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Single Cloud vs. Multi Cloud: 5 Reasons for a Single Cloud Strategy

It can seem that the single cloud vs. multi cloud debate is tipped in favor of multiple clouds, but a single cloud may be right for your organization.

We’re living in a multi cloud world. Indeed, it may feel strange these days to consider using just a single cloud, given all the potential advantages (like increased workload reliability and cost savings) to be gleaned from a multi cloud architecture. But, just because almost everyone else is using more than one cloud doesn’t mean that multicloud is right for everyone. Sometimes, a single cloud architecture is the way to go. When comparing single cloud vs. multi cloud, here are five signs that a single cloud is right for your organization.

1. Only some of your workloads run in the cloud.

When comparing single cloud vs. multi cloud, the more extensively you use cloud services, the more you have to gain from being able to choose between multiple cloud providers when deploying cloud services.

On the other hand, if you run only some of your workloads in the cloud, and the rest live on-premises, juggling multiple public cloud providers can be more hassle than it’s worth. There are fewer cost, performance and reliability advantages to gain from using more clouds at once if the cloud is not at the core of your IT strategy.

2. You rely heavily on proprietary cloud services.

Most cloud deployment models fall into one of two categories: Either they use proprietary cloud services that are available only from a specific vendor, or they are deployed using open source platforms (like Kubernetes) that can run on any cloud.

In the former case, sticking with a single cloud tends to make more sense. Moving a workload between clouds takes more work if the workload depends on a specific cloud service and needs to be reconfigured to work with a different cloud’s implementation of the same type of service. But it’s pretty easy to move between, say, the Kubernetes services of multiple clouds without much reconfiguration.

It’s worth noting that there is some nuance surrounding what defines a “proprietary” cloud service. Certain public cloud services, like AWS EC2 and S3, are technically proprietary, but they can be managed via third-party API implementations like Eucalyptus. That makes it easier to use these services within a multicloud or hybrid cloud architecture than it is to use a cloud service that has no open or third-party equivalent.

3. You face tight security or privacy rules.

If your organization has strict compliance requirements, the single cloud vs. multi cloud decision is pretty simple: A single cloud makes it easier to meet strict compliance rules that govern how cloud workloads and data are secured.

When you move applications or data between multiple clouds, it becomes harder to ensure that all of the IAM configurations, network connections, storage buckets and other resources at play are properly secured. In addition, the extent to which public cloud services themselves comply with various regulations can vary a bit from one cloud to another. That creates another layer of complexity that you can avoid by sticking with a single cloud.

4. You are smart about cost optimization in a single cloud.

Part of the reason many people get excited about multi cloud architectures is that they can save money by allowing organizations to pick and choose services from among multiple public cloud platforms to strike the optimal balance between cost and performance.

That’s true. But it’s also true that there are many other ways to save on cloud computing costs. For example, you can be smart about the way you configure cloud networking to minimize egress fees. (And, indeed, egress fees tend to be naturally much smaller when you use a single cloud because you don’t have to pay for data transfer between clouds.) You can also reduce cloud administration costs, as well as take advantage of reserve instances to save on cloud compute and tiering.

All of these cost-saving strategies work just as well--and are easier to manage, to boot -- in a single cloud as they do in multiple clouds. They also stand to reduce your total cloud spend by a greater amount. You may save ten or twenty percent by migrating a workload from one public cloud to a different cloud that offers the same type of service at a somewhat lower price. But you can save 70 percent or more by taking advantage of reserve instances within a single cloud, for instance.

5. You’re struggling to hire cloud engineers.

Sometimes, the single cloud vs. multi cloud decision comes down to staffing: A single cloud makes it easier to find and maintain a team of skilled cloud engineers who can manage your workloads effectively.

If you use multiple clouds, you need engineers who possess broad expertise that covers all of the clouds you work with. But when you stick with a single cloud, you only need to find engineers with a specific set of skills.

Given that skilled cloud engineers are in short supply, there’s a good case to be made for using a single cloud to simplify talent acquisition. You’re also likely to find that engineers who have expertise in just one cloud cost a bit less in salary than those who are experts in multiple cloud platforms.

Conclusion: The Single Cloud vs. Multi Cloud Decision Is Not a No-Brainer

A single cloud architecture is certainly not right for everyone. There are plenty of good reasons to use multiple clouds at once. But before you jump on the multi cloud bandwagon, step back and assess whether a single cloud strategy makes more sense for your organization. Based on factors like cloud workload types, compliance requirements and cloud cost considerations, it just might.

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