The very word “cloud” itself evokes the image of fluffy, floating cotton, an immaterial substance drifting unrestricted across the sky. However, this couldn’t be further from the reality. Nowadays, before you start any kind of IT project, you need to be aware of the many, very tangible, constraints of the cloud.
- Reversibility – the ability to change cloud providers without facing any additional costs or data loss. When it is integrated from the start as a determining factor of a project, reversibility guarantees technological and financial autonomy for your organization. It has become a prerequisite for an organization’s sovereignty as it enables free migration from one Cloud Services Provider (CSP) – that might fall within extraterritorial jurisdictions – to a European alternative. This way, reversibility can protect a company from the CLOUD Act, which allows the American government to access data stored by American CSPs, even when they are located in Europe. It is important to make sure that your CSP uses standard open-source bricks. This guarantees the compatibility of their systems with other providers’, as well as the absence of egress fees (see “Interoperability” below). Indeed, reversibility can be compromised when data portability – although possible technically speaking – is made prohibitively expensive by artificially high egress fees. This is even worse in the case of young companies which were offered practically unlimited access to free cloud credits by the bigger players on the market, and have become technologically dependent on them, without even knowing it.
- Interoperability – the guarantee that your data or cloud architecture are compatible with other environments on the market. Interoperability means you can replicate or redeploy equally functional services with other cloud providers. When interoperability is integrated from the start, it helps define the architecture you need and makes it easier to migrate, avoiding finding yourself locked-in with a single CSP. Therefore, cloud providers who share this mindset will not charge you for most of the outbound bandwidth you use or apply egress fees should you want to migrate some or all of your services.
- The multi cloud – i.e. storing your data with multiple providers at the same time. You can then drive this configuration with the console of one of your CSPs if this is part of their offer. The multi cloud is the ideal solution for every organization to leverage the best of each world (cloud, public, or on-premise) while avoiding dependence on a single provider. In order to build a dynamic and resilient IT environment, you should first map which of your critical services are associated with open and agnostic cloud players.
Finally, we need to ask ourselves why we should adopt this new way of thinking about IT. There are many reasons:
- Sovereignty. As explained above, sovereignty guarantees that a user’s or company’s data are only subject to European legislation. Additionally, it’s a way to support European innovation. Food and fashion are not the only things you can purchase locally! Nowadays, data sovereignty is becoming more and more important. A study by IDC shows that 80% of European companies are now committed to maintaining data sovereignty across several regions. Sovereignty has become a key deciding factor, which directs the choices of IT users on a daily basis, and helps companies free themselves from financial, technological, and geopolitical dependence.
- Security. During increasingly uncertain times, IT strategies need to be prepared for any eventuality. Choosing a European cloud provider with control over the whole value chain (from the code solutions are built with to the servers that host data, to the data centers these servers run in) means guaranteeing an unprecedented level of security. Should extra-European forces decide, for instance, to sever the internet cables that lie at the bottom of the oceans, or even to concentrate their services on their own country at the expense of Europe, a European cloud provider would still be able to continue running its services autonomously, and so would its clients.
- Internationalization. As more and more organizations are looking to defend the sovereignty of their data, an equally increasing number of non-European companies are implementing new requirements that the data concerning their activities in Europe stay in Europe. The multi cloud makes it possible to have several CSPs per region to meet latency requirements. Indeed, in order to benefit from the fastest, most reactive service possible, it is best to host your data in a local data center.
- Sustainability. The multi cloud enables companies to entrust part or all of their data to stakeholders that are more committed to sustainability than the industry’s biggest players. The cloud’s carbon footprint remains a cause of concern among its users which is why, when choosing a provider, it is crucial to check that their PUE (Power Usage Efficiency) and WUE (Water Usage Efficiency) are as low as possible. A low score means that the CSP is consuming as little natural resources as possible. Another plus to look for is the use of renewable energy, and whether a provider reuses their servers.
- Innovation. By using several cloud providers, you can leverage all of their latest innovations. CSPs need to keep developing the best technological solutions possible using open-source services in order to offer the most efficient, dynamic cloud services, in an environment in constant evolution.
By choosing a flexible cloud, you will future-proof your company. Your infrastructure will be able to scale according to your needs, and will stay resilient and secure. You will also avoid lock-in with providers that don’t meet all your needs and that will make you pay should you choose to migrate elsewhere. So, that’s food for thought!
This is the latest in a series of posts detailing the 10 cloud trends set to mark 2022, based on this initial post.