The data center is no longer the center of gravity. Today, applications are distributed across data centers, multiple public clouds, and Edge. The current network architecture cannot meet the related performance and reliability expectations. Cloud adoption continues to expand as agile development, swift deployment, and unrestricted scale become the new normal for customers across industries, sizes, and geographies.
Distributed hybrid multi-cloud deployment, decoupled cloud services from a centralized physical location can potentially address client concerns around operational control, performance, and geographical location of the services, providing fuel for a new growth engine.
This paper discusses how to approach conventional network design, including security and operations, as organizations transform to hybrid multi-cloud environments.
Multi-cloud: An effective cloud strategy
A Gartner survey revealed that 81% of organizations using the public cloud were currently working with two or more external providers. Further, if you have anything on-premises or at a co-location, this means you need at least 3 networking consoles for configuration, troubleshooting, reporting, analytics, etc. And the improper and inefficient network connectivity would lead to poor cloud application performance and major productivity challenges.
The networking world continues to evolve to meet the high cloud and as-a-service demands. Enterprises are searching for better programmability, automation, orchestration, and data center interoperability to build private clouds or cloud-based data centers.
By the end of 2022, the number of enterprise network teams using a SaaS-based console to manage data center networks will increase by more than 10 times to over 1,500, according to Gartner’s new 2020 Magic Quadrant for Data Center and Cloud Networking.
Organizations have entered a new era of application centric computing where they are quickly adopting multi-cloud architectures. They are choosing more than one public cloud service provider, and empowering end users with a choice of the best components for their use cases. It is also helping organizations avoid circumstances such as a single point of failure and vendor lock-in.
Not leveraging a multi-cloud approach makes organizations fully reliant on one public cloud service provider for all their cloud-related services, and in such cases, there is a possibility that some of the services may not offer the best value to address specific use cases.
Key reasons for adoption of Multi-cloud architecture
Choice of service
No single cloud service provider poses the best set of services to meet all the requirements of an organization. However, a multi-cloud environment allows enterprises to select the best service from multiple vendors for their specific use cases.
Reduced vendor lock-in
A multi-cloud environment allows enterprises to choose the best service from different cloud service providers delivering to their specific requirements. Empowering organizations to choose services from multiple vendors will eventually help them not only to distribute workloads across multiple providers but also reduce vendor-specific dependency.
Latency plays a crucial role while deciding the cloud strategy. Choosing a service and infrastructure closer to users will offer better performance. When an organization plans for multi-region deployment of an application to provide a uniform and seamless user experience, a multi-cloud strategy empowers them to choose the closest services and infrastructure from multiple providers.
Improved disaster recovery
Multi-cloud environments help organizations to improve the management of their disaster recovery by adding the flexibility to choose redundant servers from different cloud providers. A multi-cloud arrangement allows replicas of applications in two or more clouds. In case of downtime in one cloud, all relevant requests can be redirected to the applications hosted in the other cloud. This arrangement can also be extended to multiple regions to achieve greater resiliency.
Challenges of Multi-cloud
While multi-cloud deployment becomes the new normal, there are some challenges that organizations face at the beginning of their journey -
- Multiple panes needed to configure, manage, monitor, and operate multi-cloud instances
- Real time traffic monitoring and analysis across different public cloud, private cloud and on-premises data center are not available
- Complex operational models due to diverse and disjointed visibility and troubleshooting capabilities, with no correlation across different cloud service providers
- Inability to deliver a common compliance and security policy for the infrastructure and application environment across multiple clouds and on-premises
- Inconsistent segmentation capabilities across hybrid instances pose security, compliance, and governance challenges