Learn How to Use B2B Multicloud Platform for Your Business
Anyone starting their business online thinks about efficiency and security rolled into one. In the modern online business, efficiency is always about cloud solutions, which work faster and provide more capabilities and greater performance. But how do you choose a cloud platform when you need both fast public space and must keep some of your data secured?
In our comprehensive article about B2B multicloud platforms, we will provide a clear understanding of what is multicloud and hybrid, how they work, the difference between cloud and multicloud, and why it is important to choose between them wisely. The material includes a comparison of TOP B2B multicloud platforms such as IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and AWS.
- What Is a Multicloud Platform
- What Is a B2B Multicloud Platform
- How a B2B Multicloud Platform Can Benefit Your Business
- B2B Multicloud Platform Implementation: Challenges and Considerations
- Key Features of B2B Multicloud Platforms
- Top B2B Multicloud Platform to Consider in 2023
- How to Choose the B2B Multicloud Platform for Your Business
- Emerging Trends in B2B Multicloud Platform
- Wrapping It Up
What Is a Multicloud Platform
All cloud models can be defined as single-cloud or multi-cloud, depending on how many cloud servers they use to host their software and data. These models can be split into public, private, and hybrid cloud approaches depending on which servers they are based on, and which supplementary platforms they have. Let’s discover it all deeper.
What is multicloud vs. single-cloud?
This is a close term to the single-tenant vs. multi-tenant difference. The main reason why the multicloud model differs from a single-cloud one is that the company uses more than one cloud server. For example, the business has two cloud environments based on different servers and probably belonging to different service providers. When such cloud environments are both public (delivered over an open public network), this can be related to a simple multicloud management platform. Once at least one of these clouds becomes private (solely used by one organization, with servers belonging to it) and other clouds are public, the architecture becomes hybrid.
Multi-cloud platform examples
One of the examples of multicloud architecture is Netflix. It always used cloud services to deliver its materials to users, but for a long time, the company used Amazon Web Services (AWS) only (so the architecture was single-cloud). Now, Netflix uses Goggle Cloud as well, so it means that at least two cloud providers are involved in Netflix's daily routine, and now its architecture is multicloud.
Multicloud vs. hybrid multicloud
The Netflix architecture described above is definitely multicloud, but not hybrid as all the servers it uses are public (at least the ones we know about). Many companies prefer keeping their data in a separate safe space, particularly regarding personal data or sensitive and confidential materials. This is the moment when besides the private cloud that can be built on some random server and belong to a third party, the business only needs its own private cloud for employees. In this case, the architecture becomes hybrid as the company purchases both public and private servers.
So, when the company uses multiple public and private (either on-premises or hosted) cloud environments, the architecture is referred to as a hybrid. Hybrid multi-cloud offers greater flexibility and control over an IT infrastructure while also leveraging the advantages of public cloud services.
What Is a B2B Multicloud Platform
A B2B multicloud platform is an environment where the business can use various capabilities from several vendors offering cloud services. B2B businesses use multicloud solutions to meet their specific business needs. Multiple vendors allow centralized access to all the needed features to reach business goals faster.
How a B2B Multicloud Platform Can Benefit Your Business
As mentioned above, together with various capabilities, multicloud platforms provide increased flexibility, better performance, improved reliability, cost optimization, and better security. Let’s dive into each of them:
- More flexibility in operations. A multicloud approach allows choosing providers that offer the needed features instead of sticking to one provider with limited capabilities.
- Better Performance. Different clouds are tailored for specific tasks. Some offer better compute-intensive workloads, while others are more data-intensive. This means when the business wants to speed up processes and reduce latency, using different kinds of cloud can benefit a lot.
- Improved Reliability. Using multiple cloud providers means there is no single point of failure. If one of the clouds doesn’t work correctly, the business can use other vendors to provide an uninterrupted experience for their customers and teams.
- Cost-effectiveness. A multicloud infrastructure allows using a lower-cost cloud provider for non-critical workloads while trusting mission-critical applications to the one that guarantees higher quality. However, it might cost a bit more.
