written by
Sudesh Girdhari

A month of answers 20 multi-cloud computing discussions summarized | A review of cross-cloud & cloud-native solutions.

Digital Transformation 5 min read
During November and December 2022, I conducted more than 20 conversations with organizations searching for cloud-native solution professionals. This article presents the initial findings from these discussions.

Part 2 is now available here | Uncovering the Benefits of Cloud-Native Projects for Cross-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Deployments

Shout out to the Lumen Team of leaders who helped jump-start my cloud native path!

I summarize this article as "Cloud computing has been a disruptive force in the IT world, making it hard for users to keep up with the changes. To help, vendors are offering platforms and tools to manage hybrid and multi-cloud environments powered by Kubernetes.

Traditional Hyperscale conversations: The Microsoft, AWS, and Google Cloud compute teams are still on the innovation bandwagon but are taking different approaches.

Is Amazon Web Services' hardware-led strategy enough to maintain its lead in the cloud computing market?

As the cloud computing market grows, Amazon Web Services (AWS) relies on a hardware-led strategy to remain the leader. AWS has invested heavily in microchips, wireless capabilities, and other hardware to differentiate itself from its competitors. Through its low-cost, energy-efficient Graviton ARM chips, security-focused Nitro System, and machine learning chips such as Inferentia and Trainium, AWS has maintained its market share. During my conversations, teams are excited about AWS for innovation, consistent delivery at scale, and sustained engagement in meeting challenges with its hybrid solutions. However, as customers seek more standardization around open-source, cloud-native technologies, AWS faces a challenge. My question is does AWS want to adapt to this trend? With competitors rolling out similar or more vital services, AWS’s reliance on hardware may not be enough to keep them ahead.

It's a battlefield out there!
My December 2022 discussions reveal that while AWS has remained the leader in the cloud computing market through its hardware investments, the future of its leadership is uncertain as customers continue to demand more cost reduction and open-source software.

Microsoft has long been a significant player in enterprise IT, and now the company is flexing its muscle in the cloud-native, security, and data spaces. While the traditional Windows-server-based approach to enterprise IT has been left behind, Microsoft has pushed to match the market leader in service by service and then some. My discussion suggests that those efforts have been paying off.

The software giant has put forth a product vision and execution roadmap that focuses heavily on applications, hosting them on the cloud. Microsoft has leveraged its relationships with private and public sector customers to roll out cloud transformations worldwide, mainly focusing on North America and Europe. Microsoft is also competing in the hybrid and multi-cloud spaces with platform management tools and capabilities such as Azure | Arc, Monitor, Advisor, and Kubernetes Service.

Attending Microsofts Sales Kick-Off, fun times!
My December 2022 discussions reveal Microsoft's services have been positive, with those adopting praising improvements and partnerships. However, a lack of visibility into Azure's capabilities has been noted. It's clear that Microsoft is a good fit for customers seeking highly integrated enterprise IT infrastructure.

Teams I spoke with are excited about Google for its contributions to open-source Kubernetes technology, allowing for the proliferation of cloud-native computing. But the company is also notorious for its lack of differentiation compared to rivals. Recent reports suggest that Google has improved its cloud migration offerings and offers prebuilt and low-code solutions. But questions linger over the company's Anthos platform and Distributed Cloud, as well as their wireless offerings.

Discussions concerning Google's enterprise strategy have uncovered that the company tolerates significant quarterly operating losses to sustain growth and win market share. This has led to high-profile partnerships and resulted in an unclear message on the company's services. Many customers have praised Google for its commitment to co-innovation and AI/ML services but have also expressed confusion about optimizing such offerings.

Google's data insights and analytics have also been highlighted, with Vertex AI offering a focal point for services. The BigQuery serverless analytics offering and business intelligence tools have laid the basis for AI and ML-based innovation and storage and network capabilities.

At the end of the day, Google is a good fit for customers that prioritize data insights/analytics, AI, scale.

After these discussions, I was left to decide how I should structure my thoughts for the following. I chose the topics below; stay tuned as I explore the space.

Cloud Native Portability | Now available here | Uncovering the Benefits of Cloud-Native Projects for Cross-Cloud and Multi-Cloud Deployments

Cloud portability has long been a challenging goal for enterprises. Still, the demand for on-demand innovation services has led many companies, such as Twitch and Ford, to opt for locked-in partnerships with cloud platforms instead of attempting to develop portable solutions. However, in the last decade, there has been a push for cloud-neutral app and development ecosystems to simplify single-cloud vendor innovation without locking users in.

Cloud-native projects |

Usher in new possibilities, particularly with the increased risk of single-supplier dependence due to the pandemic and geopolitical tensions. Enterprises are taking a multi-cloud approach to supplier risk management and workload optimization, leveraging open-source communities like the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and learning Kubernetes. The US DoD's new JWCC is an example of a multi-cloud, Kubernetes-based system. Emerging cloud-neutral app and development ecosystems such as OVH and Google provide further opportunities.

The inability to standardize on the same APIs |

Cloud portability promises easy migration across public cloud providers but shortens accurate continuity and real-time recovery. Vendors have developed "cloud-on-premise" solutions to bridge the gap, including AWS Outposts, Azure Arc, Google Anthos, IBM Satellite, and VMware VXRAIL with HCX. These solutions are becoming more cost-effective and easier to use, making them an attractive option for many workloads and platform-focused teams.

Cloud providers are increasingly aggressive in their tactics to move enterprises up to the PaaS layer, where margins are higher and data is more challenging to extract. My discussion reveals more aggressive behavior as cloud providers use adoption tactics including; software licensing and highly committed spending levels (discount plans), to win more markets. In response, enterprises try to diversify their cloud suppliers, but the complexity and overhead often result in increased TCO. Open source communities are driving much cross-cloud movement, with industry requirements pushing major public cloud vendors to comply.

Solutions must focus on workload-specific software portability architectures to achieve true portability and address data and network movement limitations. With these changes, customers can move solutions without significant pain, dynamically balancing cost and flexibility.

I work helping customers find solutions for complex business & technology challenges. I focus on the People, Processes, and Software that create business value. Please feel free to contact me if you want to learn more. Be Well - Sudesh

Questions? Find me [email protected] or click to connect on Linkedin

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