Going multi-cloud is the trend of 2021. Intense competition between cloud providers results in more, and oftentimes improved alternatives to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the commoditization of various cloud services. Sticking to a single cloud provider is no longer an option. But companies are still working on their multi-cloud strategies.
Competition results in the availability of diverse offers from cloud providers. Selection of a supplier should depend on many factors, the most important being specific application and business requirements.
The variables are many. For instance, Amazon EC2 could be better suited for a specific app, while a cloud provider with cheaper egress, like DigitalOcean, might be best suited for another app with large egress traffic. Or while Azure Blob Storage has more features that are important for some, Backblaze B2 is cheaper.
Some niche providers specialize in subsets of services, like Wasabi and Backblaze, that only offer object storage with no compute. Multi-cloud is all about mixing and matching offers for best overall results.
Figuratively speaking, multi-cloud adoption by companies could be divided into several “levels”:
Level 0: no multi-cloud, using a single cloud provider, likely AWS.
Level 1: using different cloud providers for different applications — like accounting runs on AWS, while distribution runs on Azure.
Level 2: using services from different cloud providers for the same application — like using compute from Amazon S3 and storage from Backblaze B2.
Level 3: using competing services from different clouds for the same app — like storing data both in Amazon S3 and Backblaze B2.
Considering such figurative levels of multi-cloud adoption, Flexify.IO would then enable a Level 3 multi-cloud, since it allows a single application to consume storage from more than one cloud simultaneously. Storage virtualization is the technology behind multi-cloud that decouples “physical” storage from a “logical” virtualized storage layer visible to applications.
Some companies use Flexify.IO to replicate their data between multiple clouds — storing data both in Wasabi and Backblaze B2 for redundancy. Another use case is splitting or offloading some data to another cloud, like storing frequently accessed data in Amazon S3 closer to compute, but offloading older, infrequently accessed data, to Backblaze B2 — a cheaper option. Extending private on-premises storage, like Dell EMC ECS, to a cloud is also popular.
The geographic distribution of data is also important, since some jurisdictions require data to be stored in certain locations, while developers would prefer having their data in a single namespace, regardless of regulations. Storage virtualization allows combining data in a single virtual namespace, while storing the “physical” data in different data centers with varied geography.
For the true multi-cloud storage, detaching applications from proprietary cloud APIs is paramount. For instance, an app designed for Azure Blob Storage API is locked to Azure and cannot be transferred to another cloud or provider easily. Similarly, an app designed for Amazon S3 API cannot be simply configured to store data in Azure. Storage virtualization with Flexify.IO solves this by transparently translating and adapting APIs to specific clouds.
Multi-cloud with storage virtualization also makes data migrations transparent for applications and users, eliminating downtimes due to synchronization and application reconfiguration changes.
Multi-cloud is a necessity — company’s multi-cloud strategy should take into account all possible storage scenarios, and Flexify.IO can cover all of them top to bottom.