What is Multi-Cloud?

SaaS data in the data cloud featuring Aeriz

Multi-cloud refers to a business that uses cloud computing resources on multiple public clouds such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and private clouds. Almost all large enterprises use multiple public and hybrid cloud providers today.

Why Multi-Cloud?

Below are some of the compelling reasons why multi-cloud is pervasive:

  • Avoiding provider lock-in means businesses do not have to put all their eggs in one basket. Having a backup provider means being able to choose the best value provider and having leverage when negotiating agreements.
  • Being able to choose the best-fit technology for a cloud project. Cloud providers constantly innovate to differentiate their services. Cloud providers compete aggressively to offer the best speed, resiliency, or cost compared to alternatives. A business that builds applications to be portable can select the best-fit cloud service for their specific needs.
  • Getting the best value. A storage-hungry application such as a cloud-based data warehouse may be best provisioned on a cloud provider service with the lowest cost per terabyte. A performance-sensitive transactional application with frequent high user concurrency needs will benefit from the cloud that provisions application server processes fastest.
  • Deployment choice. A highly regulated business needs the ability to run services in States where gambling is legal. For them, being able to select a cloud data center in a particular state is a priority. Such a Business can maximize choice with a multi-cloud strategy. Every additional cloud provider increases deployment flexibility.


There are several challenges associated with a multi-cloud strategy. These can include:

  • Every cloud-provider relationship must be managed, creating an administrative burden for a business.
  • Skills gaps, staff may not be trained or certified on multiple clouds.
  • Managing multiple clouds is more challenging than simply using a single provider. Every provider uses their own terminology and processes. The way services are priced and packaged varies, making direct comparisons difficult.
  • More complexity means more vulnerabilities to manage. Multiple clouds create a larger attack surface to protect from cybersecurity threats. Security policies such as password rules or authentication services can vary between cloud providers leading to inconsistent application of safeguards.
  • Migration between providers can be expensive due to egress charges and API differences so moving to a new provider can incur migration costs.

Strategies for Multi-Cloud Success

A thoughtfully executed multi-cloud strategy can be very beneficial. Below are some tactics that have been successfully used to support a multi-cloud strategy:

  • Use APIs that exist across multiple clouds. ODBC might be the common API for database access that all providers support
  • Use vetted solutions that can transparently plan multiple clouds. For example, the Actian Data Platform can achieve this.
  • Build applications as portable microservices that can be deployed on any cloud that supports Docker or Kubernetes, for example.
  • Use a single orchestration strategy across clouds, so processes are the same wherever a service is deployed.
  • Automate deployments of a standard software stack and infrastructure using applications like Terraform or Ansible, otherwise known as Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to drive consistency and minimize the risk of human error.
  • Use a single management platform that works with multiple cloud platforms.
  • Determine the way you will manage data across clouds to improve data protection and minimize business continuity risk.

Multi-Cloud and Actian

The Actian Data Platform was designed to be multi-cloud from its inception. The Actian Data Platform handles the complexities of multi-cloud by providing the ability to deploy instances from a choice of providers. Data warehouse instances that span multiple clouds can be connected to provide an aggregate view that spans cloud providers. This distributed query view arms an organization with the ability to store its data close to where it is created and the power to perform data analysis wherever the data resides.

Actian Data Platform also supports block storage, streaming and clusters from multiple cloud providers. The data integration capabilities built into the Actian Data Platform work with all the popular data storage structures that customers encounter. These include templates in GitHub for S3 buckets, Google Drive folders and Azure Blob storage. The Actian Data Platform also makes multi-cloud management consistent through a single management console.

Try the capabilities of the Actian Data Platform for yourself at https://www.actian.com/data-platform/