- Better security. While the security question seems quite challenging for those who use multiple clouds, the reality shows that some vendors offer better protection than others. This means the business can keep more sensitive data in one of the clouds while keeping an open client part on another cloud, making the sensitive part completely safe and out of the third parties' reach. Moreover, if you have your own private cloud, you can get it secured any way you want, with your own encryption approach and close monitoring. Just connect your private and public cloud via API and ensure your confidential data is safe.
B2B Multicloud Platform Implementation: Challenges and Considerations
Implementing a multicloud platform for B2B organizations can be complex and presents several challenges and considerations. Here are some of the key challenges to keep in mind:
Integration of different cloud platforms requires specific skills and some programming knowledge. Most probably, you will need a specific team or trusted vendor to put it all together.
As all the clouds will be connected, you have to ensure that each of the providers complies with the same set of minimum rules and requirements regarding safety and organize strong gates between the platforms.
Cost management can be complicated. While modern systems should be able to provide all the cost details in a centralized way, many platforms still do not support this connection, so you would have to control the costs related to each vendor separately. And do not forget about the data transferring related expenses!
Compliance and process management. Working with several vendors, the business has to ensure each of them has proper processes and procedures, including contracts and SLAs.
Starting a multicloud business requires a careful evaluation of these factors. However, suppose at least one of the Vendors supports easy integration like Virto and offers API connections allowing for easier control and management. In that case, these challenges are not as complicated as they seem.
Key Features of B2B Multicloud Platforms
When choosing a B2B multicloud model, ensure each vendor can provide features and capabilities to ensure the whole system will work seamlessly. Here are the characteristics to look for:
- Interoperability. When you build a multicloud system, all platforms should be able to integrate and interoperate. Ensure the platforms support API integrations and can build a cohesive computing environment together.
- Data Mobility. A B2B multicloud platform's core idea is seamless data transfer between platforms. Building your business on two or three platforms that cannot exchange data straight requires purchasing some middleware and working with more vendors that can help you transfer data. Much easier to have this capability straight away!
- Workload Management. Here, we mean the ability of the system to manage workloads effectively across different cloud providers and services. Building a centralized platform based on one of the providers you choose can help make all processes easier.
- Service-Level Agreements (SLAs). As SLAs define the level of service that cloud providers will deliver, you must ensure that each vendor complies with your main SLA and meets your business needs and requirements.
- Security and Compliance. A B2B multicloud platform should comply with relevant regulations, so the business has to ensure that its data and applications are secure and all vendors have tools to provide the needed level of security.
Top B2B Multicloud Platform to Consider in 2023
As technology evolves, more and more companies support the multicloud approach today. Here, we’ve collected the most popular ones and explained why some of them are still not so perfect for choosing.
1. IBM Cloud
The platform offers a wide range of services, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). It looks ideal for businesses that need to analyze large amounts of data. However, while being the first to choose for many companies, IBM can be called an outdated solution due to its rigid approach to updates and compliance with the latest trends. While providing great out-of-the-box features, the system can be slow in innovations, not offering fast enough time-to-value for those who want to grow fast.
2. Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure is the second B2B multicloud management platform businesses replatform to when choosing a multicloud approach. While offering automatic load balancing, identity and access management, data encryption, and autoscaling features, Microsoft Azure backups take a really long, which provides a risk of losing some important data.
3. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS is one of the most popular platforms used today. It is known for its high level of scalability and cost-effectiveness, with features such as pay-as-you-go pricing and automatic scaling. While being highly functional, the platform price policy is not too much transparent: you will need a team of knowledgeable experts to manage it, but if you need any support, the support price will be set by Amazon separately, so you cannot predict your spending on this platform.
4. Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform offers such features as automatic scaling and load balancing, data encryption, and access controls. While providing great scalability, the platform is not too customizable: you will have to adapt all your processes to work on the platform. Otherwise, the difference in your workflow can cause issues that will take time to resolve.
5. Oracle Cloud
Oracle Cloud is often used in the multicloud approach as it provides advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities. However, it has some integration issues. While it supports Rest API, the often errors at the stage of integration make it challenging to start using the system. And the support can be really slow to help.
