You want to spin up new digital business capabilities. Maybe compliance requirements mean some of your workloads can’t move to the public cloud. Or you’re a cloud-native business with no plans to build your own data center.
If any of these describes you, multicloud is an attractive option.
Combining cloud services and infrastructure from several providers allows you to bolster your portfolio with the best features from each. At the same time, you avoid the contractual, technical and cost burden of shifting from one cloud provider to another in the event something doesn’t work out.
In fact, Gartner estimates 75% of organizations will have deployed multicloud this year. Nonetheless, adding new cloud services without a solid architecture and governance strategy in place means success in a multicloud environment is far from guaranteed.
In the article below, we explore 5 key technologies to consider before making the move to multicloud.
When it comes to building digital business capabilities, the software-defined data center (SDDC) is a big enabler. The SDDC extends virtualization to data center resources, including network, storage, compute and security.
The result is an environment that is much easier to extend to the cloud (or clouds) of your choice. The SDDC also uses the same frameworks thanks to technologies like VMware Cloud on AWS.
In turn, IT gets the benefits of managing it all within software instead of hardware, including:
- Virtualized IT infrastructure for compute, network and storage
- Flexibility to use the data center as a private or hybrid cloud
- Extension to the public cloud through providers partnered with the SDDC vendor
- Virtualization efficiencies/economics across all data center services
- Protection of legacy hardware investments that can be virtualized
- Centralized and policy-driven management for all software-driven workloads
A virtualized and automated data center allows for more efficient deployment of applications and infrastructure within these types of restrictions. For this reason, the SDDC will be a major growth area going forward as organizations look to acquire cloud capabilities while accommodating security and compliance requirements.
In fact, Allied Market Research foresees a $139 billion SDDC market by 2022, in which the government, banking, finance and insurance verticals lead the way in deployments.
Unified multicloud management and orchestration
Multicloud delivers considerable benefits. But every cloud service in your environment also adds to the management burden and skills required by IT.
Each cloud platform comes with its own cost structures and provisioning processes. Moreover, workloads management across multiple environments often calls for technologies like containerization, Kubernetes (for container orchestration), performance monitoring tools and analytics engines to name a few.
Making all of this work in concert can seem like a daunting prospect. Without a detailed plan for migration, cost, service management, and overall visibility into your environments it can be overwhelming. Tasks like accurate cost forecasting and budgeting, plus rightsizing of cloud services for current requirements, have to be front and center.
The Flexera State of Tech Spend 2020 report finds 68% of respondents already struggle to understand on-premise versus cloud costs, just one illustration of the extent of this challenge in the multicloud environment.
Better application and workload portability through containers
Today the leading public cloud providers operate on a pay-as-you-go model. But this doesn’t erase the sometimes substantial (and expensive) technical hurdles that impede the transition of applications and workloads between clouds.
A cloud solution provider (CSP) controls the way applications work on its infrastructure. The specifics of each platform have a considerable impact on the portability of applications between different cloud environments.
Enter containers. Containerization technologies like Docker package an application’s full runtime environment, including files, dependencies, and libraries, and isolates them so that it can be easily ported across cloud domains.
Beyond enhancing the portability of apps and workloads, containerization insulates developers from an upfront requirement to invest time and resources learning the ins and outs of each public cloud platform. Because they can remove that extra dev effort as they move applications between clouds, the result is lower cost to transition.
Placing applications in containers also reduces the overhead you would experience in a virtual machine-heavy setup. Containers don’t require a hypervisor to emulate hardware and instead share OS resources, making them more streamlined.
Improved app performance and user experience with SD-WAN
Supporting real-time and TCP applications within a multicloud environment requires a dynamic, cost-effective network. Above all, this network needs to deliver predictable performance. Legacy WANs are not built to meet these requirements.
The traditional WAN facilitates VPN access to an enterprise application via pricey MPLS links. These backhaul traffic to a data center. But performance for cloud applications degrades to noticeable levels when bandwidth doesn’t meet demand.
In contrast, a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) provides more flexible transport. It also provides dynamic, intelligent routing and a greater range of modern security features.
To help multicloud adopters, an SD-WAN (depending on the vendor) provides:
- Application-aware connectivity between branches and across cloud services, including IaaS and SaaS deployments
- Constant measurement of jitter, packet loss and latency to send critical workloads down the best available path
- Compatibility with broadband, cellular and satellite internet as alternatives or supplements to MPLS
- Secure direct-to-cloud connections, without the traditional backhaul that degrades Quality of Experience (QoE)
- Aggregation to colocation sites for more consistent performance for large multi-branch organizations
Greater business continuity with a secure approach to backup and DevOps
Modern organizations face daily risks to business continuity. These include everything from ransomware and DDoS attacks to downtime resulting from technical issues or even old-fashioned human error.
To keep your data secure and your business running in a multicloud environment calls for a multi-pronged resilience strategy. Each cloud provider applies its own authorization and authentication models. Keeping security standards consistent when workloads live in different clouds is a big ask for any DevOps organization.
As such, scoping out potential security challenges is an important step in securing your multicloud environment. The task extends to backup and disaster recovery. Identifying the weaknesses and potential points of failure in your architecture is an essential part of determining where and how different cloud technologies will intersect in your environment.
Making multicloud work with strategic partners
Multicloud is fast becoming the main way organizations adopt and consume cloud services. But this approach is still very new. However, recruiting for the right skills is often time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. Working with a strategic partner like Softchoice helps you ensure your multicloud strategy is a success.
We’ve covered five of the key technologies and architecture decisions that lead to successful multicloud adoptions. To learn how the right approach to architecture can make the difference, check out our guide, Roadmap to Multicloud Success: Why Architecture Matters.