Multi-cloud trends in 2022 and expert tips to optimise your cloud spending

July 21, 2022
Multi-cloud trends in 2022 and expert tips to optimise your cloud spending


Prior to the growing trend of multi-cloud, there was vendor lock-in earlier. It wasn't as bad as it sounds, but organisations were limited to using resources from a single cloud vendor.

It was as if a boundary had been etched, preventing the organisation from scaling its resources in the required manner.

Then came the evolutionary model of cloud computing, the multi-cloud environment.

This involved choosing the best services from various cloud providers, making it look like one, combined cloud environment from the user's perspective. From the emergence of multi-cloud, organisations are now at a point where functioning without the multi-cloud environment is close to impossible.

In the state of the cloud report by Flexera, about 80% of organisations reported embracing a multi-cloud approach for the present and the years to come. So, if you're an organisation part of a multi-cloud strategy or are entering one, this blog outlines the main trends and tips on cost optimization to make the most of the features it has to offer.

What is multi-cloud?

The terms public and private clouds have become way too familiar and a mandatory inclusion in any company's IT strategy. But the pros and cons of both, and the scaling demands of organisations have led to industries making a shift to multi-cloud.

Multi-cloud computing is when organisations opt to use services from multiple cloud service providers. These include vendors such as Amazon Web Services, IBM, Azure, Google Cloud and so on. But here's the catch. All these services are used simultaneously by the organisation, for different workload requirements.

In general, this approach helps the organisation take care of their resources better, and choose the right storage requirements and the services they need from more than a single cloud provider. This multi-cloud strategy is a unique take on having different cloud features from different vendors under one architecture. This makes the most of cloud computing technology, as a single vendor may not be able to provide all the services that an organisation may need.

Top 5 multi-cloud trends to watch out for in 2022

A multi-cloud architecture provides flexibility and access to resources that would be limited with a single cloud vendor. Multi-cloud computing caters to organisations that upgrade their workloads, scale up, are flexible and require better redundancy and disaster recovery. Here are some multi-cloud trends projected to grow in 2022 and beyond,

1. Serverless computing

The biggest advantage to multi-cloud computing is the option to 'pick and choose' your hardware, software or platforms from the vendors of your choice. This is almost similar to creating a bouquet of the functions you need for your organisation, by picking the best qualities from different vendors.

Serverless computing multi-cloud providers can provide your organisation with the physical hardware, the operating systems or the web server management based on your requirements. A benefit to this is the upscaling or downscaling of the features, which is also handled by the provider.

2. Multi-cloud security

An increase in the number of cloud vendors brings out the need for additional security due to vulnerability. However, it also brings about an advantage, where if a cloud provider suffers a security attack, the organisation would not have to completely halt operations. Cyber risks are an inevitable part of any cloud environment, and with multi-cloud environments, each provider has its own approach to securing its infrastructure.

Hence, organisations should practice multi-cloud governance with consistent actions such as restricting access and control, and constant monitoring. With companies such as Microsoft, AWS, Google Cloud and so on making strategic acquisitions to improve their security features, organisations can expect a consistent security strategy across cloud platforms in the years to come.

3. Reliability for AI and ML

Embracing a multi-cloud strategy for your Artificial intelligence and machine learning projects has an undeniable advantage. Beyond solving the problem of vendor lock-in, organisations can use different elements from various cloud service providers to fulfil their project needs and requirements. Scaling up and down the storage capacity is also easier, along with the pro of faster response time.

AI and ML often require fast responses for business success. Any form of latency can affect the product quality. In such cases, using cloud providers to decrease the proximity and reduce latency is possible. Further, the risk of downtime is reduced with multi-clouds. For instance, if the AI application were to be down on one multi-cloud server, running it on a different cloud provider leads to zero downtime issues faced by customers.