6. VMware Suite
VMware Suite, in turn, offers a high level of flexibility and scalability, with workload portability and application modernization. However, this is a perfect solution for those who already own a strong system with good resources, as the solution's performance highly depends on the user’s hardware and resources.
7. Virto Commerce Cloud
Among all the solutions mentioned, Virto Commerce Cloud offers the fastest time-to-value and time-to-market. This is a headless, extensible, API-based, and scalable B2B ecommerce platform that offers everything from B2B catalog to loyalty and procurement. Quick backups and patch delivery, transparent pricing, and easy integration due to API-native architecture make it perfect to base all other clouds and platforms on it.
How to Choose the B2B Multicloud Platform for Your Business
A new B2B Multicloud platform is a challenge! It requires careful planning and execution to ensure that it will deliver the desired benefits. To choose the correct vendor that will help you build a perfect system easily integrating with more and more vendors, if necessary, you should care about some important points:
Step 1. Build a clear cloud and integration strategy
Define the types of workloads and applications to move to the cloud, assess which services will be used, how deep the security should be, how many clouds you will need, and how strong the integration between them should be.
Step 2. Select the right vendor
Choose the ones that meet your business needs and requirements:
- Ask about the types of services they offer.
- Request SLAs and pricing models.
- Make sure the level of support fits you.
- Discover their innovation capabilities.
If the vendor is strong in security, offers SLAs, knows what you ask for, and offers future-proof capabilities, this is the one.
Step 3. Ensure the system has everything you need.
Learn as much as you can about the system. A good way to do it is by interviewing your future vendor. Here. We offer the good questions to ask your multicloud application platform vendor about:
- Does your OOTB functionality allow reaching our current goals? How long will it take to build a new feature when we need it?
- Do your storefront, mobile app, and admin panel interact with the back end through API as a headless solution? Do they connect through the same API?
- Is there direct access to the multicloud database for professional reporting tools?
- How much peak traffic and data can your platform handle without the need to upgrade it on our side?
- What programming language is your platform built on? Is it open-source?
- Do you offer platform management training for your clients’ front-end/back-end development teams?
- In simple words, what is needed to scale the system? Provide a few possible actions.
- How does your storefront handle data optimization? Is it possible to sort and filter the search output?
- How often are security patches, upgrades, and backups are done? How long does it take to patch the system?
- Which capabilities are included in the license? How much do additional capabilities cost?
By following these steps, you most possibly will reach a great result. Never hesitate to ask your future vendor about their capabilities: even the interview itself can show how much the vendor fits you.
Emerging Trends in B2B Multicloud Platform
B2B Multicloud Platforms are continuously evolving. The ones who stick to this approach now will definitely benefit in the future. Here, we’ve collected some emerging trends about B2B Multicloud solutions:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) growth. AI already enables advanced automation, intelligent decision-making, and predictive analytics. In the future, these features will be used even more as AI-powered tools can optimize cloud resources, improve performance, and enhance security.
- Blockchain. The technology brings trust to B2B multicloud platforms as it improves data integrity, security, and spending associated with intermediaries. Decentralized applications and marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular, so blockchain popularity will only grow.
- Edge Computing. The technology enables the processing and analysis of data closer to where it is generated, reducing latency and improving performance. It’s time to start using edge computing now to leverage the power of multicloud infrastructure and improve customer experiences.
- Hybrid Cloud Models. Just like we mentioned already, they enable organizations to leverage the benefits of both public and private clouds. Use this approach to optimize costs, enhance security, and improve flexibility. Do not forget about security!
Wrapping It Up
Adopting a B2B Multicloud Platform is not just a trend: today, it seems to be the essential approach to consider. Replatforming to the solution that can support a multicloud system can become a starting point for business growth, either simple ecommerce, B2B dropshipping or another, as you will improve security, reliability, and performance.
The most important step is choosing the platform to start with. In the modern market that changes daily, flexibility and readiness for innovations become key points to look for. That is why by choosing a composable future-proof solution like Virto, you can buy a guarantee of your future marketability, whatever other cloud vendors you choose.
To start the journey, simply plan a meeting with our expert team or request a free demo to learn more about where to start with your new multicloud platform.