There’s so much competition in the cloud computing space. According to Forbes, the Cloud Providers at the top in the current “Cloud War” are Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM, followed by many other players in the industry. This battle is made up of these major corporations spending Billion or Trillions of dollars investing in cloud innovation and advancement. While each of these companies would like to be the victor and win the “Cloud War”; it’s probably best for everyone that there is no clear “winner” in the end.

Polynimbus Strategy

Polynimbus is the term used to refer to the strategy of an organization utilizing multiple Cloud Providers. Polynimbus is also referred to as “Multi-Cloud”. This enables organizations to utilize the best features and pricing of each cloud provider for different solutions where they fit the solutions, data, and workload best. This is an extremely common pattern in use by all major corporations as they migrate to the Cloud to replace their on-premises datacenters.

Polynimbus Cloud Strategy: A cloud computing strategy that involves multiple Cloud Providers / Vendors.

Polynimbus is not just a great strategy to gain the benefits and features of multiple Cloud Providers within a single organization, but it’s something that benefits the technology industry in many other ways too.

Benefits of Polynimbus for the Enterprise

There are a number of benefits that a Polynimbus cloud strategy brings. These benefits range from effecting a single organization, all the way to effecting the entire Internet.

Here’s a list of the most notable benefits that a Polynimbus strategy brings to an individual organizations overall cloud strategy:

  • Time to Market – Services and Feature comparison and trade-offs are able to be made to choose the best cloud provider for deploying, hosting, and managing solutions in regards to cloud capabilities, and Developer/IT Pro ramp up curve and time to market.
  • Cost Optimization – Cost comparisons and trade-offs are able to be made to choose the best cloud provider for deploying, hosting, and managing solutions in regards to hosting cost and budgets.
  • Integration Between Clouds – While most applications and systems will be most appropriately hosted utilizing a single Cloud Provider for that single system, there are times where it may be appropriate to utilize services and features across multiple clouds to best build, deploy, and manage that single system.

The above benefits of Polynimbus may sound a bit simple, but they are pretty broad reaching in their effect on an organization. The benefits factor into some major implications to the future of the solutions hosted, as well as the overall cloud strategy an organization is adopting.

Benefits of Polynimbus for the World

The overall Internet and technology industry benefits of Polynimbus Here’s a list of the most notable benefits that a Polynimbus strategy brings to the Internet, the overall technology industry, and beyond:

  • Decentralized / Distribution of Control –  While each Cloud Provider does implement multiple data centers that are geo-distributed around the world, they are still owned an operated by that single corporation that controls that particular Cloud Provider platform and ecosystem. The best design the Internet has come up with is to build the DNS system as a distributed system spread all across the world. This same strategy is probably best for Cloud Computing as well, so that no single entity is in control of the entire Cloud. This is one benefit that comes from the competitive nature of the current state of the cloud.
  • Competition – Just all other industries benefit from competition, the technology industry benefits too. Having multiple players in the Cloud Provider space increases the amount of competition between players. With this increased competition comes an increase the the variety and push for innovation across the different Cloud Computing platforms being offered. If you look at the history between Microsoft and Amazon (for example) you’ll see they’ve been leap frogging each other on Cloud features and capabilities over the years. This offers great variety and innovation for all companies to take advantage of regardless of the Cloud Provider they’re using.

A Polynimbus Future

Just about every organization adopting the Cloud, as well as migrating their on-premises or co-lo hosted data centers to the Cloud, are adopting a Polynimbus Strategy involving multiple Cloud Providers. They might only be adoption a single Cloud Provider, such as Microsoft Azure, at first. However, down the line the pattern in the industry is showing that corporations are adopting multiple Cloud Providers.

Just about every organization adopting the Cloud, as well as migrating their on-premises or co-lo hosted data centers to the Cloud, are adopting a Polynimbus Strategy involving multiple Cloud Providers.

One such example of a major corporation utilizing a Polynimbus Strategy is that of Apple. For a long time Apple was utilizing both Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure to host the backend of its iCloud service. More recently, there’s been indication that Apple may not be using Microsoft Azure anymore, as they may have migrated to using a combination of Amazon AWS and Google Cloud instead.

It can be extremely beneficial to utilize a Polynimbus Strategy, as well as a Hybrid-Cloud Strategy that still make use of the on-premises data center investments where they make sense. Going all in on any specific technology or platform is generally not the best approach to building out any solution. It’s best to choose the right tool for the job at hand, and to utilize multiple tools to truly customize the solution to fit the need and requirements in the best possible way.

It can be extremely beneficial to utilize a Polynimbus Strategy, as well as a Hybrid-Cloud Strategy that still make use of the on-premises data center investments where they make sense.

If you have any suggestions on designing a Polynimbus Strategy, Hybrid-Cloud Strategy, or Both, please post them in the comments. I’m sure everyone joins me in their eagerness to hear the communities suggestions on what to keep in mind when designing your organizations Polynimbus and Hybrid Cloud strategies.

History Fact: The term “Polynimbus” used to refer to a “Multi-Cloud” strategy of adopting multiple cloud providers / vendors was first coined by John Adams in 2016 while he was working as a Senior Cloud Solutions Architect at Opsgility.

 

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Posted by Chris Pietschmann

Chris is a Microsoft MVP and has nearly 20 years of experience building enterprise systems both in the cloud and on-premises. He is also a Certified Microsoft Azure Solutions Architect (both MCSD and MCSE), a Microsoft Certified Trainer, and self proclaimed Cloud Advocate. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.

2 Comments

  1. It’s just easier to stick with one vendor, but Chris is right about better not having all eggs in the same basket. Also, sometimes it may not be bad idea to keep some stuff on premises.

    Reply

  2. Getting separate cloud providers to work seamlessly together can be a bit of a pain from an operations perspective. My suggestion is to keep all the components of a given cloud application within the same cloud. For example, you could have a search engine in AWS that uses Elasticsearch, Lambda, and API Gateway but the web app that consumes that API could be hosted on Azure using AKS, CosmosDb, or whatever else it needs. This type of approach yields the benefits listed above without the potential problems of hopping from one cloud provider to the other within a single cloud application.

    Reply

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