Gartner Research

A Guidance Framework for Architecting Portable Cloud and Multicloud Applications

Published: 16 December 2016

ID: G00302796

Analyst(s): Eric Knipp , Richard Watson, Traverse Clayton


Technical professionals must be wary of locking their applications into a particular cloud provider's service. This report provides guidance on creating applications that are portable across cloud services, and on creating multicloud applications that span these services.

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement

The Gartner Approach

The Guidance Framework

  • Step 1: Assess Portability and Multicloud Priorities for Your Application Portfolio
    • Assess Cloud Applications in Terms of the Hierarchy of Portability and Multicloud Needs
    • Determine Application Portability Priority
    • Understand Multicloud Application Architecture
    • Consider the Portability and Multicloud Scenarios for Each Application
  • Step 2: Understand and Avoid the Portability Anti-patterns
    • Lock-In to High-Productivity Application Platforms
    • Lock-In via Interface Dependencies
    • Lock-In to Proprietary Cloud Services
  • Step 3: Select Enabling Technologies for Portable and Multicloud Architectures
    • Understand How Cloud Delivery Models Impact Contextual Independence
    • Choose a Portable Outer Architecture to Gain Contextual Independence
    • Multicloud Toolkits
  • Step 4: Implement Application- or Service-Level Contextual Independence
    • Favor Modular and Composite Design
    • Choose Rightsize Application and Service Deployment
    • Commit to Frequent Refactoring
    • Run Your Own Backing Services
    • Prove Contextual Independence Works via Continuous Delivery
  • Step 5: Maintain Vigilance in Production

Risks and Pitfalls

  • Pitfall 1: Overengineering Portability Without a Business Case
  • Pitfall 2: Investing in Future Value That Never Materializes
  • Pitfall 3: Home-Brewed Solutions Cost Too Much to Implement and Maintain

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