Who is coming out on top in the multi-cloud war?

Companies are employing multi-cloud strategies that are changing the structure of the cloud industry and the power dynamics that lie within.
26 April 2021

Who is winning the multi-cloud war? Source: AFP PHOTO/JOE KLAMAR (Photo by Joe KLAMAR / AFP)

  • Multi-cloud infrastructure empowers organizations to mix and match platforms and vendors such that their workloads are not locked into individual cloud providers
  • While the most significant impacts of multi-cloud strategies have yet to be seen, the power dynamics between AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are slowly shifting

The public cloud is not without its challenges — in fact, all cloud services are prone to failure. For progressive organizations that want to excel in cloud strategy without placing all their eggs in the same basket, they can leverage a multi-cloud environment. Multi-cloud architecture empowers organizations to distribute their workloads across multiple cloud environments so they can get the biggest bang for their buck while mitigating risks associated with individual cloud environments. 

This value proposition alone justifies the widespread growth and adoption of multi-cloud infrastructure solutions. While Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant platform, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform are increasing market share by playing to their strengths. According to CB Insights, the cloud computing services industry is expected to reach US$513 billion by 2022.

In 2020 alone, there was a surge of cloud adoption, including multi-cloud models. Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% this year to total US$304.9 billion, up from US$257.5 billion in 2020, according to Gartner. Multi-cloud will likely become the dominant cloud infrastructure model, with IDC estimating over 90% of global enterprises will rely on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds, and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs by 2022.

Who is the multi-cloud leader?

Multi-cloud refers to the practice of using services from multiple heterogeneous cloud service providers, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform, or Microsoft Azure, as well as specialized platform-as-a-service (PaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), or software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers. Multicloud also comprises the use of private cloud environments and hybrid cloud environments that leverage more than one public cloud platform.

Multi-cloud strategy benefits organizations looking to avoid vendor lock-in (dependency on one provider), increase application reliability, reduce costs, and/or leverage the best services that each cloud provider has to offer. These strategies also benefit cloud providers that compete closely with AWS, like Microsoft Azure (Azure) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

While the most significant impacts of multi-cloud strategies have yet to be seen, the power dynamics between AWS, Azure, and GCP are slowly shifting. According to a report in Medium, “If you would like to go with the safest option, Amazon AWS is the best way to go. If your application utilizes Microsoft products or languages, Azure can help you sustain and take advantage of Microsoft’s ecosystem. GCP stands in a sweet spot and is viable most of the time. Most small, web-based/digitally native companies looking to scale quickly by leveraging AI/ML, data services, would want to take a good look at Google Cloud. As an individual or a company, you need to ensure proper compatibility and testing before moving to a particular cloud service.”

In a nutshell for organizations with an outsized dependency on the Windows ecosystem, leveraging some Microsoft Azure services may be beneficial, while the same organization may use Google Cloud for machine learning and analytics and/or AWS or public-facing web services. Industry cloud service providers, such as Dell Boomi, offer cloud-focused digital transformation and data management services for targeted industries that traditionally face regulatory hurdles to modernization. These hurdles include data storage requirements for regulatory compliance and disaster recovery, or business continuity when integrating with public cloud services.