What’s Driving the Shift to Multicloud: Cost Containment


By: R. Scott Raynovich

(Note: This first Tech Primer in our three-part series on multicloud is sponsored by Megaport.)

The shift to cloud services is driving widespread transformation of enterprise information technology (IT). But using the cloud has its challenges: Costs can escalate quickly, security is a concern, and integration with traditional on-premises infrastructure is tough. This is driving the need for a more agile approach to cloud infrastructure.

These challenges make it imperative to manage multiple cloud services effectively, but they also bring new opportunities: Better management of multicloud resources across cloud providers can reduce costs, improve security, and future-proof the infrastructure.

In this three-part series, we’ll explore some of the challenges presented by multicloud deployments and what they mean for networking and other cloud networking solutions, such as compliance and security. Some of the topics we will cover include:

  • What’s driving concern about cloud costs and how can multicloud networking solve that? (Part 1)
  • Compliance and security in a multicloud environment (Part 2)
  • Future-proofing the multicloud network (Part 3)
  • Using MCN and multicloud platforms to manage traffic and optimize cloud usage
  • Using MCN infrastructure to optimize networking and connectivity paths
  • Analytics and visibility to understand and consolidate security
  • Understanding how cloud costs, including network costs, are allocated in organizations
  • Integrating multicloud infrastructure with tools such such as FinOps and Cloud Financial Management (CFM) to help manage cloud costs.

Driver #1: Cost

Controlling costs in cloud environments is an escalating issue. This is coming up more frequently in our discussions with practitioners, including our primary survey research.

Cloud costs are a complicated topic that includes many elements: There is the cost of the cloud services themselves, hidden costs such as shadow IT usage, and networking and security costs. This is not a full list – just some of the cost challenges we hear about the most.

For example, in our recent multicloud networking (MCN) survey, 63% of director-level and above end users in IT management told us that they need to gain better control over cloud usage and cloud networking costs. Another 32% said they were an issue, but they hadn’t yet been prioritized.

Another big driver of cloud cost anxiety is the fear of cloud vendor lock-in. The major public cloud players are racing to add features to their cloud services and infrastructure to keep customers happy. But many of these services, including networking services, are proprietary and unique to a particular cloud service – meaning you can get “locked in” to the service. If the costs of those services escalate beyond your budget, it’s harder to switch.

How Can MCN and NaaS Help Control Costs?

What customers really want is a neutral MCN infrastructure that allows them to easily connect and enable multicloud services using software and automation. This provides a more agile platform for using multiple clouds, and it means users have full control over the infrastructure connectivity. One of the first steps in this process is using multicloud network as a service (NaaS) infrastructure to provide agile multicloud connectivity.

Using neutral infrastructure can also help you avoid provider networking lock-in by making it easier to switch between providers if needed. MCN is a way to connect various cloud-based resources together with a centralized networking platform, using software and automated orchestration. NaaS companies such as Megaport are providing a large role as neutral networking platforms that can connect to multiple cloud platforms.

The benefits of using MCN, NaaS, and other flexible multicloud infrastructure reaches beyond simple agility and control. Our recent end-user survey uncovered several other features that users are looking for in their multicloud strategy.

For example, here are some of the cost-savings functions in demand for MCN, as discovered in our end-user research:

With so many drivers and needs for MCN technology, we expect it to be an important area of development for organizations looking to build a neutral, agile infrastructure that can be used to manage cloud costs. By creating a network that spans multiple clouds, you can reduce the need for duplicate resources and get more efficient use out of the resources you do have.

(Source: Futuriom, Secure Multicloud Networking Survey Report, October 2022.)