About 10 years ago, when I visited information technology events, there always was some discussion about whether or not companies would be using cloud technologies in the near future. Some years later the discussion was not about whether enterprises would be using cloud technologies, but about whether they would be using private- or public cloud solutions. A little later the talks were about hybrid cloud technologies and about using the right tools for hybrid cloud management and cloud migrations; I wrote a short blog about this very topic some time ago here.
Now at this point in time when almost every company is using cloud technologies, I have seen a new topic arise: The consolidation of multiple clouds.
So why is this topic mentioned so much these days?
According to Martin Creaner, a leading author and strategic thinker in the global telecommunications industry, there are many different aspects that are moving the world of telecoms forward, over the next few years. The future of the telco is going to be a disruptive model and one of the currents moving it forward, will be that of virtualization. Creaner says “I am seeing the rise of what I’m calling the cloud-dependent telco, where pretty much everything to do with the telco is moving into the cloud”.
These changes have been going on for the last years, as several and often different types of clouds were setup for particular tasks, departments, or business models. So for example one cloud infrastructure is set up for handling 4G or 5G data, while another cloud is set up for handling telephone data, while another one is set up for hosting datacenter servers, another cloud is set up for office work and another one is set up for software development and testing, et cetera. Although all these clouds have their own merits, the total overhead led to a trend towards consolidation of clouds.
A drawback of having several different clouds has mainly to do with complexity. You will have to manage and monitor these different technologies, let alone secure and govern it. However advantages are seen in today’s world where disruption comes not just from your competitor with a better technology team but from a technology provider without the domain advantage (think Uber and Airbnb). Rapid innovation is critical to survival. A multi-cloud strategy helps your organization retain the flexibility to innovate at the speed of your business. As a decision maker or stakeholder, it is important that you pick the right set of tools, portable APIs and right application architectures to mitigate these risks and take advantage of a multi-cloud for your innovation needs.
Still what every running cloud infrastructure company should ask themself is: “Is this separate infrastructure interesting for future purposes or should it be consolidated?”. Especially because cloud consolidation is getting much easier and automated these days enterprises can decide faster to take either step: So as William Shakespeare could have had quoted if he had lived approximately 400 years later: ‘To consolidate, or not to consolidate? That is the question’.