The next great computing transformation is upon us, and it’s hard to fathom the magnitude of what will happen in the next five to 10 years.
The move from mainframe to client servers dominated the last 30 years of infrastructure. But the cloud transformation will feel 10 times bigger and a thousand times faster—faster because there’s little hardware involved, just software.
Even though many enterprises have accelerated the timeline for their cloud strategy in response to COVID-19, we’re still in the early days of this massive migration. Amazon said in March 2021 that less than 5% of global IT spend is in the cloud right now. But as the cloud becomes the center of gravity for enterprise apps and services, more organizations are making the move.
The first step in this computing transformation is the move to a single cloud. But it’s naïve to assume you can stop there. To have a complete cloud strategy, you need to start preparing for multi-cloud. Here’s why.
From cloud-naïve to cloud-native
It’s only one letter, but it’s a world of difference. Let’s say you’re a tech-savvy organization. You’ve decided to transition your company to the cloud so you can become more efficient and create a better overall experience for your customers and employees.
Your IT team is on board because they know that if they don’t move fast enough, the business will simply go around them—and in many cases, they already have. Dev groups, determined to deliver on the agility and speed the business expects, will swipe their credit cards and create shadow IT that’s hard to secure, manage and ultimately unwind. Infrastructure teams need to move at the speed of DevOps so they don’t get cut out of the picture.
The cloud vendors tell you that it couldn’t be simpler. They promise to deliver anything and everything you will ever need, including networking and security. “Don’t worry about operations and troubleshooting … nothing ever goes down … it’s a service,” they say. In fact, maybe you don’t even need as many employees to run infrastructure. Maybe you cut back your staff.
So, you start with one cloud. But as you move down the deployment path, you realize it’s not as simple as the cloud vendors made it out to be. There are limitations in networking capabilities, security controls and visibility that enterprises require. You need to operationalize, but it’s a black box.
As if that isn’t enough to deal with, the business is requiring more cloud platforms. In the cloud era, the infrastructure team doesn’t decide which clouds are used; the business does. The business may decide that a critical application works better in one cloud. A customer may dictate a preference for another cloud. An acquisition may require you to adopt technology that operates in a third cloud.
Now you’ve got three public clouds, plus a private on-premises cloud, and your infrastructure team probably understands one of them. Teams are hampered by the skills gap and by the reduction in workforce. The native tools from the cloud providers don’t deliver the operational visibility, security or advanced networking controls you need and are used to. The transformation that was supposed to improve efficiency and user experience has taken you in the opposite direction. It’s an infrastructure nightmare.
The future starts now
To keep up with the speed of the cloud technology transformation, your cloud strategy must look further ahead, beyond single cloud to multi-cloud. Fortunately, there is a solution that will handle the infrastructure difficulties with both scenarios.
Gartner summarizes it well in the May 2021 Market Guide for Cloud Networking Software: “A market is emerging to address ‘inside the cloud’ and multi-cloud networking challenges, as there are notable gaps from existing vendors. I&O leaders should look to cloud networking software products to address functionality gaps and improve operations within cloud and multi-cloud environments.”
With a multifaceted cloud networking solution, enterprises gain the operational visibility and control they need to manage and troubleshoot the entire cloud network and security infrastructure in a consistent way.
To learn more about the importance of multi-cloud readiness and how to achieve it, read the eBook, We Need to Talk: Start the Right Cloud Networking Conversation Today.