Multi-Cloud Architecture – Everything You Need to Know - Whitelotus Corporation

Multi-Cloud Architecture – Everything You Need to Know

Multi Cloud Architecture

Sunil Chavda This post was written by Sunil Chavda

Unlocking the Secrets of Multi-Cloud

In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s important to have a solid and reliable infrastructure in place to support your operations. One of the most popular strategies used by any top mobile app development company for achieving this goal is through the use of multi-cloud architecture, which allows organizations to spread their workloads across multiple cloud platforms in order to avoid service disruptions. 

This approach is becoming increasingly popular, with more than one-third of enterprises reporting more than $12 million in yearly spending on cloud computing, according to Flexera’s 2022 State of the Cloud Report. The age-old wisdom of not putting all your eggs in one basket still holds true today, especially when it comes to cloud computing. As organizations have distinct work silos for development, testing, production, and support, deploying these on separate cloud infrastructures makes sense to minimize the risk of service disruptions. A multi-cloud strategy allows organizations to reduce risks associated with service breakdowns. For example, deploying SaaS on Amazon Web Services and PaaS on Microsoft Azure.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of multi-cloud architecture and provide you with everything you need to know to take full advantage of this powerful approach. So, join us as we embark on a journey to unlock the treasure trove of benefits that multi-cloud architecture has to offer.

Table of Contents

  • What is Cloud Architecture in general?
  • What is Multi-Cloud Strategy?
  • Reasons For The Demand for Multi-Cloud Strategy.
  • Benefits of Multi-cloud Architecture
  • Disadvantages of Multi-Cloud Architecture
  • 6 Multi-Cloud Architecture Designs You Must Know
  • Use Cases of Multi-Cloud Architecture Implementation
  • Key Points to Remember Before Operating in a Multi-Cloud Architecture
  • Final Thoughts

What is Cloud Architecture in general?

The basic cloud architecture is a set of three tiers: load balance server, application server, and database server. Each tier is dedicated to a specific server, with a redundant server in place for failover and recovery in case of data crashes. This is the minimalistic approach to cloud architecture, but additional servers can be added to optimize it for the needs of a specific application.

multi cloud architecture provider

Now that we have covered the basics of cloud architecture, let’s delve into the main topic of discussion: multi-cloud architecture. We will start by understanding the concept of a multi-cloud strategy.

What is Multi-Cloud Strategy?

A multi-cloud strategy is an approach where an organization uses multiple cloud services providers (CSPs) to host its applications and data. The idea behind this strategy is to avoid vendor lock-in and reduce the risk of service disruptions caused by a single point of failure.

A common example of a multi-cloud strategy is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and collaborating with Microsoft Azure developers for platform as a service (PaaS). In this scenario, an organization might use AWS for running virtual machines and storage, while using Azure for hosting its applications and services. This allows the organization to take advantage of the strengths of each provider, such as AWS’s global footprint and Azure’s developer-friendly environment.

Another example of multi-cloud strategy is using different cloud providers for different workloads. An organization might use AWS for running production workloads and seek expertise of Google Cloud developer for running development and testing workloads. This allows the organization to take advantage of different pricing models and service offerings from each provider.

A live example is Netflix. Netflix uses a mix of AWS, Google Cloud, and Open Connect for their streaming services. They use AWS for their global infrastructure and Google Cloud for their big data analytics, while Open Connect is used for their content delivery network.

These are just a few examples of how organizations can use a multi-cloud strategy to achieve their business goals. The key is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each provider and choose the right mix of services to meet the organization’s needs.

Three common challenges that businesses encounter when implementing a multi-cloud strategy include:

  1. Compliance and data storage regulations in certain regions, such as the European Union.
  2. Difficulty in providing consistent access to data for users located far from data centers.
  3. Difficulty in integrating multi-cloud environments with on-premises resources.

Reasons For The Demand for Multi-Cloud Strategy

By now, the benefits of a multi-cloud environment are likely clear – utilizing the best technology for each category and only paying for the resources you use. However, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind when implementing a multi-cloud strategy.

Evolution of a multi-cloud environment

The adoption of multi-cloud is happening at an unprecedented rate. According to Gartner’s research, in 2022, enterprise IT spending on the cloud is expected to reach $1.3 trillion, with a projected increase to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2025. The shift to cloud computing is being accelerated by the introduction of new technologies and the emergence of distributed cloud, blurring the lines between traditional and cloud offerings.

According to a report by Intricately, the cloud infrastructure market is rapidly growing. This growth is driven by the increase in popularity of the multi-cloud strategy, which is a popular IT management method that is being implemented by nearly 80% of all enterprises for their hosting services and 60% for CDN (Content Distribution Network). 

By 2025, the cloud will store more than 100 zettabytes of data, which is equivalent to a billion terabytes or a trillion gigabytes, providing a sense of the scale of this data.

The multi-cloud strategy promises benefits such as reduced costs and the elimination of vendor lock-in, which is having a significant impact on the CDN and cloud hosting markets. Specifically, the adoption of the three leading providers (Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft Azure) has increased by 20% in 2021. 

