Healthcare orgs eye move to multi-cloud strategy

While storing data in multiple clouds is a fairly new strategy, one expert says it's useful for companies that want to control cloud costs, protect privacy and ensure their data is always available.

Jeff Rowe | Nov 26, 2017 09:20 pm

As companies become more accustomed to the cloud, they’re beginning to ponder the advantages of tapping into, not just one cloud, but many clouds at once.

Writing recently at TechTarget, longtime CIO Brian Posey points out that one advantage to using a multi-cloud storage strategy is that it gives organizations the flexibility to choose the best options from an array of cloud providers  “For instance,” he says, “a single cloud might provide multiple storage types as well as the ability to host virtual machine instances and database and directory services.”

Similarly, “within any public cloud, some services are more mature and stable, or they perform better than others. For example, the storage services that a cloud provider has offered for many years are usually more reliable than a new machine learning tool the provider introduced last week.”

In short, a multi-cloud storage strategy allows organizations to capitalize on each cloud provider's strengths. “Businesses might find that one cloud provider excels when it comes to object storage, whereas another provider's strong suit is directory services. Using multi-cloud storage gives organizations access to the best cloud-based services, regardless of which provider offers them."

Another advantage Posey connects to a multi-cloud strategy is the prospect of more precise control over costs. “Cloud service providers set usage rates for individual services, but businesses that utilize multiple clouds can pick and choose which services they use based on which provider offers the best rates for those services. One provider might charge 2 cents less per gigabyte of storage than another. A different cloud provider might offer a better rate for running virtual machine instances."

Yet another advantage Posey cites pertains to business continuity. “Adopting a multi-cloud storage strategy can help ensure business continuity in times of disaster. Individual cloud providers make it possible for an organization to shield itself against regional disasters. Major cloud providers have data centers throughout the world, and subscribers can place cloud resources in multiple regions to ensure they remain available in the event of a disaster.”

Finally, there’s the issue of data security and privacy.  “Even today,” Posey says, “some companies are reluctant to place their most sensitive data in the public cloud because of privacy concerns. One way to mitigate these concerns is to use erasure coding to distribute data across multiple clouds. This ensures that no single cloud provider has a complete copy of the data.”