According to Gartner, some 81% or organisations that make use of public cloud services are reliant on two or more providers. Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies are truly the new normal. Anyone still relying on just one public cloud platform has either got enviably simple cloud needs, or has just not caught up with the mainstream. Most enterprises are keen to avoid reliance on just the one provider, and in any case like to shop around a bit to be sure they are using the right provider for the right task.
It is all too often the case that ‘multi-cloud’ can lead to ‘multi-headache’ when you try to integrate several public clouds into the same IT environment. Individually, these cloud providers are all about making sure you have what you want, up to the point of interoperability between their service and your in-house data centre resources. But if you want help to facilitate interoperability between them and their competitors, you won’t get far. You might just as well ask EasyJet if it can book you a convenient onward flight on British Airways. Different horses, different courses.
If you happen to be a British Airways, or an Exxon Mobil, or a GSK, then you might be able to afford the cost of integrating all your clouds into a single enterprise network fabric. You might even have the in-house knowledge to do it all yourself. Or you could be the kind of enterprise that says “My network service provider does everything for me as a managed service, which is expensive but at least I know where I am”.
There is a breed of enterprise cloud service consumer that prefers to turn to one of the newer options on the connectivity market – one or other of the software providers that can bring together network virtualization, private WAN connectivity and cloud integration under one easy to manage fabric.
Ideally this software-led approach takes care of things like network configuration, security, data integration, application integration, application distribution, dynamic workload movement and systems management, all on the same platform. It shouldn’t matter if you are spread over AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud as well as several others, the power of a true cloud-native solution should provide an easy way to deploy hybrid networking and not face a myriad of hidden costs and complications. Nor do you suffer the lack of control and visibility you can end up with when you pay for managed network services from a telco.
The purpose-built platform that a cloud-native network runs on will take care of everything from route calculation to policy-enforcement and security inspections, and best of all it is designed from the ground up with the cloud’s attributes in mind. The best of these platforms are multitenant by design, running on off-the-shelf servers and delivering performance that was once the preserve of the corporate elite. Once you can wean yourself off proprietary hardware, conflicting software and expensive managed services, you’re into a whole new world of capital and operational outlay, and at the beginning of a new phase of your cloud journey.
The following event will feature essential discussion of cloud-native issues from a panel of acknowledged thought leaders in this space.
By Guy Matthews, Editor of NetReporter