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Unpacking a Multi-Cloud Approach

The whole tech industry is abuzz with talk of multi-cloud environments and survey after survey shows definitively that the race is on to a multi-cloud world. In fact, according to IDC, 30%1 or more of organizations have already migrated or have plans to migrate literally every workload IDC asked about to the cloud, and 85%2 of large businesses will be committed by 2018 to multi-cloud strategies as IT continues to transform.

The reasons for cloud adoption are compelling. While public and private clouds demonstrated how effectively they can deploy applications quickly, hybrid cloud strategies proved the value of hosting applications both in the cloud and on-premises.

Multi-cloud extends that concept to applications operating across numerous cloud providers. A multi-cloud strategy promises persuasive benefits, but also includes challenges that must be addressed.

I’m often asked, “What exactly IS a multi-cloud strategy?” Great question! Quite simply, multi-cloud strategies are the practice of using cloud services from multiple heterogeneous clouds, including Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud with more than one Public Cloud component to create the best possible business solution for an organization.

Multi-cloud enables firms to extract the best-in-class services from each cloud provider while mitigating risk of downtime or data loss resulting from a catastrophic disruption at any single CSP.

Not only does a multi-cloud approach enable catering of the application to the services native to a particular cloud, but services can be catered to the user, providing a richer experience – latency sensitive workloads can be moved closest to the consumer in real-time and issues associated with data sovereignty and compliance are no longer a concern, since the application and data can live where geographically appropriate.

Said another way, let the workload be where it needs to be.

Of course, specific partner and customer needs may dictate cloud provider choice. Embracing a multi-cloud strategy creates options and enables agility otherwise not possible. A case in point is Walmart. They stunned the cloud market just last month by demanding that its key vendors and partners abandon Amazon’s AWS offering. Those vendors with multiple cloud presences can easily comply while others run the risk of being left behind.

So it’s easy, right? Um…no.

While simple in concept, a multi-cloud strategy brings challenges to the table.

EVERY cloud is different. They’re like snowflakes. They SEEM the same to the naked eye, but they are, in fact, each unique. Application deployment is different. Programming interfaces are different. Security policy instrumentation is different. The list goes on.

To make matters worse, each cloud requires the development of domain-specific knowledge and expertise that have no applicability in other clouds. This at a time when cloud-knowledgeable resources are in very high demand.

So, given all of that, how do we realize the promise of multi-cloud?

The key is to abstract cloud-independent functions so that they can be managed across multiple cloud environments. We must also independently govern application services that require deep domain expertise, including security, availability, and identity management.

Enter the DevOps Movement


DevOps isn’t a tool, it isn’t a technology, and it’s not a person or a team. It’s a philosophy and methodology that delivers continuous improvement by breaking down operational barriers.

This movement has empowered development and operations groups with the ability to orchestrate infrastructure and they are demanding that every aspect of infrastructure be managed through automation. If you could push application and associated infrastructure instrumentation and iteration to the source of ideation, you would, right? Of course you would.

To abstract the domain-specific capabilities consumable by DevOps, F5 has developed a series of comprehensive APIs for its products that allow complete control of application service delivery through automation frameworks.

Our tools give developers and network operations teams the ability to quickly and reliably introduce proven, enterprise-grade application services in any environment – on-premises, public cloud, private cloud, cloud interconnect, AND, this is the key point, multi-cloud.

F5 takes away the complexities of the multi-cloud world, making it a reality that allows you to deploy applications smarter, faster, and safer.

Let us show you how.

References
1IDC White Paper, sponsored by Cisco, Cloud Going Mainstream, September 2016
2IDC, Cloud 2.0: New Services, Challenges, and Opportunities, Doc # DR2017_T4_RV, Feb 2017

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