What is Cloud-Agnostic?
The influence of cloud technology is rapidly growing and shaping how we do business.
The scalability and flexibility that cloud technology provides are immense. It is challenging to redefine how businesses operate across industries.
You may have heard that some business models are now being built on cloud-native architecture.
So, it is important to understand the cloud landscape.
In this blog, we will explore the concept of cloud-agnostic - its benefits, drawbacks, and how it relates to other cloud technologies.
What is cloud-agnostic? (A definition)
Cloud-agnostic refers to a design strategy and process where applications, platforms, tools, or services are built to run in any cloud environment.
In other words, they are not confined to the cloud infrastructure of a specific cloud services provider.
In computing, agnostic refers to hardware or software that is compatible with multiple types of operating systems or platforms.
Cloud-agnostic architecture allows companies to switch between providers effortlessly or even use multiple cloud providers at once. Companies are cloud-agnostic when their systems do not depend on any one specific cloud vendor or provider.
This feature offers a number of other benefits (see below, 'Benefits of cloud-agnostic architectures').
Discussions of the term ‘cloud-agnostic’ often lead to comparisons with cloud-native.
Definition of cloud-native
Cloud-native refers to software built specifically for the cloud environment - as opposed to being adapted to it retrospectively.
Being cloud-native means software can take full advantage of the scalability, resilience and flexibility of any cloud platform.
Differences between cloud-agnostic and cloud-native
The primary difference between the two platforms lies in the range of compatibility each one offers.
Cloud-agnostic applications are capable of running in many cloud environments. The strategic value of this is it achieves independence from a single cloud provider or narrow range of cloud providers.
Cloud-native applications are usually designed to run on a specific platform. The strategic focus here lies in driving scalability and resilience.
A cloud-native approach also allows developers to optimize for that specific design and for companies to take advantage of a managed service.
Cloud-agnostic vs cloud-native?
Despite the comparisons that often get made between them, cloud-native and cloud-agnostic are not necessarily competing solutions.
It is not uncommon to see both cloud solutions used together to provide the best of both worlds.
Advantages of cloud-agnostic architecture
Here are some of the benefits of being cloud-agnostic.
In computing, portability is the ability of software to be transferred between systems or machines.
Businesses using a cloud-agnostic architecture can easily migrate from one cloud provider to another. The programmes they run are not dependent on a specific vendor or cloud platform.
In some cases, migration is simply a matter of exporting data between cloud platforms.
2. Vendor independence
Vendor independence is the natural result of having high portability. As long as there is no contractual clause preventing it, businesses can freely move and choose between cloud providers.
By contrast, cloud-native strategies usually have vendor lock-ins. If a cloud service provider ceases trading, their customers could be in a very difficult position.
3. Consistent performance
A cloud-agnostic strategy allows businesses to prevent a decline in performance while maintaining an efficient and consistent process. This is another benefit that is downstream of portability.
When there is a vendor outage or a performance decline, cloud-agnostic businesses have the control and agility to switch providers quickly and securely.
3. Long-term cost efficiency
In the long run, in addition to portability, vendor independence, and consistent performance, a cloud-agnostic solution delivers cost-efficiencies.
Pricing models for cloud services can change depending on the Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). CSPs usually charge customers based on storage usage and licensing.
With the ability to seamlessly migrate, businesses can pick a cloud provider that offers the best pricing at the time. They can also benefit from the pay-as-you-go model, where costs are calculated based on resources used.
Cloud-agnostic architecture is great for scalability. With their migration capabilities, apps and services can move across cloud platforms.
This capability allows companies to quickly scale-up and meet demand. It can be especially useful if you have a business that is looking to achieve high growth but does not want to pay for high capacity before it is needed.
Disadvantages of cloud-agnostic architecture
While a cloud-agnostic approach can have its merits, there can be drawbacks.
1. Short-term costs
The upfront costs of building cloud-agnostic infrastructure are relatively high.
These costs begin at the developer level, where a lot of planning is required. Early on it is not a practical business model for all companies, despite the competitive edge it eventually brings.
2. Time to market
A cloud-agnostic strategy takes time to implement. In some cases, projects that take longer to launch risk losing their competitive advantage.
By contrast, a cloud-native strategy allows a shorter time to market. This is possible thanks to a range of prebuilt templates, ready-made infrastructure and tools.
3. Exclusion from cloud providers' full range of features
The flip side of reducing the risk of vendor lock-in is that organizations cannot fully utilize the capabilities of every cloud provider.
These include economies of scale, general management offered by cloud providers, and in some cases specific features.
4. Data storage and transfer costs
Cloud-agnostic solutions can encounter data storage requirements and transfer costs.
Storage costs might vary according to the different cloud providers and the different storage classes they make available.
These transfers include data egress costs, which occur when data leaves a network and are transited to a new location. These charges are usually a certain amount of cents per gigabyte (GB) of data transferred.
For small organizations, this won't likely amount to a high cost. But for large enterprises, it can do.
Furthermore, the timing of these transfers - and therefore the timing of these costs - can be difficult to predict.
A cloud-agnostic approach means dealing with different APIs from a variety of providers. This can create more work around maintaining security and compliance for companies.
Our cloud-native and payments agnostic platform is uniquely built with a microservices architecture that enables you to scale up and down according to your transactional demand.
This not only makes our platform more energy efficient but also resilient and scalable by design.
The term cloud-agnostic refers to a design strategy that enables applications, platforms, tools, or services to run in any cloud environment.
Cloud-agnostic is often mentioned in the same breath as cloud-native. This is a different but not necessarily competing solution.
Unlike most cloud-native solutions, cloud-agnostic ones are not confined to the cloud infrastructure of a specific CSP.
This offers big benefits to businesses. It allows them to switch between providers effortlessly or even use multiple cloud providers at once, making it portable, vendor-independent, and cost-efficient in the long-run.
There are some drawbacks, however. These can include higher upfront costs, longer implementation-to-market time, exclusion from cloud providers' full range of features, data transfer costs, and more work required in maintaining security and compliance.
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