NOTE: The following content was transcribed and modified from the Thoughts on X podcast embedded above… Click Play if you would like to listen.

Last week, I was at an event in Singapore for Cloud Expo, and I was involved in a couple of panels. During the discussion, the narrative was around multi-cloud, hybrid cloud and how companies today that are adapting to applications that are moving towards modern data platforms, containerized Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, whatever it might be. This poses a challenge for IT organisations to understand which strategy they’re going to undertake.

I’ve always thought that the multi-cloud was a bit of a misnomer

When you look at it, the hybrid cloud is where we’re at today. I think that’s pretty much the place where we have landed. There was a time when everything was going to go public cloud that then lends itself to multi-cloud. But really, what we’re looking at here, is for the hybrid cloud scenario that lends itself to multiple cloud services from different vendors, rather than multiple deployment methods?

So today, when we look at the multi-cloud, how is that defined? Wikipedia says that the multi-cloud is a company’s use of multiple cloud computing and storage services probably should be all from different vendors in a single heterogeneous architecture, to improve cloud infrastructure capabilities and cost introducing that upfront cost into that. So it refers to the distribution of cloud assets, software applications across several cloud hosting environments. And then it goes on to say, with a typical multi cloud architecture utilising two or more public clouds, as well as multiple private clouds, or multi cloud environment aims to eliminate any reliance on a single cloud vendor.

And thus, vendor lock in.

Multiple Cloud Theory

Now, this is where multiple cloud comes into play. Because I would argue, that these cloud platforms absolutely want vendor lock in, they’re not interested in you deploying an application or an organisation deploying an application to a particular service, and then having that application be able to move with ease to a different cloud. Therefore, losing revenue doesn’t make sense. They all want lock in. So the whole notion of multi-cloud is kind of fluid right? Now, hybrid cloud absolutely makes sense. Without question, what are we talking about hybrid cloud, hybrid cloud is about that deployment method, how you consume it.

Today, I would argue that we are actually living in the multiple cloud world.

I’ve got to give credit to Manjusha Gangadharan, who is VP Customer Engagement, Live Cloud from Seagate, who talked about this phrase last week. And I must admit, it’s the first time that I heard it talked about in terms of the multiple cloud. It fits with the narrative that I’ve been talking about, and pushing for the last 10 years. Even when I was working for a service provider, I understood that when we gained a customer, we did not want them to leave. And even having a look at what the big public cloud players like AWS are doing around multi-cloud, that’s changed as well. In fact, the evolution of what is multi-cloud has fundamentally changed. It’s quite apparent that bigger public providers like Amazon, are embracing hybrid cloud over multi-cloud. So that is because they want to avoid people moving applications, like I mentioned before. So the whole notion of what multi-cloud was that application being portable, moving from one cloud to the other, that is not the reality that we’re seeing today.

Organisations need to leverage the reality of what multiple cloud is…The ability to leverage particular silos of cloud infrastructure services and platforms to host and deploy applications, consume it in a cloudy way. And understand that multi-cloud is not really what we’re after in a hybrid cloud world. With multiple cloud theory, it really actually ends up being about the set of proprietary services that you’re building applications on rather than where it’s running.

So there it is, Multiple Cloud Theory (MTS) and how that is dominating the landscape today.