Getting to Grips with Multiple Clouds

Written by, Anthony Webb, EMEA Vice President at A10 Networks

As more and more organisations embrace cloud as part of their digital transformation efforts, it is becoming more popular for those organisations to adopt two or more clouds within their infrastructure. But here optimisation and security are key to managing multiple clouds.

In fact, according to a global survey that we have undertaken here at A10 Networks, around two-thirds of companies have now deployed enterprise applications across two or more public clouds.  The survey, conducted by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network on our behalf, shows that over four-in-five (84%) expect to increase their reliance on public or private clouds over the next 24 months.

The vast majority of organisations are not just thinking about moving to a cloud, they’re living in a world where managing multiple clouds is already a reality. However, there is a knock-on effect from this – they have to operationalise different environments. Based on the survey data, there is a need to make sure that enterprises can provide reliability and security across all clouds, no matter which ones they are. Additionally, as budgets don’t necessarily go up when new technology is introduced, there is a need to optimise the organisation’s IT staff to make them more efficient.

There is also a compounding problem in that when comparing one cloud provider against another, the services they are offering in the cloud are different. And then even the services they offer to support the application have nuanced differences in terms of how they work.

Think of it in terms of video streaming services, these all have different interfaces and different ways of working. For cloud environments, the critical services that provide reliability and security have different capabilities between cloud providers. For example, if an organisation wants to deploy load balancing for reliability, there’s going to be different levels of functionality among providers. That functionality may be the lowest common denominator when offered by a cloud provider.

As a counterpoint, on-premises infrastructure has a lot of the supporting services, which have been developed over decades and have a lot more advanced functionality.

Meeting the mandates of security and reliability

Organisations trying to meet mandates for reliability and security have to look at the overall environment. When organisations have infrastructure running in multiple clouds, they may have different reasons for doing so, such as better service quality in a remote part of the world or using a specific cloud when a preferred provider doesn’t have a viable presence in a particular region.

Additionally, a lot of organisations may want to move their Microsoft applications to Microsoft Azure or believe that the Oracle Cloud infrastructure is the best place for their Oracle cloud apps. Our survey revealed that many organisations have moved from phase one of deployment of clouds to a second phase where they need to operationalise their environments by making sure IT has the tools to control them.

This means that businesses should look at how they centrally manage their cloud and on-premises environments. IT staff need to have visibility to deal with any incidents as they come in and be able to set consistent policies across the entire environment so that they don’t have to worry about the differences in each individual cloud or on-premises environment.  

Centralised control is key

The survey found that centralised visibility, management and automation will be essential to improving and ensuring the security, reliability and performance of their environments. They point to centralised visibility and analytics into security and performance (56%), automated tools to speed response times and reduce costs (54%), and centralised management from a single point of control (50%) as their most important requirements.

Using a centralised management tool can give IT teams visibility of both on-premises and multi-cloud environments all in one location. This makes it easy for IT teams to see what is really going on in their Polynimbus infrastructure.

It should also help them be more efficient and normalise the disparate cloud environments. Such a strategy of automation and intelligence is key to how organisations move to operationalise multiple clouds and make them more efficient.

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