Authored by: Geoff Soon, Managing Director of South Asia, Snowflake
By 2022, IDC predicts that 55% of Asia Pacific excluding Japan enterprises will deploy multi-cloud management processes and tool, and unified virtual machines (VMs) Kubernetes to support robust multi-cloud management and governance across on-premises and public cloud. A multi-cloud strategy enables companies to avoid vendor lock-in while capitalising on the different services that the major cloud providers offer, especially around security, application migration, and analytics and application development services.
Other benefits of implementing a multi-cloud strategy includes:
Negotiating rates with cloud providers and maintain cost management through choice and flexibility
Enabling different business units to use a public cloud that best matches their needs and promotes productivity
Capitalising on regional footprints to leverage the best cloud provider by region based on presence, capacity, and services for local teams
Protecting against a single cloud provider’s multi-region outage, ensuring uptime and SLA adherence
However, companies won’t realise the real value of adopting multiple clouds until cross-cloud capability exists to enable secure data sharing across cloud providers and regions. There is much discussion about where data should be stored and retrieved from an analytics viewpoint. One thing is for sure, that in the modern era, there is an awful lot of data floating around that might be useful. Whilst data lakes are a prime example of storing masses of data in cloud storage and retrieving it via different means; the next question is – what happens if we have data that is being generated across multiple cloud solutions or in different geographies? Do we move all this data to a single data lake or leave it in the different clouds where it already exists?
Here are some of the major challenges that businesses might face when implementing a multi-cloud strategy.
As soon as data exists in a public cloud, cloud silos are created. As each major cloud provider has created a unique offering with proprietary application programming interfaces (APIs) for data management, there is no easy way to copy or share data from cloud to cloud.
Making matters worse, it is hard to find DevOps employees who have the skill set to work in multiple clouds, which often leads to separate cloud teams within an organisation (yet another silo). Geographical distance also plays a role in creating data silos by region, especially for organisations that operate in multiple locations (regions, countries, and continents) - cloud services work best when users are in close proximity. Lastly, data portability could be a problem for all organisations, including those that use open source technologies and open data formats. Today, there is no easy way to lift multiple petabytes of data to change clouds, open-source or otherwise.
Cross-cloud data sharing bridges the multi-cloud divide
The true benefits of a multi-cloud strategy will not materialise until data can be shared and replicated across clouds and regions. Fortunately, cross-cloud capability is the answer. Two basic requirements exist for cross-cloud capability:
A cloud-agnostic layer must provide a unified data management platform, which sits on top of each cloud region and all cloud infrastructure regardless of which cloud platforms are used. By providing identical functionality across all cloud platforms, the data management platform enables a cost-effective and seamless method to share data securely.
Data must move anywhere easily, which requires a high-throughput communication “mesh” that enables complete data portability.
With cross-cloud capability, organisations will be able to securely share data across regions and cloud accounts while adhering to the same rules of data sharing: Data exists locally in a single source where it’s accessed rather than moved. Plus, the platform will make cross-region asynchronous data replication possible without impacting the performance of accessing primary data.
Global data, at your service
In short, a cross-cloud capability removes all barriers to data so businesses can:
Analyse all data for decision-making, no matter where the data is located
Ensure business continuity and disaster recovery through cross-cloud replication
Perform account migration without data portability concerns
Cross-cloud capability delivers the unified data management platform needed to enable secure data sharing, fully execute multi-cloud strategies, and provide organisations with a single source of truth. By enabling data to move freely, cross-cloud capability delivers on the promise of multi-cloud strategies. After all, the true power of data lies in its ability to move freely and securely without borders in order to influence decision-making. With cross-cloud, global data will finally have its say.