The buzz around digital transformation has caused cloud adoption to touch new heights. The public cloud market is expected to reach $947.3 billion by 2026.
As organizations look to adopt different cloud models to meet different needs, they often experience the problem of vendor lock-in, which restricts them from mixing and matching the capabilities of different cloud providers or services. This has led to the sudden and widespread growth of cloud-agnostic strategies that pave the way for multi-cloud and cross-cloud compatibility.
WHAT ARE CLOUD-AGNOSTIC STRATEGIES?
As the cloud computing space constantly evolves, a massive variety of cloud products and services are being provided. Naturally, organizations would want to make the most of each of these newly launched capabilities to take their business to the next level of success. Unfortunately, most organizations that embrace any type of cloud framework find it extremely difficult to switch to another. Such was the nature of cloud computing, until now.
As the need for different cloud types and services increases, cloud-agnostic strategies are on the rise as they eliminate this problem of vendor lock-in. Spread between multiple cloud providers and vendors, cloud-agnostic strategies allow organizations to use the services from different clouds, without being locked into a single vendor or provider’s proprietary services.
WHY DO ORGANIZATIONS NEED CLOUD-AGNOSTIC STRATEGIES?
Spreading services across different cloud providers is not just to avoid the problem of vendor lock-in; it also plays a huge role in ensuring the uptime of critical applications. For organizations that need their core services to be fail-safe, being cloud-agnostic allows them to ensure high availability while also driving better business continuity.
Unlike cloud-native applications that are designed to run on a single platform, cloud-agnostic applications can easily be moved around to different cloud platforms, providing organizations with more choice and flexibility in how their workflows, workloads, or instances are run.
Irrespective of what environment they use, they can be sure to make full use of built-in redundancies, should a problem arise, and have their applications performing optimally.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL DRAWBACKS?
While a cloud-agnostic strategy provides organizations with several benefits, it’s also important to be cautious about potential drawbacks. Since services are shared or transferable across multiple cloud providers, organizations might not be able to take full advantage of the best-of-breed services of each of the cloud providers, slowing down their pace of innovation while putting their competitors at an advantage.
For instance, if a cloud provider offers a key capability that is important for one type of application, organizations might not be able to make the most of that capability if they switch between providers simply because it cannot be replicated on another platform. Competitors that use a cloud-native approach may be able to leverage that capability to provide more value for customers.
Another challenge that organizations need to be aware of while considering a cloud-agnostic approach is cost. Building applications or services spread across different cloud providers can lead to unexpected bills, which are not only difficult to predict but also extremely difficult to understand. Instead of building the entire application using different vendors, it makes more sense to use a single provider to build the application but take advantage of add-on services from multiple vendors.
At the same time, building a cloud-agnostic strategy from the ground up – either for a particular workload or across the entire organization – can end up being extremely complex. It involves substantial work. It also requires organizations to be fully aware of what capabilities they want to leverage from which providers, and then accordingly opt for those services – which can add to overall costs and implementation time.
HOW TO CHOOSE BETWEEN CLOUD-NATIVE AND CLOUD-AGNOSTIC?
Making the choice between cloud-native and cloud-agnostic isn’t always straightforward, but keeping a few things in mind can certainly help in easing the decision-making process.
If you want to minimize application downtime, a cloud-agnostic strategy can ensure your application automatically switches to another cloud – ensuring service is uninterrupted. Because you can switch cloud providers with minimal headache, you can improve performance by splitting workloads between providers.
If you want to take advantage of a cloud provider’s unique services and features, you should take a cloud-native architectural approach. Since cloud-native applications are designed and built to be used on a single cloud platform, they ensure better performance and availability.
If you want to enjoy better security and compliance, opting for a cloud-native strategy makes more sense. Because cloud-native applications use a single provider’s APIs, they ensure better security and compliance features. Since cloud-agnostic applications rely on different APIs provided by different providers, they put the responsibility of ensuring the right level of security and compliance on your team – rather than utilizing the application’s built-in features.
If you need better integration and portability, a cloud-agnostic approach can let you pick and choose which services and capabilities your application consumes from which vendor. Based on your requirement, you can cherry-pick the best suite of services and make the most of the innovations from different vendors.
As the number of organizations opting for cloud technology increases, the demand for cloud-agnostic development strategies is growing. Offering compatibility across different public and private clouds, these strategies allow them to leverage different cloud platforms and vendors to meet different requirements while taking full advantage of the capabilities inherent to each of these platforms.
But despite the benefits, because cloud-agnostic strategies also bring about potential drawbacks, engaging with a competent cloud expert that understands the nuances of cloud-native and cloud-agnostic strategies becomes critical. Having a partner by your side can make sure you enjoy the level of flexibility that cloud-agnostic strategies provide. It can also deliver cost efficiencies and technical advantages via the selection of the best services and capabilities offered by different cloud providers.
The author is Co-Founder & Managing Director, Wissen Technology (Wissen.com)