Multi-cloud demystified: pros, cons, and considerations according to the experts

Multi-cloud demystified: pros, cons, and considerations according to the experts
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Best practices for multi-cloud

Grab a copy of the report to learn from on-the-ground experts about the pitfalls and best practices associated with building multi-cloud companies and applications.

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“Multi-cloud is the future.” You’ve probably heard something like that before.

Does the multi-cloud hype match the reality on the ground?

The State of Multi-cloud 2024 report is our answer to that question, and quite a few others, including:

  • How are economic and regulatory factors likely to impact multi-cloud adoption?
  • Which companies should consider multi-cloud and which should not?
  • What are the best practices for building multi-cloud applications?

To answer these questions, we surveyed 300 architects and engineering directors at companies in the US, the UK, and Germany to understand their company’s current multi-cloud situation and how they see the future. We also conducted in-depth interviews with expert engineers who are on the ground building multi-cloud applications to learn more about the pitfalls, “gotchas”, and best practices for building multi-cloud applications.

Here’s a sneak peak of just some of the things we learned:

Multi-cloud isn’t as easy as it sounds

Although most of the major public cloud providers are “squint-equivalent,” survey respondents and on-the-ground engineers say the devil is in the details. Small differences between the clouds can create major problems, and these differences lie at the heart of many of the major factors that stop companies from adopting multi-cloud.

Chart with barriers to multi-cloud adoption, the differences between different clouds are the largest barrier

But the challenges of multi-cloud – and there are many – don’t seem to be preventing companies from adopting it.

Note: Different people can mean different things when they say multi-cloud. Here’s how we define multi-cloud, intercloud, single-workload multi-cloud, and other related terms.

Multi-cloud isn’t as niche as we expected

Roughly half of all survey respondents told us their companies are already multi-cloud, and an additional 26% have hybrid cloud setups combining on-premises hardware with a single cloud provider.

chart showing multi-cloud adoption, roughly 50% of respondents in the US, UK, and Germany say their companies are multi-cloud

Many companies are running at least one workload across multiple clouds

More than half of multi-cloud companies are also running at least one workload across multiple clouds. This complex form of multi-cloud deployment may still be in the early stages of adoption, though: most multi-cloud companies have at least one single-workload multi-cloud deployment, but very few have more than one.

Chart showing that half of multi-cloud companies are running at least one single workload across multiple clouds

So why is multi-cloud so widespread, and why are a surprising number of companies even looking into more complex multi-cloud deployments like single-workload multi-cloud?

Business reasons, not technical reasons, tend to drive multi-cloud adoption

Multi-cloud deployments are more technically challenging than single-cloud deployments, and adoption tends to be driven by business goals needs, such as the need to comply with operational resilience regulations like DORA or the desire to maintain cloud portability and avoid being locked in with a single cloud service provider.

Chart showing the reasons companies adopt multi-cloud, top reasons are regulatory compliance and avoiding vendor lock-in

This trend doesn’t look likely to change in the near future:

Economic uncertainty and regulations like DORA look set to drive more multi-cloud adoption

Most survey respondents who said their companies are preparing for the EU’s Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) reported that multi-cloud is a part of those preparations. Most respondents also said that they expected the current economic uncertainty and budget-tightening to accelerate multi-cloud adoption.

chart showing how companies are responding to DORA; most companies that are actively responding or planning to respond have multi-cloud as a part of those plans

Dig deeper into multi-cloud pain points and best practices

There’s more – much more – where that came from!

Get your free copy of the report today to learn more about where multi-cloud adoption is today, where IT decision makers see it heading, and the pitfalls and best practices highlighted by engineers who’ve built successful multi-cloud applications.

About the author

Charlie Custer github link linkedin link

Charlie is a former teacher, tech journalist, and filmmaker who’s now combined those three professions into writing and making videos about databases and application development (and occasionally messing with NLP and Python to create weird things in his spare time).

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