4 Most Common Misconceptions of Multi-Cloud Infrastructure

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Jacob SchulzDevOps Community Manager at Spacelift

Monday, January 17, 2022

The multi-cloud has many applications, but programmers and developers just getting into the cloud experience may run into issues.

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4 Most Common Misconceptions of Multi-Cloud Infrastructure
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Most developers expect multi-cloud infrastructures to integrate easily with other cloud services. While this is true to an extent, developers often get more than they bargained for.

Developers considering a multi-cloud infrastructure should look over some of the most common misconceptions before diving in.

1. Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) makes multi-cloud easy

IaCs and their tools are the basis for multi-cloud structures. Terraform is the IaC of choice for many clouds developed for companies, but switching between cloud services within Terraform just isn’t feasible. IaCs can’t switch between cloud structures.

IaCs, like Terraform and Pulumi, allow developers to access infrastructures in code, which makes matching infrastructure to its architecture easy. IaC services allow developers to shift easily between code within a cloud service. However, each cloud has its own regulations and resources specific to the cloud provider.

Each cloud requires code and infrastructure replication to function correctly. So, any identity management, storage, computations and networking must be defined again in every cloud.

IaC makes transfers between clouds easier than re-inputting the same code into every cloud, but it doesn’t prevent the necessity for code cloning. Any code tied to GCP requires the same resources in AWS.

2. Cloud providers are the same

This myth started with a grain of truth: most cloud services have very similar structures. They often require the same technology to run and develop. They provide APIs to help you reach services, and they provide similar data centers. In most cases, they run so similarly that they’re difficult to tell apart. Leveraging similar services to other cloud providers can also aid in removing potential issues before they arise.

However, when implementing a multi-cloud strategy, it becomes much more difficult to narrow down the similarities. Often, cloud structures use different terminology, and the level of difference varies for each cloud provider. So, finding similar terminology can take a long time when cloning IaC from one cloud service to another.

The variety of differences in networking, authentication mechanisms, IaC resource definitions, APIs and storage make any multi-cloud strategy difficult. Developers often take significantly longer to sort out every difference. While IaC makes the process easier, it's not a straightforward task.

Cloud services now have AI and machine learning features, but only some services have great integrations. It’s not a requirement, but it could save you a lot of time at scale.

3. All clouds are equal in value

Alternative cloud providers are usually a draw for customers. By offering them additional tools and structures for them, businesses can attract and maintain more customers than their competitors. Some developers use this excuse as a reason to dive into another cloud provider, but not all cloud services are the same.

Just like any other product, some brands are better than others. While most clouds have the same services and tools, they vary in value. Availability, security and resiliency vary within most cloud services, which affects the cloud’s ability to scale. Most cloud services are considered a step up from running your own data center, but that doesn’t mean developers won’t have hiccups along the way.

A business’s responsibility for errors doubles every time developers add a new cloud to a multi-cloud architecture. Developers who mostly monitor one cloud may not notice the vast changes in another, causing significant failure.

What’s more, cloud services and providers are ever-changing and growing. What might suit a company at one point may fail to meet requirements in the future. New projects that require more space or alternative infrastructures could make one cloud provider completely useless for a business, negating the time and money developers put into the cloud service.

4. The cloud is too confusing

If this article hasn’t scared off too many readers, perhaps this section will be the multi-cloud strategy’s saving grace. Multi-cloud strategies are complex, and it’s difficult to maintain when scaled, but each cloud service comes with its own perks to make it more adaptable to every business.

Cloud services have countless options that are easily customizable for each business. Most cloud services are evolving to make integrations easier. Since the pandemic, the demand for cloud services has increased exponentially and cloud service providers are looking for ways to capitalize on the increase by offering more features.

Microservices within various cloud services often leverage simple architecture strategies to make integrations between multiple clouds easier. Developers that work in close contact with cloud service providers can improve integration processes quickly.

Developers can find most services not provided by cloud providers on third-party sites. These sites often increase automation processes significantly, making it easier than ever to make changes and transition between cloud providers.

Consider the complexity of the cloud a chance to use more features instead of a deterrent to a multi-cloud strategy. Developers can customize any part of the cloud or multi-cloud strategy to fit any type of business.

Final thoughts

Multi-cloud strategies are all the rage in the online business sphere. They often improve scaling efforts and make customers happier. Most businesses that don’t need cloud services now will need it a year from now, especially online businesses.

A multi-cloud strategy is difficult to pull off without a smart strategy. It’s nearly impossible not to run into roadblocks along the way in any strategy. However, identifying necessities in each cloud service can help narrow down the best cloud providers for business. Knowing the facts can make transitions and implementations easier in the long run when leveraging the right tools.

Jacob Schulz

DevOps Community Manager at Spacelift

spacelift.io

Jacob is a DevOps Engineer based in Berlin currently working as DevOps Community Manager at Spacelift. He has worked with cloud and DevOps technologies for the last four years. He is passionate about DevOps, cloud industry and community building. In his free time he enjoys hiking, cycling, and biography books.

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