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BLOG: Why you should care about multicloud

David Linthicum | July 15, 2013
New buzzword alert: Multicloud — an old problem wrapped in new technology

The use of cloud-based platforms in the technology industry continues to evolve into more complex arrangements. Why? The business world now demands a mix of many best-of-breed cloud services to form the optimal solution. The answer is proving to be a concept called "multicloud."

What is multicloud? It's more complex than a hybrid cloud, which is typically a paired private and public cloud. Multicloud add more clouds to the mix, perhaps two or more public IaaS providers, a private PaaS, on-demand management and security systems from public clouds, private use-based accounting — you get the idea.

This is where we've been headed in the last few years, creating solutions from an intricate set of best-of-breed private and public cloud computing services. This is much the same process as when we moved to elaborate distributed internal systems in the past: We integrated various technologies to form a business system that met our exact requirements. This is no different, but it uses cloud-based technologies.

Why should you care about all this? I wouldn't get down too much with the "multicloud" buzzword. What's key is the cloud computing architecture, which typically incorporates multiple public and private cloud providers. These days, the number of projects involving just one or two cloud computing providers or technologies are few and far between. It's more likely there are a half dozen involved.

In that multicloud reality, keep these core concepts in mind:

  • Multiclouds require more thinking around security and governance, given their complexity and distribution.
  • Multiclouds may develop resiliency issues, considering the number of moving parts.
  • Multiclouds have value only if you select the right providers, whether on-demand or private, to meet your requirements.

It's important that you take the lessons learned from building complex distributed systems to multicloud deployments. You need to understand that integration drives complexity, which must then be managed. There is no substitute for planning and architecture. As long as you take a disciplined view of multicloud, you'll do just fine.


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