Opinion: History of Hybrid Technology Demonstrates the Way to Multi-Cloud Approach

PMC’s Head of Solutions, Elliott Winskill shares his thoughts on the future of ‘multi-cloud’ strategy for Technology Service providers and how they plan to build or design their solutions. He reflects on how there are grounds for optimism that portability among cloud providers will become a reality but suggest that – for now at least - a single cloud strategy remains the preferred route.

“Over the past decade, we have seen the rise of hybrid applications in numerous frameworks like Ionic, React Native, Flutter, Xamarin, and PhoneGap. In 2008, the first iOS SDK was released, which led to the first ever framework for supporting the common code that could be built on top of a native layer.

Then, in 2014, came HTML 5 – the game-changer for hybrid applications. HTML 5 has served to accelerate the evolution of hybrid technology, which prior to 2014 had been taking place at a much steadier pace."

Multi-Cloud Solutions and a comparison with Hybrid Applications

"In simple terms, hybrid applications comprise a hybrid framework which provides a common interface sitting between HTML 5 created web content and the native platform. The result is that an application can be built using web technologies. The hybrid framework handles the native interaction irrespective of the platform on which the application is deployed. The benefit is not needing to build apps from scratch for each of the platforms.

‘Multi-cloud’ refers to the use of multiple cloud providers to deliver solutions, infrastructure, or capabilities. For ‘on-premise’ style solutions, it is common to use different cloud infrastructures, as the infrastructure and application are not mutually exclusive. But as businesses rapidly deploy microservices using more serverless based technologies at either the logic or data layers, this presents a real dilemma: Do you build an application using serverless technology and accept it doesn’t work in a Multi-Cloud strategy? Put another way, should technology and solution providers utilise the latest serverless technology to build scalable, cost-effective solutions, or focus on building portable solutions?"

Serverless Technology: Barrier or enabler for new solutions

"Non-serverless applications generally cost more to run and require more focus on design and infrastructure tools for provisioning. Alternatively, if the decision is made to opt for the serverless route and there is subsequently a requirement to move to another cloud, the logic has to be built all over again - with limited reusability. Of course, whichever route is taken, each requires different efforts, skills and costs. All of which the provider must take into account when planning a new solution.”

“If we are right at the beginning of this journey, rather like the evolution of hybrid applications, the real question is whether there will be a technology game-changer for the portability of applications between cloud providers”

Deciding to embrace a Single Cloud Strategy

"It’s unclear whether we will see an evolution to this level of applications portability, but with the extent of technology already available from cloud providers, it seems unwise to wait. There is already so much scalability and so many benefits to microservice-based serverless architectures, available from multiple cloud providers with industry-leading technology.  

I was faced with this dilemma two years ago as I delved into the exciting world of AWS Lambda. It was tough then but, now seems silly that I ever considered not moving to the cloud serverless technologies. My Multi-Cloud strategy may have to wait, but I am confident that, like hybrid, it will eventually become an alternative to the single cloud strategy.

I am speaking at an exciting panel on 'How a global pandemic has accelerated Cloud adoption' at  Application Modernisation Summit on 26th May. Join us as we discuss the future of applications and the cloud environments.”

Original LinkedIn Post

Elliott Winskill is Head of Solutions at PMC. He is responsible for defining strategy, vision, and delivery on all stages of the product lifecycle for PMC-build Products. He also provides guidance and ownership of the solutions that underpin PMC services, and advises retailers and the market on solutions that deliver technology and market evolution.

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