Multi-Cloud Strategy Over a Single Provider Gains Momentum

Amazon and Microsoft dominate cloud computing but more businesses are leveraging smaller cloud rivals such as Google, Oracle and IBM. Experian, for example, launched with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2014, but is now using Microsoft, Google and Oracle, according to Experian global chief enterprise architect Mervyn Lally. At Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, executive vice president Clay Magouyrk said that more customers “adopt a multi-cloud strategy simply because some workloads run better or more cost-effectively on different clouds.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to Gartner, “world-wide spending on cloud-computing infrastructure services rose about 32 percent last year to $59.2 billion … and is expected to reach $106.8 billion in 2022.”

Amazon and Microsoft will still get “at least a slice of customer spending,” with Wall Street predictions that Amazon will “report more than 30 percent year-over-year growth in cloud sales when it reports second-quarter results … [and] Microsoft’s Azure cloud … [will] see more than 40 percent revenue growth” in its Q4 earnings.

An industry report from Flexera Software stated that 92 percent of companies “had a multi-cloud strategy, up from 81 percent in 2018.” Government is also moving to a multi-cloud strategy. Last year, the Central Intelligence Agency, which launched in the cloud with AWS in 2013, last year “opted for multiple vendors to take advantage of expanded cloud capabilities available by working with multiple providers.”

The Pentagon also ditched its $10 billion, 10-year cloud JEDI contract with Microsoft, and instead will replace it with multiple vendors, according to acting chief information officer John Sherman.

A multi-cloud strategy has its own challenges though since “each has its own way of handling the underlying technology, such as storage or networking, and moving data between clouds can be cumbersome.” Insurance company USAA has found it difficult to “work across cloud offerings,” according to assistant vice president for cloud operations Michael Willette.

“Every cloud provider, even if they tell you they’re not, is focusing on creating lock-in,” he said. Snowflake is one of many cloud service companies that provide “tools to better manage applications across various clouds.” Other such companies include Aviatrix Systems and HashiCorp.

Google uses open-source technology “that is free to adopt to give its customers more control over which cloud they use.”

“Our customers don’t want to rehash the same vendor lock-in playbook from the 1990s,” said Google Cloud vice president Eyal Manor. Microsoft said it is working with customers “to address their cloud needs, including those spanning other vendors … [but] an Amazon spokesman said most customers, even those that talk about using several providers, stick with one.”

Related:
Microsoft Expected to Post Record Sales Amid Strong Game, Cloud Demand, The Wall Street Journal, 7/27/21
Inside Google’s Quest to Become a Cloud-Computing Giant, Bloomberg, 7/26/21
Google Cloud Introduces Designated Enterprise APIs, ZDNet, 7/26/21