Keeping your IT environment simple is a good thing, right? It makes management easier, it’s more secure and things are less likely to break. Don’t be fooled though: simple isn't the same thing as solo. The strategic case for multicloud is much stronger than most think. In fact, the advantages of multicloud have only become clearer over the years.
Last February, Leafcloud Nu.nl organized a Hackaton for their IT team. The goal was to see whether it was viable for the largest news site in the Netherlands to have their workload for the /Climate section run on Leafcloud alongside their existing setup. The short answer is yes, but you can find the specifics of that in an excellent writeup of their experience here. Before you undertake such a POC, the first question you should ask yourself is: ‘why?’ Or, more specifically: ‘why should you move to a multicloud environment?’
What is multicloud?
As definitions are everything in IT nowadays, let’s first determine what we're talking about. Multicloud is an IT architecture where you use the services of multiple cloud computing providers for your applications. This is not without some challenges. Whether these are public clouds or private clouds, it usually means that you need to integrate these workloads with each other. It also means the network environment needs to be powerful enough to handle all that traffic, which also needs to be managed and secured. This can appear a little intimidating.
Why multicloud is great!
In theory at least, because there are many things that actually make multicloud a great idea. So much so that for an increasing number of businesses, multicloud is now the standard. Some of those advantages are:
Data sovereignty – Some data needs to stay within the confines of the European Union in order to comply to the GDPR. Even if the claim by US cloud providers is true that they make sure all data of their European customers remain in EU datacenters, there are still many concerns around the incompatibility of US and European laws in this regard. Multicloud allows you the freedom to choose an American provider for some applications, while also having the possibility of having the more sensitive data handled by a European party, removing the compliance burden.
Lower risk of vendor lock-in –Sadly, it’s often the case that certain services or applications are only available at one specific cloud vendor. If your environment is dependent on that one service, you are going nowhere, even when the platform offered is less than ideal for other parts of your workloads. With multicloud, however, you can simply mix and match, allowing you to pick the cloud provider you want for every individual application or workload.
More resilient – Multicloud environments offer far more resilience than monocloud ones. There is no single point of failure. Since workloads are spread over multiple platforms, the strain on each platform is less. By leveraging container technology using Kubernetes, it’s also easy to quickly switch workloads around if one of the platforms is having issues, meaning less downtime.
Better performance – Because workloads can be moved around a multicloud environment so easily, it can also take advantage of the unique individual strengths that each platform can offer. That means there is much headroom to tweak performance by moving around workloads and fully leverage the power of each available platform.
Cost – It might come as a surprise, but it can really impact the bottom line by working with multiple cloud providers. Just like you can optimize performance, you can also select them based on costs, meaning each workload offers bang for your buck.
Sustainability – We at Leafcloud take this one very seriously, and it was the main reason for Nu.nl to do their POC in the first place. By embracing multicloud, it becomes apparent which platforms are more sustainable than others by simply looking at energy cost and what the provider does to minimize environmental impact (if at all). In our case, we place servers there where the generated heat can be put to good use, like apartment blocks or swimming pools, and allows us to operate a carbon-negative cloud.
Because their infrastructure is so large and mission critical, it was not really in the cards to move everything to our green cloud in the context of a hackathon. However, with minimal tooling effort, just moving a part of it to our platform allowed Nu.nl to increase the sustainability of their operations.
If you want to know more about hosting part of your application landscape on our cloud infrastructure, don’t hesitate to contact us. We at Leafcloud are always eager to help!