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Third-party partners fill gaps in AWS' multi-cloud support

Even if AWS lags behind Microsoft and Google on its public embrace of multi-cloud, there are tools and services available for users who want to go that route.

While AWS hasn't exactly advocated for multi-cloud deployments, customers who want to use a mix of IaaS providers still have some options.

AWS has already changed its hybrid cloud tune and understands that its systems need to work and play well with both private clouds and traditional legacy systems. However, as it once did with hybrid, the vendor hasn't offered much in terms of native multi-cloud support.

It remains to be seen if AWS will continue in this direction, especially if other providers fill the void around enterprises' hybrid and multi-cloud needs. Ultimately, it will depend on how all major cloud vendors evolve to meet expectations and solve enterprise IT challenges.

Multi-cloud landscape

Recent industry surveys showed the majority of cloud users work with multiple cloud vendors and share data from those platforms with their on-premises environment, as well as with other cloud-based services. The potential benefits of this multi-cloud approach include application portability, cost savings and risk mitigation -- if one cloud provider has an outage, an enterprise still has another cloud provider to fall back on.

Microsoft and Google have publicly embraced both hybrid and multi-cloud support. Google, for example, has done a lot around the Istio open source service mesh technology, which supports multi-cloud deployments. Azure, for its part, includes a cost management tool -- based on the technology from Microsoft's Cloudyn acquisition -- that can work with AWS and Google cloud platforms.

AWS, though it does support Istio, generally doesn't emphasize multi-cloud as much. Instead, it tends to offer more guidance around the use of on-premises systems with its public cloud. That said, AWS, like the other cloud providers, isn't obligated to directly support multi-cloud, and most independent AWS architects are well-aware of the processes and tools that will support AWS in a multi-cloud environment. For example, third-party management and governance tools, such as RightScale and Morpheus, are built to support multiple clouds, including AWS. Like other public cloud providers, AWS has open APIs that enable these third-party vendors to provide management capabilities for its platform.

Partners drive AWS multi-cloud support

While AWS doesn't offer much direct support for multi-cloud through its own technology, the vendor's large partner base could still give it a leg-up in this market. AWS' size and popularity have resulted in a much more robust ecosystem of third-party tools that support multi-cloud deployments.

Some enterprises may still want AWS to provide multi-cloud support directly on its platform, such as the ability to monitor Azure and Google environments via native Amazon tools, like CloudWatch.

But cloud-native features and tools that span more than a single public cloud are lacking, in general. This means enterprises still have to deal with tool selection for multi-cloud management; the big cloud providers haven't natively provided all the capabilities users need -- at least not yet. For now, enterprise cloud architects and third-party tool providers still need to solve the bigger multi-cloud challenges.

This was last published in November 2018

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