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Multicloud Storage

Multicloud Architecture: Partitioned, Cloud Burst and DR

Embracing multicloud storage is an increasingly common strategy, which allows organizations to get more out of cloud infrastructure by combining several clouds. While many cloud projects concentrate on the architecture of solutions within each cloud, it is important to plan for the macro: the right multicloud architecture can help you achieve your business goals, which can include improved scalability, high availability or cost savings.

In this post, we’ll introduce multicloud patterns including partitioned multicloud, cloud bursting multicloud and business continuity multicloud, and show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help by adding multicloud storage  to any of the above architectures.

In this article, you will learn:

What Is Multicloud?

Multicloud is a strategy that employs cloud services from multiple providers. It can include software, platform, or infrastructure as a service (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) offerings. For example, you can use storage from one provider, databases from another provider, and application hosting from a third.

Multicloud strategies enable you to deploy a multicloud architecture environment based on your specific needs and budget. It enables you to select services that best match the requirements of your workloads and applications, avoid cloud lock-in and single points of failure.

Multi Cloud Architecture Patterns

There are several multicloud architecture patterns you can choose from. The most common are covered below.

Partitioned multicloud
A partitioned multicloud strategy enables you to distribute applications and services across providers. This allows you to select providers based on optimal fit with your application needs. It also enables you to segregate critical services for improved security, for example when a specific cloud vendor supports additional compliance standards or offers cloud services in a required physical location. 

With this strategy, you can shift workloads as needed, maintaining portability. This typically involves deploying applications in containers, which enable you to abstract away differences between provider infrastructures.

Advantages of partition strategies:

  • Avoid cloud lock-in, lower strategic risk, and easily change services or providers as needed.
  • Dynamically shift workloads according to traffic, environment, or budget needs.

Cloud bursting multicloud
Many organizations have workloads that fluctuate according to user demand or time of day/month/year. For example, organizations that provide tax guidance. Alternatively, organizations may periodically process large batches of data. These organizations do not need expanded services at all times but can benefit from temporary resource boosts. These boosts can be achieved with cloud bursting.

Traditionally, cloud bursting enabled organizations to use the public cloud to extend capacity during peaks in demand. In a multi-cloud model, cloud bursting is used when one cloud offers different high performance options or lower volume pricing, making it a better candidate for running peak loads.

Advantages of cloud bursting strategies:

  • Extend the functionality of existing resources. This can help you pay down technical debt and minimize overall costs.
  • Avoid overprovisioning and maximize resource use at all times.
  • Run batch jobs or special workloads faster without concern for slowed performance.

Business continuity multicloud
Business continuity strategies help you ensure that your mission-critical systems remain available and resilient. These strategies work by replicating data across multiple data centers or regions. This enables you to avoid single points of failure and ensures that disaster recovery or backup copies of your data are always available. 

Public cloud providers already replicate data across regions or servers for business continuity purposes. However, this may not be enough for some organizations. In these cases, multicloud strategies can be a solution. These strategies further remove the risk of outage and typically enable failover to alternate services. This protects you should a provider experience a network-wide outage or attack.

Advantages of business continuity strategies:

  • Replicate data to any covered region with fewer restrictions.
  • Distribute workloads for minimal downtime in case of disaster.

Multicloud Architectures Considerations

When creating a multicloud architecture, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind.

Visibility and configuration
Multicloud strategies can be difficult to monitor. Cloud providers often have their own management and monitoring systems. These systems may have widely different configurations and recommended settings.

You need to find tools that can aggregate cloud data across your services. This can help you ensure that your configurations are consistent. Additionally, whatever tools you use should enable you to correlate data across services. This helps you ensure that performance is consistent and can help you identify and address bottlenecks.

Migration to multicloud strategies requires you to carefully assess the various services available to you. Since you are incorporating services from multiple clouds, you have more options and benefits to choose from. Unfortunately, this means you also have more complexity and costs to weigh.

Scalability is one of the main advantages of cloud services. When you are using services from a single cloud, scaling is relatively easy to manage. However, when workloads are distributed, you need to determine the priority of scaling across services. You also need to configure scalability in each service you’re using.

While you can configure services individually, this can become a management nightmare. An alternative solution is to use a universal control plane that includes features for auto scaling and load balancing across cloud services. Service meshes and multi cloud Kubernetes are one popular way to achieve this control.

Like with configuration and monitoring, security in a multicloud strategy is more complex than a single cloud system. Your various services may have different shared security responsibility guidelines and best practices. Additionally, the more complex your system grows, the harder it is to ensure visibility and prevent misconfiguration.

To ensure that your security is sufficient, you need to verify that you fully understand the security services that each service provides. You also need to verify that access controls are uniform across systems and that all connections are secure.

As your data and workloads are distributed across services, compliance can become more challenging. To ensure that you are meeting compliance, you need to understand how each service you’re using meets or fails to comply to regulatory requirements.

Understanding compliance measures can help you determine which services you can use for which workloads and which you need to avoid. For example, if you are collecting personal health information, you may need to restrict data to a single cloud service in your region.

Multicloud Storage with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides Cloud Manager, a UI and APIs for management, automation and orchestration, supporting hybrid & multi-cloud architectures.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager