Why to Have and How to Support Multi-Cloud Environments

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Public IaaS and PaaS clouds have existed long enough that they have become mainstream technologies. Many organizations have adopted a “cloud first” IT model, in which the cloud is the default location for deploying new applications and services.

Given this trend, the focus on the cloud has largely shifted from cloud adoption to implementing multi-cloud deployments. This article explains why multi-cloud infrastructures are useful and how to implement them.

Multi-Cloud Basics

Multi-Cloud Benefits

Just as operating in a multi-cloud environment gives you the ability to choose a best-of-breed solution from a number of competing services, multi-cloud environments also give you the ability to shop for the best price. You might find that one provider has the best price for database services, while a different provider has the best price for virtual machine hosting.

Security and redundancy also tend to be strong considerations when implementing a multi-cloud environment. As the old saying goes, you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in the same basket. An organization might, therefore, mirror a database to a different cloud provider, so that a copy of the data will remain available in the event that the primary cloud provider suffers an outage.

Likewise, multi-cloud usage can help to keep data secure (or private). Some organizations use erasure coding to stripe data across multiple cloud storage platforms. Very often, the data is written in such a way that no one single provider has a complete copy of the data. Instead, each cloud contains only fragments of data that are useless by themselves. Hence, if a cloud provider is compromised, it will be impossible for the hacker to read the organization’s data.

Supporting a Multi-Cloud Environment

Simply put, the members of your IT staff will need to have a good working knowledge of the cloud platforms that are being used. Not every IT staff member needs an intricate knowledge of every cloud platform, but the IT department should collectively have the knowledge required to support each cloud that is being used.

The second requirement is having a strategy for moving resources to a different cloud. There are actually two different considerations involved in this requirement. The first consideration involves the actual migration of data. The second consideration is being able to use the data once it is in its new location.

Obviously, there is no universal answer to these requirements, because each organization’s needs are different. When it comes to data migration, however, the best option is to check to see what types of data migration tools the public cloud provider makes available to its subscribers.

Alibaba Cloud’s Support for Multi-Cloud Architectures

While you may not need every one of these tools, different tools are useful in different situations. Alibaba Cloud’s tools are listed at https://www.alibabacloud.com/help/doc-detail/51654.htm and are divided into two categories–Alibaba Cloud DTPlus products and open source products. The Alibaba Cloud DTPlus products include tools such as Data Integration of DataWorks (a data synchronization tool), MaxCompute Client (a data uploading and downloading tunnel), and Data Transmission Service (DTS). DTS is a data migration tool that is designed to work with RDBMS, NoSQL, OLAP, and other data sources. The open source tools are available on GitHub and include Sqoop, Kettle, Flume, Fluentd, LogStash, and OGG.


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