Cloud used to be so simple. You either had a public cloud (shared across multiple customers) or a private cloud (dedicated to a single customer). Organisations that split their environment across public cloud and private cloud, had a hybrid cloud.
But then it became increasingly clear that the world was much more complicated than that. Cloud spans Infrastructure (IaaS), Platform (PaaS) and Software (SaaS) – so it’s inevitable that an organisation would need more than just one cloud, they need many clouds; Office 365, ServiceNow, AWS, UKCloud, etc – and hence multi-cloud is clearly the reality.
So, what’s with this new term, coined by analysts such as Gartner, ‘Distributed Cloud’? Is this a threat to multi-cloud as the model cloud strategy?
In short, no! We live in a world of many clouds and that is not going to change. What is changing is the blurring of the established public cloud and private cloud boundaries – which is what ‘distributed cloud’ speaks to.
Distributed cloud, or more specifically distributed public cloud, recognises that the global public cloud platforms are increasingly becoming decentralised. Rather than running all your public cloud workloads in the hyperscaler’s datacentre – you will be able to run them in your own facilities, possibly on your own infrastructure. Microsoft was first to signal this with Azure Stack and more recently with their announcement about Azure Arc. Google has been on a similar journey with Anthos, as has AWS with Outposts.
Gartner predicts distributed cloud will be one of the top 10 technology trends in 2020. We don’t disagree. We’ve long believed that organisations demand more choice and flexibility than the one-size-fits-all approach of putting all workloads in a provider’s datacentre. UKCloud introduced this capability two years ago – our customers can have a dedicated private instance of our public cloud platform in Crown Hosting or on-premises, as well as enjoying our public instances in UKCloud’s own government-grade facilities. We’ve long supported Microsoft’s ‘Intelligent Cloud’ vision of running Azure workloads across Microsoft’s own datacentres, UKCloud’s datacentres or customer datacentres. And we chose to build cloud stacks with Oracle, Red Hat and VMware because each has the capability of extending their cloud technology across multiple environments.
So, the fact remains, although distributed cloud is a good thing – organisations will still need more than just one cloud stack, even if they can have multiple deployments of that cloud stack. Hence, distributed cloud is a welcome expansion of the concept of multi-cloud.
While all this is exciting for cloud enthusiasts like us, it does further complicate your potential cloud strategy. Indeed, the continued expansion of cloud options creates an additional cognitive load that risks paralysing organisations in fear of making the wrong choices. But that is where our multi-cloud experts can help. We will help you understand what you have, and which cloud options are right for you. We can help you execute your cloud adoption plan getting you to a place where you have a rich mix of cloud solutions which will certainly be multi-cloud and may well include distributed cloud.