4. Using containers for faster deployment

As a part of the digital transformation from traditional IT to more automated platforms, organisations have increasingly started adopting the concept of containerization. According to Research and Markets, over 3.5 billion applications are currently running within Docker containers and about 48% of organisations are managing containers at a larger scale with Kubernetes. Containers act as isolated units of software that run on any operating system, as long as the container unit supports the underlying OS.

In multi-cloud settings, containers provide flexibility and portability for microservice architectures. Each container consists of a process that is isolated from the rest of the system, making it easier to 'pick and shift' them from one cloud environment to another. Containers also help in the division of work, as different teams can work on different containers at the same time.

The portability of containers in the multi-cloud is feasible in times of checking for bugs, crashes or while running in a specific OS. Issues are targeted easier and containers of a specific application can be grouped into logical units for better management, discovery and maintenance.

5. Centralisation

Workloads are fragmented and distributed in a multi-cloud environment, which can pose a challenge in terms of monitoring and security. Currently, organisations turn to multi-cloud brokers to integrate all cloud management into one place, regardless of the cloud infrastructure. Hence, for organisations jumping onto multi-cloud, it is crucial to find vendors who provide better coverage across multiple cloud environments.

Some of the elements to focus on while moving to a centralised format in multi-cloud architecture include,

  • Using infrastructure as a code as tools by the security and operations team

  • Implementing cloud-native access control and multilayered network segmentation strategy

  • Centralised monitoring and reporting

  • Security tools that work across multiple cloud environments

  • Possibility to centralise encryption, and access management

Expert tips on optimising your multi-cloud spending

Compared to a single cloud provider, a multi-cloud environment inevitably leads to an increase in usage, maintenance and the expense of adoption and usage. Organisations need to have a system in place to monitor cloud usage and costs to check if the resources are being used optimally. Based on continuing multi-cloud trends, here are some cost optimization trends that organisations must consider,

1. Adopting FinOps as a financial management discipline

Cost optimization is a huge challenge with most organisations that migrate to the cloud. With Return on Investment in mind, the costs of the cloud should not outweigh the benefits of moving to the cloud. The growth of FinOps in 2022 is due to the fact that it creates visibility and accountability within the organisation to manage cloud spending.

FinOps creates visibility into resource utilisation and spending through labelling and tagging resources. This clarifies the who behind the type of resource being used. The second stage is chargebacks where FinOps encourages teams and business units to become directly responsible for their cloud spending. This boosts visibility on the spending and maintenance of cross-functional teams within the organisation.

2. Choose the right pricing strategy

Given that multi-cloud adoption requires dealing with multiple cloud providers and their pricing models, it is important to review your cloud workload and usage before deciding the right pricing strategy.

In a pay-as-you-go model, which is the most common form, your organisation would only have to pay for the cloud resources that are utilised, with fees calculated by the hour. This is most suitable for workloads or projects that need scalability or have specific requirements.

Some models also offer a savings plan based on commitment, where the organisations are offered a discount of 30-50% when the advance for 1-3 years is paid. Further, a tiered pricing model is also present. It works on the principle that an organisation pays less, the more they use the multi-cloud computing resources.

3. Decrease spending and optimise resources

With proper visibility of the types of resources being used, organisations can discard resources that have been deployed but are not in use. Cloud services can also be scheduled on the basis of their usage, such that the resources are not left idle in other instances. Cloud providers also provide discounts on certain payment models, along with instance generation for some applications. This option is less expensive and allows the same performance of an application under smaller size.

Optimization of resources through adjustment of data storage, using serverless computing and using the right type of autoscaling to reduce costs are some effective practices.

To jump on the multi-cloud bandwagon, what should your organisation start with?

Primarily, a multi-cloud environment requires effort, a realistic check on whether your organisation requires it and the right tactics to boost utilisation and reduce costs. If your organisation fares better under a multi-cloud environment, it is crucial to be aware of existing and possible future trends. Doing the required research and constantly optimising your resources and strategies is a must for multi-cloud management.

Get expert advice from professionals on multi-cloud technologies and strategies today.