The market value of cloud computing in 2020 was $371.4 billion, and is projected to increase at a rate of 17.5% per year to reach $832.1 billion by 2025. The expenditure on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to experience significant growth in the next five years. As per the forecasts, $58.3 billion will be invested in AI in 2021, and this amount is projected to reach $309.6 billion by 2026. Machine learning, being a fundamental element of many cloud-based technologies, is widely utilized by organizations and systems to automate various processes. As it is only one aspect of AI, it’s not surprising that companies are exploring ways to invest and expand in this field.

Benefits of Multi-cloud Architecture

Lower Chances of Service Breakdowns

Multi-cloud architecture reduces the risk of service outages by providing redundancy through the use of multiple cloud providers. This allows for continuous availability of applications and the ability to shift transactions or impacted services to another cloud in the event of a disaster. Additionally, the use of multiple cloud providers can also lower the risk of DDoS attacks by providing mitigation strategies that take advantage of redundancy. The use of multi-cloud architecture is becoming increasingly popular as investments in redundancy are now seen as necessary rather than optional. 

Minimizes the risk of pricing

Multi-cloud architecture reduces the risk of pricing by allowing organizations to take advantage of competitive pricing from multiple cloud providers. This enables them to balance the cost of running multi-cloud applications or features against their allocated budgets. The ability to compare prices across multiple providers allows organizations to negotiate better deals and make informed decisions about their cloud usage. To fully take advantage of competitive pricing, organizations must include portability in their application blueprints, so that they can easily move between cloud providers as needed.

Architects Can Choose From Various Spectrums

Architects often desire the freedom to choose all technology components when building an application. However, in many cases, the choice of certain components is determined by the Enterprise-IT team, such as using Oracle as the data store and middleware. With the differences in capabilities and pricing among cloud environments, architects prefer to have the flexibility to make their own choices rather than being limited by the Enterprise-IT team. Furthermore, the ability to choose between different clouds is even more important when some clouds are specific to certain regions, as it allows architects to select the best options for their needs.

Provides Anchor to A Cloud

One popular way for enterprises to take advantage of the elasticity provided by cloud is through a cloud-bursting strategy. With this approach, production runs on in-premise infrastructure, but additional capacity is added from the cloud during peak times. This helps organizations avoid investing in extra hardware to meet short-lived peak demands and results in more efficient use of resources. The cloud bursting strategy is also known as a way to exploit the elasticity feature of cloud.

Recovery From Disaster

Multi-cloud architecture offers the benefit of redundancy, which can be implemented by running production on one cloud or on-premise data center, and maintaining a duplicate copy on another cloud as a fallback option for disaster recovery. A pitfall to avoid is relying on a single cloud provider for both production and the backup copy. It is important to have a quick recovery mechanism, which can minimize data loss in case of failure. The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is a measure of the maximum data loss that an enterprise is willing to tolerate in case of a failure, which can range from hours to days.

Single Application Runs Parallel on Multi-cloud

This implementation model involves running the same application on multiple cloud environments simultaneously, in order to achieve load balancing benefits. This method is different from the previous models, where applications are run on different clouds for specific purposes. Many enterprises have reported that this active-active cloud implementation model provides greater resilience against DNS DDoS attacks and regional or global failures.

Although it may seem similar to the disaster recovery model, where a secondary site is available in case the primary site goes offline, it should be noted that even in the case of failover, there may still be a small margin of data loss as found in traditional disaster recovery.

Disadvantages of Multi-Cloud Architecture

  • Increased security risks due to the use of multiple cloud providers, which can increase the likelihood of unauthorized access or attacks.
  • Increased management and complexity as you have to navigate the complexities and nuances of each cloud platform.
  • Higher costs due to the need to estimate budgets and calculate costs for each service across multiple cloud providers, which can be difficult to manage without a good understanding of the pricing structures for each platform.
  • The process of transitioning from a hybrid to a multi-cloud environment requires careful comparison to determine the overall value proposition. Additionally, utilizing automated deployment tools that can handle the migration seamlessly and as a single action, rather than individually, is crucial for a smooth transition.

6 Multi-Cloud Architecture Designs You Must Know

We shall take you through six most prominent designs that most of the businesses choose to develop resilient and scalable applications:

1. Cloudification

In a multi-cloud architecture, an on-premises application can utilize the services of various cloud providers. For instance, the application can utilize AWS S3 and Azure Files for data storage. This approach allows the application to benefit from the scalability of the cloud, avoid vendor lock-in, and improve availability and reliability. For example, if Azure services were to go down, the application could still function normally through the use of AWS services.

2. Multi-cloud relocation

In this design, the application is moved from being hosted on-premises to a cloud platform, using the “lift and shift” method of migration. This approach allows the application to utilize services from multiple cloud providers, such as using AWS EC2 for hosting while still obtaining data storage from Azure. This approach can help to avoid vendor lock-in and improve availability and reliability.

