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March 24, 2023 | Channing Lovett

Cloud Agnostic: Key Considerations In Your Approach

As cloud adoption becomes commonplace and the term cloud agnostic becomes more prominent, questions shift from “what” to “how” – how will your organization approach the cloud to keep business priorities at the forefront? We’ll discuss the difference between having a cloud agnostic approach and a cloud native approach, as well as the merits in employing a hybrid approach when building your cloud environment.

What is Cloud Agnostic?

Cloud agnostic refers to an approach to application development and deployment that is not attached to a specific cloud provider, vendor, or platform. For example, a cloud agnostic application or service can use any private or public cloud provider, like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, without requiring significant modifications or reconfiguration to its code or infrastructure. By choosing cloud agnostic solutions, organizations can avoid vendor lock-in and instead have the flexibility to go with a provider that best suits their needs without having to worry about compatibility issues.

What are the Benefits of Being Cloud Agnostic?

There are six main benefits of becoming cloud agnostic:

Scalability and Performance

Instead of relying on the standard of performance in both speed and scale of one given platform, a cloud agnostic approach allows businesses to access greater cloud scalability and redundancy options across multiple platforms. If traffic increases, for example, organizations can scale up resources as needed across multiple providers to meet demand without lags. Additionally, the ability to access different features and capabilities from multiple provider service offerings, such as machine learning or the option to deploy apps in closer locations to customers, can help.

Reliability and Resilience

Deploying applications across multiple clouds can not only improve the reliability of their infrastructure, but also its resilience. If one cloud provider experiences an outage, cloud agnostic applications can be migrated to another provider without disruption. This ability is highly beneficial minimizing data loss and downtime during a disruption, thus promoting data resiliency and business continuity.

Seamless Migration

In a cloud agnostic setting, application migrations are made easier between cloud providers with the use of certain containerization technologies, like Kubernetes and Docker. These technologies convert applications and their dependencies into a portable format that can be launched on any cloud platform, be it public, private, or hybrid. Due to this, organizations have the ability to seamlessly migrate their applications between different providers as needed without underlying infrastructure challenges.

Freedom of Vendor Lock-In

As previously mentioned, one of the fundamental benefits of being cloud agnostic is the ability for IT teams to select the best cloud platforms for their particular needs over being locked into the (in some cases, limiting) capabilities of a single vendor. This flexibility empowers companies to be able to utilize the full benefits, features, and capabilities of multiple cloud platforms while enhancing application deployment and management.

Cost Optimization and Cloud Optimization

When organizations have their pick of providers and vendors, they have ample opportunity for cloud cost optimization and cloud optimization – finding efficiencies to save on spend without decreasing service or performance quality. For example, when taking a cloud agnostic approach, companies are able to leverage price differences for services offered by different providers and can typically negotiate better pricing terms with this information in-hand.

Due to not being locked into a single vendor, companies also have the opportunity to migrate to new providers as needed if cloud costs are expected to rise with a current provider. Additionally, using cloud agnostic applications allows organizations to choose the most cost-effective cloud platform for each workload and allocate resources accordingly to promote cloud optimization.

Open-Source Access

In most cases, open-source software is designed to be cloud and platform agnostic. This capability grants further flexibility in deployment options for organizations since it allows them to deploy software that meets their requirements on multiple platforms without being tied to a specific vendor who may not be quite the right fit.

Cloud Agnostic vs Cloud Native: What’s the Difference?

Cloud native is an approach that involves specifically designing for the cloud whereas cloud agnostic focuses on an approach that doesn’t tie an application to one provider.

Cloud native systems take full advantage of standardized provider tools and are often easy to build and maintain. As the name implies, a company that leverages a cloud environment or cloud native tools is employing a cloud native approach.

Since cloud agnostic systems aren’t dependent upon one provider, more effort is required by the organization to develop in-house or with a third party. However, it’s important to note that cloud native and cloud agnostic aren’t opposing ideas – cloud native applications can also be cloud agnostic. Just because they’re built in a particular platform doesn’t mean they can’t scale or move across environments, for example. The difference is more about what takes priority – designing with a specific platform in mind to start (cloud native) or designing in a way that allows for smooth transitions to any platform (cloud agnostic).

Cloud Agnostic Pros

Programs built in a cloud agnostic way are portable – they can move from one platform to another with ease. This makes for seamless migrations, can help prioritize performance, improve scalability, enhance flexibility, and improve costs.

And this is all made possible because there is no vendor lock-in.

Cloud Agnostic Cons

Building something that is truly cloud agnostic is not turnkey like taking a cloud native approach. It requires a larger commitment of time and resources and has to be implemented at the developer level, which may not be possible in some scenarios. Teams may also run into trouble when they think a piece of code will work on another platform, only to start the migration process and encounter a conflict.

Additionally, a cloud agnostic approach can increase the complexity of integration, deployment, and management, and requires a higher level of technical expertise.

Cloud Native Pros

Environments that take advantage of the tools provided by one cloud platform are designed to be resilient and can quickly recover from failures with minimal, if any, disruption to service. Many cloud providers are agile and already built for cloud scaling easily, meaning increasing resources as needed is not a problem. Additionally, cloud providers can typically offer performance guarantees, like a certain uptime percentage.

Cloud Native Cons

While some applications can move across platforms, others cannot, so portability can be an issue. Even though all applications are within one platform, they each represent individual services that will need to be managed, and may not be able to be handled all in one place or by one tool without additional oversight or development. Some people in your organization may also be slow to adopt a cloud native stance.

Additionally, vendor lock-in is common for niche cloud native applications and there may be certain associated infrastructure requirements.

What to Consider When Thinking About Cloud Agnostic Applications

Have you decided to take a cloud agnostic approach? It’s important for developers to stay focused on a few key pieces when building cloud agnostic applications:

Application Architecture Portability

When designing applications, consider using a microservices architecture so the app can be deployed and scaled across multiple cloud providers. Also, think about using a containerization tool to neatly package up each application and its dependencies to make movement between platforms even easier.

Cloud Services

When building cloud agnostic applications, it’s crucial to ask the following questions:

  • What cloud-based services may be required for the application?
  • Are those services available across multiple providers?
  • Have any services, protocols, or APIs been incorporated that may be specific to a certain cloud rather than agnostic?

Data Management and Data Security

Develop a plan for data management and data security within multiple cloud platforms. How will the application’s data be stored, managed, and moved across each platform? How will the application meet compliance requirements across multiple providers?


Another key factor to consider is costs. What will the associated costs be with deploying and managing the application throughout different cloud platforms, as well as data transfer fees? Think about which costs will lead to greater awards for your business, and where you may be able to make adjustments to encourage cost optimization.

Error Reduction During Deployment

Unfortunately, errors happen even to the best of applications. Consider using automation tools and techniques when deploying an application across cloud platforms to reduce potential errors while quickening the process.

Start Modernizing Your Applications

When building out a cloud adoption strategy and taking steps to modernize your IT to promote ongoing innovation, it’s important to take an approach that prioritizes the flexibility and portability you need. After all, keeping up with today’s market requires applications to be both scalable and adaptable. Interested in learning more about how you can leverage the cloud for application modernization or how DevOps can help shorten your app development time? Schedule a consultation with our team of experts at TierPoint here.

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