One Cloud Provider Doesn't Fit All: How the Industry Responds to Multicloud Era in 2020

By Arti Loftus, Special Correspondent  |  December 16, 2019

We’ve all experienced the journey from cloud computing to hybrid cloud and now multicloud over the last two decades. Cloud dawned at the turn of the 21st Century, and today has become the primary approach to computing, replacing premise-based solutions; even the largest and most demanding enterprises, governments and organizations have adopted what was very controversial at the beginning of the cycle.

Earlier this year, we heard from top experts in the industry about the multicloud phenomenon and why it requires different networking, security, data exchange and other approaches, and are sharing their insights with you.

Peter Burris, Chief Research Officer and General Manager, Wikibon said, “The real change in cloud is the movement towards an architecture for simpler and more powerful distributed computing. That's really the test for multicloud choices. It's not a strategy for centralising computing; it's part of the ongoing natural process of the computing industry that's intended to make better use of parallel processing as a way of dramatically increasing the performance of computing so that we can apply it to increasingly rich and complex problems.”

“What enterprises want and what the natural attributes of data requires is that we try to keep our data in place where the actions are. This includes where it's collected, where is analyzed, where it's most secure, and where intellectual protection or intellectual property protections are easiest to administer. Multicloud is not about moving data into the cloud. It is about moving the cloud and cloud services to the data, and the natural organization of the cloud in 10 years is going to reflect a natural organization of data, whether it's at the edge, whether it's in the core or whether it's in public cloud. In 2020, enterprise IT decision makers will need to study the impacts of data emerging as a or the primary asset and this will drive decisions about compute, storage and security.”

Mansour Karam, CEO & Founder, Apstra said, “Distributed environments are scaling continuously, and it becomes impossible to do things without software. Automation means software, abstractions means software. You're going to define things in software, enforce policies in software, and at the core of this software is state. Ultimately you need to have the ability to have visibility into what's going on, gather all the states, and represent all the relationships between all those layers, all those domains.”

Karam continued that to make multicloud environments work, enterprises need to “verify that indeed your infrastructure is secure, indeed your applications are working well, indeed you're delivering on compliance and performance. So, well designed software, best of breed software takes the central stage. This is why we prefer a software-first approach.”

“In a world where we're distributing data, networking becomes a critical foundation and in fact the importance of networking is as high as ever,” Karam also said. “When you think of it, it's about connectivity. You may want to be able to connect workloads that are processing this data but also how do you declare and describe security policies and then enforce that in this distributed environment? Finally, it's all about performance. It's about delivering applications with certain SLAs and ultimately the network itself is critical to making it all happen.”

Jean-Luc Valente VP, Product Management, Cloud Platforms and Solutions Group, Cisco (News - Alert) said, “It's not just the data. The currency is really the application that we need. The bigger the data the more valuable it becomes. If you take a terabyte and you try to move it to the cloud from a private cloud you can do it, but it will take time and cost money. But if you take an exabyte which obviously today we would generate the volume of data it's almost impossible.”

Valente estimates it would cost $30 million to egress that exabyte to a public cloud. “What we are seeing is a tiering of environments, from private environments managed by enterprises, or hosted by partners, and it is becoming increasingly important to define this at the edge, and in the core. We are poised to see a huge explosion of data generated by the edge and required by edge applications. This changes the equation and choices about clouds – and multiclouds, and has networking and security requirements with new characteristics, challenges and complexity.”

Galeal Zino, CEO, NetFoundry said, “The application or the data is the new edge and networking is at the forefront. All networking to date has been built under a different assumption where you had to connect sites together and, again, whether that's public cloud, private cloud, branch offices, data centers. Those networks were built to connect sites. Now that the application is the new edge and data is everywhere. We need to reinvent networking and the ecosystems around networking to match that new reality.”

Michael Segal, Area VP of Strategic Alliances, NetScout (News - Alert) said, “Data is only as valuable as the intelligence that you can derive from it and in order to derive this intelligence you need to process the data. This is where services and applications are intertwined with data. The value to enterprises is what intelligence they can glean – how they can accelerate their digital transformation and make it more impactful and more relevant to their business. IT needs to gain visibility to understand your assets, and network is a key component in this distributed environment. With data being generated at the edge, systems need to be able to communicate very action and transaction in a timely fashion.”

Jon Mittelhauser, Vice President, Oracle (News - Alert) said, “Enterprises have existing legacy applications. They're looking at either a lift and shift or just continuing to run in their existing environment. They have to re-architecture applications to modernize traditional applications and then there's net new. I think the challenge is different across all those three. Multicloud is similar.”

We’ll continue to follow these multicloud pioneers as we head into 2020, a year when the cloud, the edge, data management and security across all will continue to evolve, raising new challenges, and inspiring new solutions.

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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