It has recently been reported that Barclays Bank intends to shut down all of its 18 on-premises data centers and go all-in with Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud services. According to the article from Caroline Donnelly in ComputerWeekly, “the project is part of a wider push by the banking giant to increase its ability to respond to the ever-changing financial services landscape… ‘The financial industry is changing all the time. In the last 10 years particularly, margins have been squeezed, profits are reducing, regulations are tightening and it’s getting harder and harder to do things, because you have to do more with less and less.’”
However, if a recent survey is correct, the Barclays approach may be more the exception than the rule. These days, enterprises are more prone to rely on a combination of multiple technology resources – in the cloud, and on-premises – to run their businesses. The survey of 600 IT executives out of CloudFoundry finds most companies are pursuing efforts to bring both their onsite systems and cloud systems to bear on new applications.
Basically, 57 percent of IT executives report their companies do a mix of building new cloud-native applications and refactoring existing applications. What’s more, this is an increase of nine percentage points from late 2017. It’s not a matter of either/or. Only 20 percent report sticking only with cloud, and only 13 percent say they are primarily refactoring. The survey also shows more than a third (39 percent) of respondents are using a combination of PaaS, containers and serverless technologies together.
Another recent survey from RightScale finds that 81 percent of enterprises now have a multicloud strategy. Multicloud continues to be the preferred strategy for enterprises, the survey’s authors report, and companies reporting that they use nearly five different clouds on average.
The trend toward multi-platform, multicloud is showing up across the board. “We are seeing some form of public and public as well as public and private deployments with almost all our customers,” Gou Rao, co-founder and CTO of Portworx, writes in a post at The New Stack. The reasoning is simple: it’s better not to have all your eggs in one basket. As Rao explains: “As IT becomes the center of competitiveness for nearly every enterprise today, companies have to think about being able to survive a widespread outage or security vulnerability. Multicloud operations spread the risk of service disruption across a larger surface area. Think of it as an investment-diversification strategy.”
A multiplatform, multicloud strategy also boosts productivity. As the authors of the CloudFoundry report put it: “As they advance in their cloud journeys, IT decision makers increasingly embrace the power of different platforms to ensure their businesses take advantage of new technologies to make their developers most productive.”
Rao describes what various multicloud strategies look like:
- Dev/test and production in separate sites: “The most common, and simplest, version of multicloud,” Rao explains. Development work can go on without taxing the resources of the production site.
- Burst to cloud: An application “runs in an on-premises environment, but during certain peak times, they will spin up additional capacity in the cloud.”
- Multicloud disaster recovery: “This involves running a production application in one cloud or on-premises environment but maintaining a separate, up-to-date copy of the application in another environment.”
- Multicloud operations of a single application: Running simultaneously in multiple clouds are a form of insurance against disruptions. Rao relates that “representatives from GPS service Waze recently wrote in a joint post how ‘by running an active-active architecture across Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and AWS, we’re in a better position to survive a DNS DDOS attack, a regional failure – even a global failure of an entire cloud provider.’”
- Cloud arbitrage: Rao calls cloud arbitrage the “holy grail of multicloud,” in which “workloads are dynamically placed in the environment with the most cost-competitive infrastructure at the time.”