Metacloud: a cloud of clouds

Roberto García Esteban    8 February, 2023

The digitalisation of society is rapidly advancing, mainly driven by the development of the internet and Cloud technology. Companies are rushing to adopt these new technologies in pursuit of the mantra of digital transformation, prompted by the need to adapt to an increasingly digitalised and, at the same time, more demanding consumer.

This race towards digitalisation, however, is often a bit of a mess. Many companies have been implementing multiple Clouds in a very heterogeneous way over the last ten years, with the management of the corporate Cloud becoming a chaos of increasing complexity.

Metacloud is emerging as a solution to bring order to the network of management tools for the different clouds managed by companies

Experts consider metacloud, also known as “super Cloud” or “sky computing”, as a key trend in the coming years to untangle this chaos. To bring order to the network of management tools for the numerous Clouds that companies manage. Tools that are sometimes interconnected, sometimes redundant, but always complex to manage.

Why metacloud is more necessary than ever

Operating with one cloud is simply not enough for many companies. There are various statistics on the use of a multi-cloud environment in companies, but surely more than half of the world’s companies with more than 1,000 employees work with more than one cloud. And that number is constantly growing.

According to Deloitte, 25% of companies with more than 1,000 employees use at least five Cloud platforms in their daily operations

Sometimes implementing multi-cloud solutions is the result of a strategic decision to increase flexibility, control costs, monetise the data the company manages or manage diverse data location requirements.

However, it is often an unintended consequence of different teams within an organisation preferring to run applications or workloads in different clouds.

Whatever the reason, the truth is that a multi-cloud strategy results in both optimised pricing and access to specialised capabilities, as well as increased complexity, inefficiencies and redundancies in its management.

Mantener múltiples configuraciones de seguridad y repositorios de datos constituyen todo un desafío para las organizaciones.

In this environment, metacloud offers the opportunity to move “above” the Cloud, providing a common layer of abstraction and automation to improve the simplicity and visibility of cloud services. It is one of the trends identified in Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2023 report on the most important technology trends for 2023.

Metacloud benefits and opportunities

Metacloud services work with the compatibility layer that lies “above the cloud”, using APIs to access a variety of common services such as storage and compute, Artificial Intelligence, security, operations, or particular application development and deployment. A common interface is used, giving administrators centralised control over their multiple cloud instances.

In addition to simplifying the management of a customer’s different Cloud environments, metacloud is even more necessary at a time when the current shortage of professional supply makes it difficult to find qualified cloud technology personnel, as using metacloud reduces the need for specialists in specific cloud platforms.

Metacloud is even more necessary considering the shortage of qualified Cloud technology professionals

Another benefit of metacloud is improved security, as it allows developers to set up a single configuration from the compatibility layer, which will run on each cloud platform through their common cloud interface, thus simplifying the implementation of security policies.

However, the development of metacloud services is limited by the interests of large hyperscalers because, although it is relatively simple to develop from a technical point of view, it would lead to Cloud providers becoming a kind of “commodity”, making it difficult to distinguish the capabilities of one from the other.

Unlike other technologies, however, where standardisation requires universal agreement, the software to create a compatibility layer between Clouds is widely available and third-party companies are already developing unified management tools for different clouds, using a single centralised control panel.

It is also sometimes the customers themselves who develop this management layer using vendor APIs. While it is complex to deal with complexity, the end result will be to increase simplicity, so it looks like it will be worth the effort.