Community Blog A Guide to Overcoming Multi-Cloud Adoption Challenges – Part 1

A Guide to Overcoming Multi-Cloud Adoption Challenges – Part 1

Part 1 of this 2-part article series discusses how multi-cloud adoption can lead to challenges within different teams.

By Shantanu Kaushik

Enterprises are investing in upgrading and adopting cloud computing rapidly. Organizations are adopting the cloud model to balance their workloads, irrespective of the volume they generate. Alibaba Cloud helps organizations manage their expenses effectively by providing managed services or helping build better business productivity applications.


According to a recent report by Flexera,

"12% of enterprises said their annual spending exceeded $12 million, and 74% reported their annual cloud spending exceeds $1.2 million. These figures represent a large increase over last year where 13% of enterprises reported annual spending of more than $12 million, and 50% reported yearly spending of more than $1.2 million."

Initially, cloud adoption was about building cloud applications and managing businesses with remote resources requiring low maintenance and expenses from the customer or enterprise. It is 2021, and the culture has shifted drastically. The new cloud model is about adopting cloud services for more secure business practices and effective strategies to adopt multi-cloud.

Alibaba Cloud has worked relentlessly over the past decade to make its mark in the cloud industry. They have come up with a fine-grained security solution, big data analysis, machine learning, and AI-based solutions to provide a compelling infrastructure for multi-cloud adoption.

SECURITY Cloud provider Security Services

API Gateway-based service inclusion

DDoS protection

Web Application Firewalls

Disaster Recovery and Management
Multiple Provider Sourced Security Services

API Inclusion and IDaaS (Identity as a Service)

DDoS Protection

Firewalls at each end-point

Less Prone to Failure – Distributed across Clouds
COMPUTING Elastic Computing Multiple Elastic Computing services based on multiple providers
RESOURCES Elastic Resources

Single Point Load Balancing
Elastic Resources – More Resourceful

Multi-Point Load Balancing

The cloud is known for its heterogeneous infrastructure, elastic resource orchestration, security, and impeccable network solutions linking across regions. The cloud infrastructure has evolved from a single cloud, to hybrid cloud, and now is rapidly evolving towards multi-cloud.

According to a recent report by Flexera, there is an increase in multi-cloud adoption,

"Enterprises have almost embraced multi-cloud entirely. 93% percent of respondents reported having a multi-cloud strategy. 87% are taking a hybrid approach, combining public and private clouds."

What Is the Multi-Cloud Challenge?

The first and most notable challenge for a multi-cloud setup is integrating solutions for development, operations, security, and networking across different clouds.

Multi-cloud could involve a variety of combinations like public-public, public-private, and so on. A seamless transition of service structure with a bit of hybridization and standardization is the second challenge of multi-cloud architecture.

Operational Challenges

Traditionally, the data center supports finite resources. You have a limited set of resources to leverage for your solution. Any demand for an increase in resources directly constitutes additional physical server resources, increasing the overall operations cost. Then, these resources are manually provisioned by the operators to allow an increase in computing capacity for Development, Testing, and Security Teams to deploy their respective applications.

However, working with the cloud infrastructure, you get to leverage near-infinite resources. ECS instances can be provisioned on the fly. Alibaba Cloud Server Load Balancer (SLB) can balance the traffic influx efficiently. Auto Scaling can provide resource balance to maintain perfect harmony for the applications to maintain availability. A multi-cloud setup has an array of available resources. These resources can be provisioned and implemented to maintain different parts of a system, taking distributed computing to the heights of hyper-distribution.

While this heterogeneity accounts for the richness of operations with a cloud setup, there are certain complexities that we shouldn't overlook when involving a multi-cloud setup:

Infrastructure Challenge – Hyper-Distribution

The cloud has a dynamic and highly scalable infrastructure that can be provisioned on the fly and on-demand. A multi-cloud setup presents a challenge for the Operations Team to assign workload ownership over these hyper-distributed multi-cloud infrastructures. On top of that, the Operations Team has to define infrastructure configurations for on-demand scaling to work across multiple clouds. These configurations are a must-have for all the Operations Teams and the Development Team.

Alibaba Cloud Infrastructure as Code (IAC) promotes reusability. Implementation within a multi-cloud setup for large-scale organizations leads to superior heterogeneity. Data management, geo-redundancy, and application-centric resource implementation should be kept in mind while implementing a multi-cloud setup.

Each cloud infrastructure provider works with a different resource provisioning scenario. The Operations Team needs to work through the challenge of putting up a strategy for seamless provisioning across multiple clouds to maintain an efficient workflow. Within a dynamic environment that demands resource provisioning depending on the provided-requirement, the solution is to regulate and standardize the infrastructure provision across clouds to maintain efficiency and availability.

Automation could take away most of the woes. You can implement infrastructure provisioning based on the varied usage of multi-cloud and pre-determined sub-sets to handle multiple scenarios. Here, data analytics could be the key. Predicting infrastructure behavior based on patterns and data extracted using big data tools, such as DataWorks, which work hand-in-hand with AI-based techniques, can help you implement a predictive algorithm to regulate and maintain unhinged functionality.

In the next part of this 2-part series, we will discuss the challenges faced by Development, Networking, and Security Teams.

Wrapping Up

Adopting a multi-cloud setup has significant challenges to every aspect of maintaining a continuous delivery channel for applications and a smooth workload distribution scenario for all other non-IT aspects related to organizational flow.

Infrastructure is a part of the backend. The frontend of any business is mostly comprised of business values that the infrastructure helps maintain. Infrastructure transitions are never easy and have challenges, but you need to remember that change is the only constant that drives evolution.

Organizations can address these challenges related to multi-cloud adoption by working to develop a culture like DevOps. Use proper tools to maintain a consistent workflow that utilizes the infrastructure stack to the fullest.

Upcoming Articles

  1. A Guide to Overcoming Multi-Cloud Adoption Challenges – Part 2
  2. Perfect Resource Orchestration and Deployments with Alibaba Cloud ROS
  3. Leap Ahead with Alibaba Cloud Machine Learning Platform for AI
  4. Resource Scaling with Alibaba Cloud Auto Scaling
  5. Server Load Balancer – Dependable Tools
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