Looking beyond the obvious: What’s best for multi-cloud?

You’ve got the right strategy in place, but how can you ensure you’re also working with the right partners to move your vision forward?

This year has been eventful to say the least, but green shoots of hope have emerged from the pandemic for businesses across the globe, large and small, public and private.

Many organisations have fully embraced remote and/or hybrid working and have truly adopted cloud and mobile-first thinking to shape their future technology led business decisions. What started out as disruption is fast becoming business as usual, with firms using their particular new normal ways of working as an advantage rather than disadvantage.

"Cloud in all its permutations – hardware/software/services/as a service as well as public/private/hybrid/multi/edge – will play ever greater, and even dominant, roles across the IT industry for the foreseeable future," said Richard L. Villars, group vice president, Worldwide Research at IDC.

"By the end of 2021, based on lessons learned in the pandemic, most enterprises will put a mechanism in place to accelerate their shift to cloud-centric digital infrastructure and application services twice as fast as before the pandemic."

Fellow analyst firm Gartner agrees with IDC’s hypothesis on cloud’s growing popularity, with Brandon Medford, its senior principal analyst saying: “Organisations are advancing their timelines on digital business initiatives and moving rapidly to the cloud in an effort to modernise environments, improve system reliability, support hybrid work models and address other new realities compelled by the pandemic.”

Multiple changes, multiple benefits

Other, wider, changes are starting to occur, too, with businesses gaining a better understanding that cloud potentially offers them more control and security rather than less - a real, but unfounded, concern in years gone by.

One of those key changes is the recognition of and move towards a multi-cloud operating environment where firms can enjoy the best of all worlds and do what works best for their specific business on a use case-by-case basis with maximum agility and minimal complexity.

Experts concur that multi-cloud will be a popular choice this year and beyond, with IDC dubbing 2021 as “The year of multi-cloud as the global COVID-19 pandemic reaffirms critical need for business agility.”

It predicts that the majority (90%) of enterprises around the world will be making use of a mixture of on-premises, dedicated cloud and off-premises, public and private clouds by default come 2022.

"The widespread disruption caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak has reinforced the critical importance of businesses being agile enough to scale up or down with fluctuations in demand," says IDC's Jyoti Lalchandani, group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META).

"A public cloud platform provides enterprises with an agile, scalable, and cost-effective IT infrastructure that supports their business processes. However, public cloud is not necessarily an appropriate option for all types of workloads. As such, some enterprises are choosing to keep certain workloads on-premises – using an in-house datacenter – or on private clouds. This approach helps them achieve better performance, 24/7 availability, enhanced security, and greater compliance with regulations."

What next?

Once a  business has decided multi-cloud is the best way forward, what are the next steps and key considerations? Avoiding vendor lock-in will, obviously, be high on the agenda (see our feature on how to avoid cloud vendor lock-in for more information) and companies will also want to ensure any future partners have their best interests in mind, rather than feeling like just another number on a spreadsheet.

While it may seem convenient to start by looking at the big hyperscalers, it might actually make more sense to cast your business gaze elsewhere. That’s very much the spirit of the multi-cloud world where loyalty can become a penalty rather than a benefit.

Jeff Flowers, CTO and co-founder of hot cloud storage provider Wasabi, is a big fan of a multi-cloud approach, citing the immediate benefits of storing data in two places meaning data is always most available and most reliable.

“With multi-cloud solutions you also get some leverage against your vendors… If you wind up using a single cloud and you don’t like it and you have petabytes there it could be months before you’re out of that cloud,” he stresses.

“At Wasabi, we’re so low cost it makes it a no-brainer to have multi-cloud and keep a copy with us and copy with Amazon, Azure, whoever. “

David Friend, co-founder and CEO at Wasabi, agrees that it makes sense to use different cloud providers for, say, your compute, storage, content delivery and so on. What’s more, he talks up the benefits of your vendors choosing the right partners themselves.

“This is the way the computing industry has always gone. We’ve always started with monoliths like IBM, that sold you printers and disk drives, CPUs, and memory cards and everything else and now that’s fractured. You go into a typical data centre today and you’ll see dozens of different vendors’ equipment all mixed and matched,” Friend said during a Facebook live session.

“I think that’s the way the cloud will go. I don’t think customers will put up with the idea that you get everything from one vendor, because no matter how big you are, you can’t be the best at everything.”

As of January 2021, Wasabi had more than 21,000 customers and had forged solid relationships with in excess of 350 technology partners. That’s in addition to expanding its available storage by 150%.

Partnering with good partners for customer success

Building on the importance of good partnerships, the channel also plays a key role in Wasabi’s go-to-market strategy.

Marty Falaro, Wasabi’s executive vice president and COO, referenced its growing channel partner network in a blog post towards the end of 2020, stating that the firm had almost tripled its partner base in the space of a year. He also said around 200 new partners were pledging their allegiance to the firm each and every month, on average.

“Wasabi is committed to delivering low cost, fast, secure cloud storage to customers worldwide. Wasabi is also committed to building a profitable channel program to attract thousands of partners interested in helping us deliver this disruptive cloud storage service to the world,” he wrote.

“Part of the disruptive nature of Wasabi is the simplicity of what we are doing. Our pricing is simple with no hidden or variable fees like all of the hyperscalers have. Wasabi only charges you for the cloud storage you use and nothing else. No egress fees or API request fees which are intended to lock you into these hyperscalers.”

In a Forbes op-ed in early 2021, Falaro also talked about how the channel is key to offering a better deal than the cloud competition, AKA Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. 

“We decided to take a different approach. Instead of just making our storage available to the channel, we made it a priority to build relationships with our ecosystem and identify ways to be more attractive than our competitors,” he wrote.

“One of the best ways to be more attractive is just by being easier to work with. In our case, Wasabi’s flat pricing model makes our storage easy to understand and to budget for. This makes our partners’ customers happy and, thus, makes our partners happy too.”

But don’t just take Wasabi’s word for it. Others have commented - positively so - on the impact the market entrant has made since its arrival on the scene back in 2017.

Indeed, IDC heralded Wasabi as a vendor that had been instrumental in shaping things in its 2020 Worldwide Public Cloud Infrastructure as a Service Market Shares report.

“As enterprises continue to expand their reliance on stored data and cloud services, Wasabi will remain well positioned for growth, striking a unique balance between high-performance and low-cost object storage which appeals to a wide range of enterprises, partners and use cases,” said Andrew Smith, research manager, Cloud infrastructure Services at IDC.

“Wasabi was founded to take the complexity out of cloud storage performance and pricing and to make it more reliable and transparent. As 2020 forced us all to reimagine how we work and conduct business, low-cost, reliable and scalable cloud storage is more important than ever,” Wasabi’s Friend added.

“This recognition from IDC alongside some of the world’s most well-known technology companies validates our more simplified and predictable approach to cloud storage. With our recent funding, revenues tripling each of the last three years, and exponential partner and customer growth, we’re well-positioned to grow our leadership in the IaaS market.”

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