Migration to the cloud has become synonymous with technological independence for business: companies no longer need to take care of bulky physical equipment and perform numerous IT tasks. And now imagine that your freedom can increase – you will place the infrastructure not in one cloud, but in several at once, without being tied to a specific provider. The Cloud Agnostic approach offers just such an option. Let’s consider what kind of concept it is, what are its pros and cons, and when you should choose Cloud Agnostic architecture.

What is Cloud Agnostic

Cloud Agnostic is an IT architecture style where all tools, services and applications do not depend on a single cloud. They can be moved to any local infrastructure or public cloud platform, regardless of the type of the main operating system.

Such services can integrate with already fully configured services of the cloud operator and open source tools. Cloud-agnostic solutions allow you to use the services of several providers at the same time and easily switch from one platform to another.

How does Cloud Agnostic differ from Cloud Native

When explaining the features of agnostic architecture, it is impossible to avoid comparing Cloud Native and Cloud Agnostic. Because, although these are not mutually exclusive concepts, most often business chooses between these two strategies.

Cloud Native is a style of IT architecture, according to which most services are designed to function on one specific platform, for example, Amazon EC2, Azure, GAE Public Cloud VMware from GigaCloud. That is, you choose a cloud operator and build your infrastructure according to the features of its IT solutions.

The indisputable advantages of cloud networks, compared to an agnostic alternative, are ease of configuration and ease of use of the infrastructure. But this style makes you dependent on the provider and the specifics of its platform. Therefore, if the business is not ready to sacrifice freedom, it is better to make a choice in favour of an agnostic architecture.

Pros and Cons of Cloud Agnostic

If the Cloud Agnostic strategy is implemented correctly, it will be useful for business from a commercial and technical point of view. And all thanks to its considerable range of advantages:

  • Mobility. The cloud-agnostic architecture allows for quick and easy migration to any new cloud – in most cases, it will just be a matter of transferring your data from one platform to another. You don’t have to spend months for switching providers or adding another cloud to your list.
  • Financial benefit. In the long run, an agnostic strategy is more profitable than alternative solutions for several reasons. First, you can choose tools that will be cost-effective for you from different providers. Second, business gets more control over costs and the possibility to adjust them as needed. Third, the company may not worry that it will become economically dependent on a single provider. For example, if it increases the tariffs, you can choose a similar service from another operator, instead of paying the increased price without any alternative.
  • Flexibility. You can build a cloud strategy according to your own needs. Also, your IT professionals get access to open source tools that are constantly being improved.
  • Better risk management. With Cloud Agnostic solutions, you don’t have to worry that problems on the provider’s side will affect the stability and performance of your services. If it is necessary, you can quickly change the cloud and adjust the development tactics of your IT infrastructure with minimal risks of service downtime.

The cloud agnostic strategy is not without drawbacks, which should be taken into account when choosing this style of IT architecture.

The main disadvantage is the limitation of cloud services. For example, if one provider offers an innovative and important function for you that your other operator does not have, then you will not be able to use it. This can slow down the IT team a bit. Also, deploying an agnostic architecture will require more time and effort from your specialists than working on applications for a specific cloud environment.

The second noticeable disadvantage of agnostic architecture is the complicated use, and you have to monitor the operation of several cloud platforms at the same time.

When to choose Cloud Agnostic and how to implement the solution in the best way

Cloud Agnostic development will be a reasonable choice for your business if:

  • The company plans to change its cloud infrastructure in the future. Therefore, it does not want to be dependent on one provider, so that its capabilities do not limit the launch of new IT solutions and do not provoke downtime of services.
  • The company places its resources on foreign clouds. Therefore, it wants to be sure that in the event of a change in the exchange rate and a sharp increase in the prices of one provider, it will be able to quickly move to the cloud of another operator that will offer more favourable financial conditions.

To successfully implement a cloud agnostic strategy, pay attention to the following several tips:

  • Choose Cloud Agnostic microservices architecture. Microservices allow you to break applications into separate modules, which makes it easier to deploy, scale, transfer to new platforms, and add new technologies to them.
  • Use Cloud Agnostic infrastructure as code. It allows you to manage computing and network resources with the help of software code, rather than manually, which also facilitates migration from one cloud to another.
  • Start using container orchestration. To implement an agnostic strategy, there should be no connection between workloads and the main cloud infrastructure. Therefore, the best option would be to run services on a container orchestration platform, for example, Docker Swarm, Hashicorp Nomad or Kubernetes.

All this can be used with OpenStack solutions and Red Hat OpenStack Platform. They have extensive capabilities for managing and integrating applications through APIs, and they are able to use microservices and container orchestration.

Cloud agnostic is a winning solution for businesses that want to gain independence from cloud providers, but are ready to take on additional burdens for deploying IT architecture. If your team can successfully maintain the proper level of functioning of all services and does not need template solutions of a cloud operator, you will get an effective IT infrastructure that will not be tied to one provider. And this will give you prospects for rapid scaling and will allow you to reduce financial risks.