NOTE: This blog exists as part of a six part series.
Cloud computing has garnered plenty of attention over the past decade. As we begin the next phase of the digital transformation revolution, application owners and DevOps organizations are:
At the same time, they are being tasked by business owners to remain vendor neutral to avoid future vendor lock-in. These trends highlight the need to take the time to build an agile multi cloud networking environment, which will be critical to achieving these goals and paving the way for Cloud 2.0 and Cloud 3.0 environments.
Much like the hypervisor’s impact on the server industry twenty years ago, a multi cloud networking platform will give application owners and the DevOps team the agility and freedom to move workloads effortlessly across clouds. This flexibility will enable them to leverage new services (wherever they are located), deploy new services in minutes, migrate data and services effortlessly, and lead to the commoditization of cloud resources.
For Cloud 2.0 to become a reality, cloud computing and networking resources must be agile, easily aligned, and automated in this new dynamic and distributed computing world. Much like the hypervisor revolution, the right multi cloud solution not only simplifies the portability of services but also enables network automation capabilities, allowing automated network scalability and elasticity to match the needs of the supported computing workloads instantaneously.
When you investigate various multi cloud solutions, which key architectural features are essential to building a foundation on which you will build your multi cloud infrastructure?
Although public clouds receive much attention, private data centers are still the center of most enterprise application needs. There are many stories of cloud pioneers venturing into the cloud only to repatriate a workload due to performance or cost issues. Thus, selecting a platform that supports this agility is essential, ensuring the private data center and the cloud providers are all united on an equal plane across a multi cloud environment. This enables seamless workload portability across ALL locations.
A multi cloud network needs an adaptive multi cloud transit fabric that acts as a single unified network for provisioning and troubleshooting connectivity. The network needs to hide the complexity of underlying networks and provide a path and multi-path optimization for the applications depending on needs. The network must serve applications, delivering SLAs (latency, bandwidth cost) and backing them up with zero-touch proactive monitoring and SLA management. As with computing resources, this network must adapt to any location over any underlying IP technology.
In a containerized application environment, the discussion around network automation must end and translate into reality. In many cases, a next-generation multi cloud network will be distributed across hundreds of edge cloud locations. That network will:
As an extension to application awareness, the network needs to maintain service adjacency awareness, continuous leverage monitoring, and make workload placement suggestions based on workload optimization based on application performance and cost optimization.
Moving applications and workloads around seamlessly requires a platform that enforces security policies at every location without the engagement of a security architecture team. Thus, a platform needs to be built with a zero-trust architecture that protects data in transit across the network and secures the computing edge through standard security policies. This ability enables networking and security teams to confidently provide cloud freedom to DevOps teams so they can meet their goals with no resistance.
In order to take advantage of the underlying technology, a well-defined API is a must. The API must be simple, provide flexible access to underlying functional constructs, be easy to understand, consistent, reliable, and secure. Most importantly, the API must support the full integration of application and networking resources for the next generation of cloud computing.
In a rapidly changing global business environment, where cloud computing is available to everyone, the difference maker is not the cloud. While it is true that cloud services are treasured, they are nothing more than tools to be leveraged. The multi cloud network can provide application owners and DevOps with: