A multi-cloud strategy is a decision of a business to distribute its public cloud usage between more than one Cloud vendor or combine on-prem and Cloud. According to Gartner, the main reasons businesses go for a multi-cloud approach are to avoid vendor lock-in and take advantage of best-of-breed solutions. Our experts, however, say that security is another important reason that turns business towards a multi-cloud approach. The most common example of multi-cloud usage is when organizations choose to host their sensitive data on-premise and their operations in the Cloud.
Despite the many advantages of combining private and public Cloud, such as pay-as-you-go pricing, increased agility, scalability, and security adopting it is not a simple process. In this article, we go through the reasons why you should opt for a multi-cloud solution, what benefits you can get with it, and the best practices that will help you find a trusted vendor.
Why should you implement multi-cloud solutions?
If we understand multi-cloud primarily as the combination of on-prem (private Cloud) and public Cloud, then the main reason businesses use this approach is to get the benefits of both on-prem and Cloud. Such benefits are, for example:
1. Increase security
It is a common practice to go for multi-cloud integration in case you need to meet specific compliance requirements. For instance, organizations that work with sensitive data (e.g., financial institutions) must pay utmost attention to security. That is why they must only partner with vendors that comply with regulations such as PSI DSS required for companies that accept card payments and process and transmit cardholder data. Frequently, however, such organizations need to go the extra mile to ensure data security. That is the exact reason why banks go multi-cloud. It is among the best practices to process sensitive data (subject to regulation) in a private Cloud and other workloads that do not contain sensitive data in a public Cloud to save money.
2. Optimize costs
The on-premise-only approach is far from the best when it comes to cost optimization. Basically, you are paying for capacity you might not use or struggle to keep up with the increased loads in the high season. Therefore, many businesses use the Cloud as an extension of their data center not to buy equipment but to use computing resources. However, it is vital to find a reliable vendor to make the most of multi-cloud resources. For instance, N-iX experts help our clients optimize their costs by migrating some operations and storages to the Cloud, which can potentially save them millions.
3. Lower latency
Partnering with multi-cloud providers, you get a much faster and low-latency infrastructure. This improves your application response times and also creates a better user experience for your customers.
The Сloud part in multi-cloud is very flexible. Let’s say your e-commerce platform runs on-premise with a certain number of machines. Your system works fine, but then Black Friday kicks in. Your platform experiences a peak load that your platform cannot handle. That, in turn, leads to downtime of your website and a low customer satisfaction rate. User experience is vital for your brand reputation, which affects your customer acquisition and attrition rates.
With multi-cloud, however, that will not be a problem. You can scale up or down when you need due to the Сloud and remain secure due to on-premise.
4. Boost reliability
With multi-cloud you can switch to completely in case something happens to your data center. Also, you can deploy additional environments or additional infrastructures in the Cloud and do it quickly due to multi-cloud automation.
Apart from that, with the multi-cloud comes the opportunity to automate the deployment and management of the infrastructure in the Cloud, as well as the rapid deployment of the infrastructure in several Clouds if necessary.
5. Up availability
By availability here, we mean being able to rely on the Cloud in case something happens to the data center.
What’s more, with multi-cloud automation backed up in the cloud, you have the ability to deploy Cloud infrastructure rapidly, quickly switch workloads from on-premise to Cloud, and thus improve your availability metrics.
Stages of adopting multi-cloud
These stages may differ between the multi-cloud providers you choose to work with. However, they typically unite two main steps – consulting and implementing the multi-cloud architecture. We will cover this process using N-iX best practices as an example.
Over 70% of our tech professionals are senior experts specializing in various modern technologies. By leveraging this expertise, we help our clients align their IT and business strategies, assess their existing solutions, and select the right technologies to invest in.
An integral part of the consulting stage at N-iX is Product Discovery. During this stage, our multi-cloud integration experts collect all the project artifacts and produce the deliverables that you need to transition to the implementation phase. For instance, we provide several tech solutions to help you reach the milestones you’d like to achieve with the multi-cloud solution. We present the most optimal solutions, and our clients choose the one that suits them the best. After that, we prepare a clear roadmap for delivering your project in a specific time frame.
After assessing your current solutions from functional, technical, and UX perspectives, our team designs a solution that will fit your IT landscape and deliver tangible business results in the long run. At the outset of your tech transformation, it is vital to ensure that you develop the right product and that you develop it right – keeping scalability, usability, reliability, security, and performance in mind.