3. Multi-cloud refactoring

In multi-cloud refactoring, the application is redesigned to improve its quality of service and make it suitable for deployment in a multi-cloud environment. This is done by breaking the application into smaller, fine-grained components, so that the deployment of high-usage components can be optimized separately. As a result, the application is deployed on multiple cloud platforms, such as AWS and Google Cloud, with the goal of achieving better performance and throughput across the different platforms. Additionally, this approach allows for optimizing the deployment of high-usage components, while keeping low-usage ones in mind.

4. Multi-cloud rebinding

In multi-cloud re-architecting, the application is designed and deployed in a way that allows for partial deployment across multiple cloud environments. This allows for the application to continue functioning even if there are failures in the primary platform, by utilizing a secondary deployment. The key distinction is that some components of the application remain on-premises, while others are moved to different cloud platforms as failover targets.

5. Multi-cloud Rebinding with cloud brokerage

The use of cloud brokerage in multi-cloud rebinding involves the integration of various elements of the multi-cloud infrastructure. Additionally, this approach ensures optimal performance and security for all components.

6. Multi-application modernization

In multi-application modernization, the process involves re-designing multiple applications as a group and deploying them in a multi-cloud infrastructure. This approach is preferred over simply re-architecting a single application for multi-cloud deployment because it allows for the identification of issues such as data inconsistencies, lack of consistent functionality, and budget constraints across all the applications before they are re-architected. By examining each application, opportunities for consolidation and integration can be identified, which can lead to improved performance and functionality when deployed in a multi-cloud environment.

Use Cases of Multi-Cloud Architecture Implementation

Multi-cloud architecture is used for several reasons. We have curated the below use cases that will help you understand the need of technology in the daily business operations.

Recovery from disaster

The multi-cloud architecture provides redundancy and disaster recovery in a cloud-native setting by allowing IT departments to use a 3-2-1 backup plan, which involves storing three copies of data on two different types of media, with one copy stored off-site. This strategy allows for quicker recovery in case of a data crash while keeping two copies on-premises. 

With the advancement of cloud technology, the need for on-premises backup has decreased, as data can be recovered faster from the cloud than on-premises infrastructure. For companies that are shifting towards or are already cloud-native, using multiple public clouds reduces risk by keeping both production and backup data copies with different providers.

In case of a disaster or ransomware attack, multi-cloud users can restore data stored in another cloud environment, often one that offers tools like Object Lock for data protection with immutability.

Failover

Many companies choose to use multi-cloud services to host multiple copies of their active production data. This way, if one of the public clouds experiences an outage, they can easily switch their applications to a different cloud to avoid interruption.

Large tech companies like AWS host a large number of websites for their clients, and an outage could impact all of them. Having just one storage provider was seen as a potential weakness, so using multiple cloud providers became a popular solution.

One example of this is using both Amazon S3 and Backblaze B2 Cloud Storage to store data. The content delivery network of AWS can pull data from Backblaze B2 with Amazon S3 as a backup.

Data Sovereignty

Many countries, including the European Union, have implemented laws that govern where and how data can be stored. Companies that must comply with these data residency laws can use a multi-cloud strategy to ensure their data meets the necessary regulations. They utilize multiple public cloud providers with different geographic locations to store data in the required regions.

Accessible to Specialized Services

Companies can use different cloud providers to access specialized or complementary services. For instance, a company can use a public cloud like Google for compute resources or bare metal servers while storing data in a different public cloud optimized for storage. Another example is a company that can use a cloud storage provider in conjunction with a cloud CDN to improve content distribution speed to its users.

Key Points to Remember Before Operating in a Multi-Cloud Architecture

As we cover almost everything on multi-cloud architecture strategy, we also want you to know the top key points that you should consider while checking out about multi-cloud architecture:

Switching Between Environments

Designing applications or data to be easily moved between environments can prevent costly migration efforts. When architecting your environment, it’s important to keep in mind the ability to move applications between environments without needing to refactor them.

Create Based on Operational Needs

Creating a basic architecture for a multi-cloud environment can take time, but a complex design can strain resources. A well-suited operating model that prioritizes the easiest path to achieving goals can improve efficiency and make managing the system more manageable.

Dynamic Approach

When designing a multi-cloud architecture, it’s essential to create an infrastructure that allows for business flexibility. By deploying applications on clouds that best suit their needs, you can optimize performance and develop a successful cloud strategy.

Final Thoughts

Cloud computing has played a significant role in the advancement of technology and business today, and multi-cloud architecture is one of its key achievements. This article delves into the concept in depth and aims to provide valuable insights. We hope all readers found the discussion informative. As a team, we are constantly seeking to learn more about cloud computing, have achieved many milestones and helped clients achieve even more through our bespoke cloud services. You can hire dedicated developers team from Whitelotus Corporation who have skilful cloud engineers and are always ready to help you create outstanding solutions. 

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Author

  • Sunil Chavda

    Sunil is a result-orientated Chief Technology Officer with over a decade of deep technical experience delivering solutions to startups, entrepreneurs, and enterprises across the globe. Have led large-scale projects in mobile and web applications using technologies such as React Native, Flutter, Laravel, MEAN and MERN stack development.