The fear of data loss is a constant companion in companies. Not least because the cloud plays an important role as storage space for backups and archives: With a complete loss of local data, the information can easily be restored over the network.
Online backup services meet strong adoption in organizations. According to a recent Veritas study, companies are working together on average with three providers at the same time, so they are multi-cloud users. Of those who still work with a cloud provider, 39 percent want to upgrade. But what exactly are the advantages of the multi-cloud?
1. Freedom of choice:
The supply of Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) is large, their services are broad, and prices are often low. Customers who distribute their back-ups and archives to multiple cloud providers benefit from this situation. For example, if long-term storage costs more for a CSP, IT can easily migrate back-ups to a cheaper provider. Depending on their background and framework, the individual providers have developed specific strengths or specializations. Google is historically strong in Analytics, Microsoft, in turn, excels in the hosting of legacy applications, AWS scores in Cloud Storage. Of course, companies always want the best provider for their job – and you’re in the multi-cloud management reality.
A company that works with just one cloud provider and deposits the majority of its data there, enters into a certain dependency relationship. The vendor lock-in carries the risk that from a certain amount of data the transaction costs make a change uneconomical, although the service of other providers would be more appropriate, more modern or simply cheaper.
However, the amount of data makes the change complex and tedious. If you need to move a petabyte of data, for example, you would need about 1,095 days for the upload on a 100 Mbps line. Even with dedicated transfer appliances offered by the big cloud providers, the transfer still takes 43 days.
In the multi-cloud architecture this is different: Here, the workloads and applications are automatically mirrored to other providers. A move is easier, because the data is already distributed to other providers. With dedicated management software that interfaces with relevant CSPs, IT moves data from one cloud to another with a click of the mouse. That can also increase the availability.
Those who want to play it safe deposit their back-ups with several CSPs in different regions. The risk of data loss is thus significantly lower. Because no service is completely fail-safe: natural disasters, hacker attacks or human error can happen unexpectedly.
The safety standards of the CSP are usually very high, as they employ many internet security experts. Medium-sized companies often could not afford these staff. If you take all the recommended computer security and encryption measures, the data is as good or better protected than your own data center.
Another plus: disaster recovery in the cloud. Instead of building another, expensive data center for redundancy, as in the past, companies can shift the necessary computing resources to the cloud. This saves investment costs and increases security through a decentralized distribution of the most important data and applications. In the event of a failover, the load of critical applications simply shifts from the corporate data center to the cloud.
Companies should also consider that CSPs are only companies that can go bankrupt or be taken over at any time. Both scenarios affect the available data center infrastructure and affect where customers’ data resides. This can be particularly problematic if data needs to be stored in a particular region because the Privacy Regulation requires it.
The big advantage of the cloud is billing for actual used storage space and workload calculation cycles. This benefits small and medium-sized companies, in particular, who can not or do not want to afford a local back-up or computing infrastructure. Large companies with their own data center are able to flexibly decide where to store their data. A common model is to store long-term back-ups in cheap cloud storage and store critical data locally.
The multi-cloud platform can provide benefits for businesses of all sizes. But if you want to get the most out of it, invest in powerful data management software and keep an eye on the market.