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George Ralph, RFA

Is multi-cloud the cloud of the future?


By George Ralph (pictured), RFA Financial Cloud and Technology Services – In RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report, of 1002 respondents from companies of all sizes, primarily located in the US, UK and Europe, 95 per cent of respondents were using the cloud in some way during 2017. Of these, 89 per cent are using public clouds (22 per cent exclusively), 72 per cent are using private clouds (only 5 per cent exclusively) and 67 per cent are using a hybrid of the two.

Private cloud use is down from 77 per cent last year, and public cloud use has stayed the same at 89 per cent. It’s a complex picture, as Microsoft and 451 Research suggest that nearly a third of organisations work with four or more cloud vendors. What I am sure will happen next is that organisations will utilise even more cloud services, moving more applications to the cloud, and trying different combinations of cloud services, to meet their specific business needs. Using cloud services is no longer innovative, or unusual, it has become business as usual.

Whilst private clouds are still a popular choice for some firms, many firms have changed their priorities for the coming year with more in favour of leveraging hybrid cloud services in the coming year. Those saying they intend to build a private cloud, has dropped to 9 per cent from 23 per cent the year before. 

These results are interesting for a number of reasons, mainly because they indicate a positive shift in attitudes towards the use of public clouds, and indicate to me a dawning realisation that public cloud services can offer high levels of data protection, scalability, availability and security. In fact Gartner predict that enterprise grade cloud services will be so secure that through 2020, 95 per cent of cloud security failures will be the customers’ fault.

There are still some myths to dispel around the use of public cloud services, and many firms mistakenly believe that by moving to public cloud services they will save money. This is not guaranteed and should not be the only reason for a firm to move services to the public cloud. If a move to public cloud services will help a firm to take advantage of its burstable nature and heavy processing power, then they would be great reasons to consider it. Likewise for start-ups, the public cloud can offer a low cost of entry and some powerful services.

RFA saw that this shift in public perception and growing confidence in the cloud sector was happening, and have taken the best bits of both services; the size, might and scalability of the public cloud, and the flexibility, custom nature and hyper-security of the private cloud and put these together. The resulting service seamlessly presents a hybrid cloud offering together, and wraps enterprise grade security and a feature rich interface around the whole thing. It’s a fantastic way of getting the best of both worlds.

In the UK and Europe firms are very aware of the looming GDPR and MiFID II regulations, amongst others, and will need to ensure that their cloud services, whether public, private or both, can ensure compliance. This could mean housing all European data on a cloud in Europe, with no chance that the data will travel outside of the region. This is where a specialist wrap around hybrid cloud services can come into its own, ensuring transparency and reporting on the information that a regulator will need.

Hybrid clouds can also spread the risk. By sharing out applications and data across multiple cloud services and providers, organisations are not putting all their eggs in one basket.

Gartner believes that the multi-cloud market will be worth USD240 billion next year. The future isn’t cloud, it’s multi cloud!


George Ralph CITP, has successfully founded three technology firms and provides C-level advisory services to numerous firms. George is a true leader and has been managing IT teams and leading technology transformation projects for over 20 years. He has extensive technical experience in network and server architecture, large scale migrations utilising leading technology brands, and IaaS offerings.


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