N-iX is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and a certified partner of GCP, OpenText, SAP, and Microsoft. Our partnerships with those providers give us better prices. Thus you can gain maximum value from your investments in a multi-cloud architecture. We have a wide pool of certified engineers, go through rigorous partner audits, and continuously work on expanding our tech ecosystem. The combination of long-standing Сloud expertise and in-depth knowledge of both Сloud and on-premise technologies allows us to help our customers as effectively as possible.
What professionals will help you adopt multi-cloud?
Expert in multi-cloud integration is both a DevOps engineer and a system administrator. Though the degree of each side of this coin might vary depending on the project's specifics, your professionals must have a sufficient experience in both fields. When looking for an expert that will help you implement multi-cloud solutions, seek the ones with the following characteristics:
- Knowledge of Сloud solutions. An expert in multi-cloud integration works with public Сlouds such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon AWS, so you need professionals experienced with a cloud vendor you work with.
- Understanding of on-premise architecture. Many on-premise servers are not managed manually but by different tools (e.g., VMware, Proxmox, Hyper-V). Like the public Сlouds, private Сlouds frequently require certifications to work with them successfully, and you should look for experts with the needed on-prem qualifications.
- Extensive tech background. A skilled expert may have any academic background, but a degree in computer science can be an extra point for the candidate. The most crucial factor here is the person's experience, so you have to look for engineers who have worked across different roles, including system administrators and developers.
- Programming skills. An expert in multi-cloud solutions has to have extensive knowledge of both off-the-shelf tools and be able to code and script custom solutions. Scripting often comes down to the knowledge of such tools as PowerShell or Bash, while coding might include all types of programming languages such as Java, C++, Python, Ruby, and more.
- Industry expertise. Technical skills are only one of the things that matter, as your candidates must have a profound understanding of the industry domain you work in. It means you need to look for a technology partner with relevant experience in your domain.
But before you evaluate the skills of your candidates, you need first to find them. Finding the right professionals is easier said than done. If you want to hire reliable experts, you need an experienced multi-cloud provider with a sufficient talent pool to satisfy the needs of your project. Let’s see what your options are.
How to find the best provider of multi-cloud solutions?
Here are some steps that can help you find a reliable vendor that will make your multi-cloud adoption journey smoother and as effective as possible.
1. Compile the list of potential multi-cloud providers
The best way to quickly compile a list of the best software outsourcing firms is to go to the ranking websites that offer overviews of technology vendors. Such websites as Clutch contain information on the vast numbers of technology providers across the globe. You can filter the vendors by industries, regions, ratings, technology focus, and more. That way, you can select several vendors matching your requirements and narrow your search.
Learn more about how software development outsourcing can help your project
2. Specify the details and ask the right questions
After you have shortlisted the potential vendors that can help you deliver multi-cloud solutions, you should get in touch with the potential providers and specify the details of the cooperation. You must ask the right questions to make the best choice when looking for multi-cloud providers.
3. What is their expertise in both public and private Сloud?
A reliable vendor that provides multi-cloud solutions must have a proven track record of successfully delivered both Сloud and on-premise projects. These projects may encompass a wide range of technologies and broad expertise. DevOps expertise can be a decisive factor in the success of your project.
N-iX offers a wide variety of DevOps services that can range depending on your project needs. For instance, we offer on-premise to Сloud migration services, infrastructure setup, application development, and much more to enterprises across Europe and North America.
4. Do they have experience in your market segment?
Market and industry expertise is as important as technical knowledge, and you need to partner with a vendor with experience in your industry domain. Finding experts is a challenge in and of itself, but finding an expert with practical experience in your specific industry can be even more challenging.
N-iX is a custom software development partner that works with clients in such industries as manufacturing, automotive, fintech, healthcare, telecom, and more. Over two decades on the market, we have helped hundreds of clients and gained invaluable hands-on experience across numerous industries.
5. Do they comply with relevant quality and security standards?
Compliance with the relevant standards is vital for successful product development across many industries. For instance, ISO standards are commonly used in manufacturing software development across the US and the EU. Compliance with the standards is vital for product certification, and you need a development partner who sets the development process according to such standards. N-iX engineers are certified to meet security and quality management standards such as ISO 9001.
6. How do they ensure transparent communication?
You will need streamlined communication with your vendor, and your engineers will have to report all the aspects of the project, including potential issues and delays. Your development partner has to guarantee full transparency of the development process, convey all the vital data, and provide all the required documentation. Interpersonal communication within the team is also vital, so you may want to assess your candidate’s soft skills.
These steps will help you choose the right vendor that will help you build multi-cloud architecture. Now, let’s view the real-life success stories of the businesses that already did.
