures and this makes some areas of your multi-cloud potentially less secure than others. To ensure all areas of the system are protected, you will need a robust and comprehensive security policy and should use advanced security tools, like advanced firewalls and intrusion and malware prevention, to keep your data and apps safe.

In terms of opportunities, a multi-cloud system can help your business comply with data privacy regulations. GDPR, for instance, has strict rules about transferring personal data to other countries where privacy rights might not be protected. Companies with multi-cloud setups that store UK or EU citizens’ data with providers whose data centres are located in the UK or EU are less likely to fall foul of these regulations.

While we have mentioned that multi-cloud enables businesses to take advantage of different vendors’ prices, it is important to note that transferring large amounts of data between different providers can be costly and lead to bottlenecks. To minimise the impact of data transfer, you should choose a cost-effective transfer method, e.g. delta synchronisation, deduplication and compression, and transfer your data during less busy periods to avoid bandwidth issues.

A final challenge is managing your backups. With applications and data stored in different cloud environments, it’s important to make sure nothing falls through the net and that all your systems are backed up at the frequency you need. Similarly, a detailed oversight of those backups is essential so that, should they be needed in the event of a disaster, your IT team knows exactly what data is backed up and where, to speed up recovery.

Key considerations

The most important thing you will need to consider is whether a multi-cloud approach is right for your business. Before making a decision, you will need to assess not just your current requirements but how these will change in the future and whether multi-cloud will offer the best solution in terms of cost, security, performance, innovation and productivity. Alternatives to multi-cloud, such as hybrid clouds that combine public and private clouds, together with dedicated servers, might be a more suitable option.

For more information, read: The Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Hosting

If multi-cloud is the right option, then it is vital that you make the right choice of cloud providers. As you can choose different providers to undertake different roles, you will need to know the services you want to run in the cloud and the best environments for each. Only then can you choose the right provider for the specific workloads. Your choice may be based on cost, provider expertise, security, location or the services, support, technologies and tools on offer. Bearing in mind the complexity of managing a multi-cloud setup, you should make sure that all your vendors offer managed solutions and 24/7 technical support.

For more information, read: What to Look For in a Managed Cloud Provider

Conclusion

The popularity of multi-cloud hosting is a clear indication that the majority of businesses benefit from this approach. By choosing different providers for different workloads, businesses can optimise their cloud solutions to improve cost-efficiency, performance, reliability, security and compliance. However, they need to be mindful of the challenges multi-cloud hosting raises and how to address these. Importantly, they will need to carefully assess potential cloud providers to ensure they meet their needs.

Considering multi-cloud? Designed for mission-critical applications, eukhost’s managed cloud servers deliver the uptime, performance, scalability and security your business needs and come with 24/7 expert technical support. For more information, visit our Cloud Servers page.

Author

  • Niraj Chhajed

    I'm a SEO and SMM Specialist with a passion for sharing insights on website hosting, development, and technology to help businesses thrive online.

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