The Multi-Cloud Myth – BoB Hosted Infrastructure is a Pipe Dream

Two servers battling for space with clouds

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018

The advent of cloud services has solved a lot of strategic IT problems for business – at least in the short term. Improved security, reduced capital spend and the opportunity to rationalize IT headcount are all welcome benefits – as is the increased flexibility provided by on-demand hardware resources.

Many CTOs are quickly seduced by the idea of building a best-of-breed platform, using the best services from multiple providers. And cloud resellers are more than happy to feed this fantasy in the hope of securing a valuable contract.

Cloud portability is a myth

Vendors would have CTOs believe that moving workloads between clouds is as simple as dragging apps between environments. And on paper, that may be the case.

But the reality is that each enterprise app tends to have an extremely large data store behind it. Moving the applications may take a matter of hours (or even minutes), but terabytes of data could take days or weeks. Even the much hyped Amazon Snowball device will still take several days to complete a major data transfer operation.

What about “lift and shift”?

To increase portability, many CTOs virtualize their environment, before shifting into an IaaS platform like AWS or Azure. And this “lift and shift” process can be repeated between services – but it is also a fundamentally flawed approach.

The greatest cloud cost savings can only be realized by redesigning apps to take advantage of features like containerization that reduce physical footprint and processing overheads. Where these containerized apps are built against a specific feature set of the provider’s environment, portability is reduced further still.

Which means that many CTOs are simply trading one form of lock-in for another and the multi-cloud dream remains just that. Particularly as there is no incentive for cloud providers to make the process of transferring workloads between platforms easy.

Until a proper solution can be found, it may be that many businesses see better value from extending the lifespan of their existing on-site data assets. They certainly won’t face the same issues as their peers who are rushing into the cloud and ignoring the long-term problems of data portability.

To learn more about your on-site options, particularly as your hardware reaches end of service life, please get in touch.