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Both technical and non-technical folks can agree that over the past couple of years, the cloud has become more of a common topic as new cloud tools are constantly emerging. Similarly, the majority of people who have a basic understanding of the Internet and the cloud are more than likely utilizing more than one cloud offering. As the plethora of cloud-based services continues to expand with the appearance of new offerings on the market, the ability to tie these platforms together under one roof is not only critical for business productivity, but it’s also an intuitive solution for those who have experienced the power and convenience of it. Organizations will inevitably use a wide array of cloud-enabled products to streamline their daily workflow and business activities, yet the resulting increase in management overhead can quickly become a burden and challenge to those responsible for the administration of their firm’s technology infrastructure. Instead of managing these disparate cloud offerings separately, companies have the option of a unified approach to consolidating these processes into one solution.
What is this mythical solution, you may wonder? It is the multi-cloud: using one platform and interface to manage a myriad of cloud-based services. The approach addresses the need for consolidating multiple offerings in one solitary space, enabling firms to continue using disparate cloud technologies without compromising ease of management and security.
What is the Multi-Cloud?
The ethereal concept behind multi-cloud is essentially the formation of custom solutions from a set of best-of-breed cloud computing services. The services no longer stand apart. By combining the configuration, management, and delivery of multiple cloud-enabled offerings under one umbrella, users can take advantage of cloud offerings best suited to the task or use case at hand. With the multi-cloud strategy, firms remain competitive by continuing to use top notch cloud technologies and services in the most efficient manner possible.
The primary mechanism making multi-cloud solutions possible are APIs: a set of specifications guiding software interactions between disparate systems. These connectors allow different applications and platforms to talk to each other and exchange data. The majority of cloud service providers (including popular vendors such as Salesforce, DropBox, and Box) use the popular REST as their API architecture, as well as OAuth for authorization — essentially enabling authentication to their services over a custom platform or application.
Multi-Cloud and Mobile
Several multi-cloud companies use a unified REST API and connect to multiple services in a category, such as storage and capture, allowing for seamless integration. Platforms like this expose popular, cloud-based services under one API so you can add functionality easily to business applications. Some of these companies also provide both mobile and browser-based capture as the first step of getting data into cloud-based applications, such as SimpleECM for example. The multi-cloud technology is simplifying the way brands integrate their business applications, ultimately saving time and money.
According to the IEEE Computer Society, mobile cloud is one of its Top Technology Trends for 2014. IEEE explains,
“Mobile devices are constrained by their memory, processing power, and battery life. But combined with cloud computing, data processing and storage can happen outside of mobile devices.”
Within any organization and/or across a firm’s customer base, cloud offerings and modes to access these resources can be simultaneously diverse and specialized. For instance, users may require the use of different cloud storage solutions on varying devices. Firms utilizing the multi-cloud employ a common interface to satisfy these varying needs and requirements. The result is a custom solution integrating various technologies, forming a business system that meets the exact requirements of the firm or end-user. Additional benefits include ease of management and mitigation of security risks associated with users juggling multiple logins.
The multi-cloud enables companies to remain nimble and agile, and this concept will certainly becoming more of a table topic over the next couple years, as ‘the cloud’ has become. With the ability to use different cloud offerings, platforms, and solutions in one package, companies avoid vendor lock-in and are able to satisfy the diverse needs of users, partners, and customers. It is a solution that will allow for more productivity and ultimately change business models.