Multi-cloud solutions: real-life success stories
Here are some examples of businesses that have already gained the benefits of multi-cloud integration.
1. Developing multi-cloud architecture for the leading automotive technology company
Our client engaged the N-iX professionals to be a part of its digital transformation. Car vendors, their main customers, needed a unified management system to gather all the information about the car development status in one place. Furthermore, it took up to six months for them to collect the necessary statistics to make a presentation and determine the car development stage.
The customer has requested the development of the virtual prototyping management system that had to become a central coordination toolset with a structured and unified data model. They had an on-premise solution that could no longer meet the needs of their clients. As a result, our client decided to migrate part of this solution to Сloud.
We built our solution with an event-driven and microservices architecture style, which is highly scalable and flexible. The N-iX team built a system tailored to the customer. Our specialists set up the CI/CD processes and implemented a containerization strategy.
We integrated the on-premises Active Directory that enables our client to provide its employees with a single digital identity to access their on-premises line of business applications. We created the UI/UX design based on the client's UI components. Also, the N-iX team integrated the system with existing clients' products that provide data necessary for the integral display of the current status of the car development in the management system.
Together with us, this client managed to:
- Develop a unified vehicle architecture and simulation management system. This system allows car vendors to manage the entire development process, executes virtual tests, and replaces up to six months of manual work for car vendors to collect the necessary statistics;
- Cover all product phases from discovery to knowledge transfer after a product development cycle and successfully provided support with deployment to end-client environments;
- Increase their architecture building blocks repository with new components.
2. Delivering cloud-agnostic solution for Telit
Telit is a pioneer and leading global Internet of Things manufacturer with over 20 years of expertise. The client offers products for companies that rely on mission-critical connectivity and enterprise-grade performance.
The client controlled and hosted the IoT management portal, which needed to be more flexible and customizable. So, they reached out to N-iX to remove parts of the solution that included legacy code, which caused bugs in production. Their primary goal was to modernize their solution to enable the customers to install the IoT portal in their environment.
Together with us, the client went multi-cloud by combining the benefits of on-premise and the Сloud. Our professionals made their solution cloud-agnostic by migrating services to containers in the Kubernetes cluster. Also, they performed load tests on three main cloud providers: AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure, implemented the CI/CD pipeline, expanded the portal monitoring functionality by completing the following third-party integrations, and created a technical guide for installing the solution in the customer's environment.
Read more about: Cloud agnostic development: Pros and cons, tips and tools
3. Creating a multi-cloud communication system for the international technology provider
Our client is a company that focuses on accelerating and scaling financial and non-financial transactions based on cutting-edge blockchain and artificial intelligence technology.
Our professionals had to deal with many tech challenges. For instance, this client needed a communication system to facilitate fast money transfers among the banks. The system had to be highly secure and scalable, as it was expected to handle about 1K of financial transactions in blockchain per second.
Also, the client has chosen a multi-cloud approach for their solution to be used by banks with Сloud platforms and on-premise. To meet all of the requirements, our experts have implemented a highly distributed application that can be deployed in a cloud-agnostic environment, created an application-level load balancer to achieve a maximum level of scalability and resilience, and made the system fault-tolerant by carefully designing replication and partitioning mechanisms.
Our experts have helped the client to:
- Increase user outreach by making the system cloud-agnostic;
- Make money transfers faster: from three days to one hour;
- Accelerate transaction handling from 1K per second to 20K per second;
- Increase the system’s security by implementing private keys, service replications, and complicated routing.
Adopting a multi-cloud architecture is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The multi-cloud solutions are the primary way to go for businesses that want to get the security level of a private Сloud (on-premise) and the flexibility of a public Сloud.
However, to benefit from multi-cloud integration, you have to partner with a vendor that has long-standing experience providing data and Сloud services. Also, the security expertise of your partner-to-be is of prime importance.
Why implement multi-cloud architecture with N-iX?
- The company boasts a talent pool of more than 2,000 specialists that can help you boost your project delivery;
- Our partnership with AWS and GCP began in 2020, and we have achieved multiple designations since then. In addition to being a Microsoft partner for many years, we also earned Microsoft Gold Cloud Competency in 2021.
- We have over 400 Cloud engineers, experinced in working with major Cloud hyperscalers;
- Our portfolio includes 150+ Cloud projects completed in the last five years;
- ISG has recognized N-iX for excellence in public Cloud services;
- N-iX has strong expertise in Сloud, Big Data, Data Science, Business Intelligence, and many other technologies;
- N-iX is a global software development company with offices and development centres across Europe and the USA.