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Polynimbus is the future of the cloud

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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The Polynimbus Cloud Enterprise

Many organizations are finding that they are integrating solutions across multiple cloud providers these days. Many complete systems are contained within a single cloud provider, but many different systems may be spread across  multiple cloud providers. We’re starting to enter a world of the Polynimbus Enterprise; an enterprise that uses 2 or more cloud platform providers.

What is a Polynimbus Enterprise?

Put simply, a Polynimbus Enterprise is an Enterprise that utilizes services from multiple cloud providers. Perhaps some applications are in Microsoft Azure, some in Amazon AWS, and possibly some are even in the Google Cloud. Poly-nimbus means “Many Cloud”.

Poly-nimbus Enterprise: An enterprise that utilizes multiple cloud providers

Many enterprises today are finding they are managing multiple software systems and/or databases hosted in different cloud providers. Maybe they started using Amazon AWS a couple years ago, but today find that certain parts of their business or IT team are hosting some applications in Microsoft Azure as well. This is very similar to the fact that many organizations have both Linux and Windows servers.

Polynimus and using multiple cloud providers is all about using the right tool for the job. Just as a certain programming language or development platform / tool is better for certain scenarios, a specific cloud may also be “just right” in certain cases as well.

Why Polynimbus?

There are many reasons to use multiple Cloud Providers, although in a perfect world you would only need 1 and possibly you can achieve this within your organization. However, many organizations are finding they are utilizing multiple cloud providers for a various of reasons. These reasons span from personal preference, to Manager oversight, to cost, and many others.

Here’s a few reasons why an organization may find themselves in a situation where they have applications spread across multiple cloud providers:

  • Talent Pool – Depending on who you’re able to hire you may find new hires know one cloud provider better than another, and possibly even a different cloud provider than your existing team. To reduce cost of training and get applications shipped to help the business or customer you may need to just accept a change in tooling to get the job done efficiently.
  • Legacy – You may be attempting to utilize a certain cloud provider more than another, but possibly you have Production systems that just can’t be moved from where they are. Many companies found this to be true when first moving to the cloud, and many are finding this true as they further embrace the cloud future.
  • Cost – Depending on your situation, you may find it cheaper to host and run a certain system in one cloud provider over another. This could possibly mean a shift from one preferred cloud provider to another.
  • Diversity / Avoid Cloud Lock-in – Some management teams or even entire organizations are finding it difficult to think about being locked into single cloud provider. As a result they are forcing their systems to be spread across different providers.
  • Contractors / Consultants – Perhaps a consulting firm or team of contractors is building applications and putting them in a different cloud provider. Whether you’re aware from day one, or find out once the product is delivered, you might find yourself at the end of the day supporting systems hosted within multiple cloud providers.

As you can see, these are some very compelling reasons why an enterprise would become Polynimbus. In fact, these are the same reason why organizations and teams choose to end up using and supporting applications using many different technologies over time. It’s just something that’s inevitable in the IT field, and the Cloud is no different as we are finding out.

Polynimbus Considerations

As an enterprise / organization or IT team is finding themselves adopting multiple clouds, there are a number of considerations to think about or at least be aware of. Here’s a short list of some of these considerations:

  • One App, One Cloud – It’s best not to spread different components of the same application across multiple cloud providers. This can lead to increased network latency for API and database calls, as well as incur an increase in Ingress and/or Egress charges when transferring data in and out of the cloud data centers.
  • Global Availability – It’s possible by leverage multiple cloud providers that you could achieve a greater level of global availability of your application for your users. Perhaps by distributing the load across multiple instances in multiple clouds you could better place instance endpoints closer to your end users.
  • Training – By managing systems spread across multiple cloud providers there is most likely going to be an increase in the training costs for your IT team. After all, many of them will need to know enough and be familiar enough with each cloud provider to be able to jump over and help out with updates and maintenance of various enterprise systems that may be running on different cloud providers.
  • Lock-in – By spreading applications and system across cloud providers, you are making it easier to migrate over and away from one cloud provider over another. Likewise, you are also making it much more costly to operate than if you had just chosen and stuck with a single cloud provider as a standard for your organization.
  • Flexibility – By forcing your organization or IT team to support applications across multiple cloud providers you ensuring a greater level of flexibility on your team to be able to update, maintain, or build a green fields application on either of the cloud providers you are currently supporting / using.
  • Hiring – While utilizing multiple cloud providers will likely open up the prospective employee pool, it will also make it tricky to hire talented people who know exactly what your organization needs. It’s difficult to find the perfect candidate in general, but the more technical skills you add to the “helpful” section of the job listings, the more difficult you may find it to hire the right people. You may end up listing multiple job postings for the same job but list one for each cloud provider you are using just to hopefully find a candidate that knows one of the cloud providers you need expertise in.
  • Migration – Just as going all in on a single cloud provider may prevent you from migrating to another, if you have applications spread across multiple cloud providers, you may still find things just as difficult if you find your team in a position that requires an application to me migrated from one cloud provider to another.

The above list is not all inclusive and there are likely a few more considerations to keep in mind. Don’t be afraid to go Polynimbus and use the right tool for the job!