Multi-cloud – dead on arrival? Vendor lock-in?
In a recent Infoworld article, Matt Asay, former Head of Developer Ecosystem for Adobe and current AWS evangelist, asserts that your multi-cloud strategy is all wrong.1 In his words, multi-cloud should lower costs while increasing agility and innovation; but the opposite is true. His argument is based on the “shallow” experience. He cites Steve Chamber’s take where the more clouds in play, leads to higher overhead and having less experience with each cloud; thus, workloads on the first cloud service provider one runs worse when moved onto the second cloud service provider. He, then, takes on the idea of vendor agnostic and the avoid vendor lock-in premise. He references Derek Martin’s postulate that architecting for the lowest common denominator doesn’t cover all the scenarios that engineers have to deal with. And yet, he also refers to Dominic Briggs’ statement that using particular clouds for particular workloads make sense.
Interestingly enough, Asay joins AWS just as they launch a campaign that forbids partners from mentioning multi-cloud. What Asay proffers up as advice is that you need to back a horse and partner with a provider to digitally transform.
Business outcomes are the keys to success with clouds
If management is planning on multi-clouding to check a box, get experience for their next move, or work on as a science project, expect failures and huge bills to boot. This was true when IT pros dealt with multiple vendors across infrastructure and software solutions for on-premises datacenters. It remains true today with cloud services. Throwing technology at problems without understanding the business endgame leads to more problems than actual solutions.
IT’s value lies in what it can deliver for the business to end-users and customers using the technology de jour. IT aims to enable frictionless services consumption and be the innovation driver for the business; thus, allowing the business to focus solely on positive customer outcomes, which leads to more revenue generation. That’s what digital transformation is all about.
To achieve maximum value, hybrid cloud is more apropos than multi-cloud. It starts with a solid, stable datacenter that can extend seamlessly into clouds as determined by the needs of your end-users and the business. As IT organizations address this new reality, where the agility and flexibility to change course quickly while maintaining momentum to deliver organizational velocity and meet the consumption mass, what does good lock-in look like?
Instead of thinking about lock-in in terms of vendors, think about the value of being locked in with that vendor. Good value for IT organizations center around three pillars – simplicity, stability, and support.
Therefore, picking the right horse for the course means locking into a vendor’s differentiated value and having its intrinsic beneficial properties propagate through your organization to help deliver positive outcomes.
Tips to lock-in value with vendors
Apply the K.I.S.S. (keep IT stupid simple) principle with vendors. Pick a solution that is simple to manage and scale while delivering excellent experience to IT and end-users at any scale.
- Keep calm, stabilize on. Choose a vendor with a stable platform that delivers availability, resiliency, redundancy, and recoverability so that you can move surefootedly in any direction at the speed of your business.
- In world class support, IT trusts. There are only two guarantees in IT – things change and failures occur. And when it happens, it is IT’s job to fix it fast. Work with a vendor who will stand and deliver with you through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Make sure your horse values you and is in it with you for your entire digital journey through the hybrid cloud endgame. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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