Roadmap to Multicloud Success: 5 Things to Consider

You want to spin up new digital business capabilities. Maybe compliance requirements mean some of your workloads can’t move to the public cloud.  Or you’re a cloud-native business with no plans to build your own data center. 

If any of these describes you, multicloud is an attractive option.  

Combining cloud services and infrastructure from several providers allows you to bolster your portfolio with the best features from each. At the same time, you avoid the contractual, technical and cost burden of shifting from one cloud provider to another in the event something doesn’t work out 

In fact, Gartner estimates 75% of organizations will have deployed multicloud this year.  Nonetheless, adding new cloud services without a solid architecture and governance strategy in place means success in a multicloud environment is far from guaranteed.  

In the article below, we explore 5 key technologies to consider before making the move to multicloud.  

Software-defined Everything

When it comes to building digital business capabilities, the software-defined data center (SDDC) is a big enabler. The SDDC extends virtualization to data center resources, including network, storage, compute and security.

The result is an environment that is much easier to extend to the cloud (or clouds) of your choice. The SDDC also uses the same frameworks thanks to technologies like VMware Cloud on AWS.

In turn, IT gets the benefits of managing it all within software instead of hardware, including:  

  • Virtualized IT infrastructure for compute, network and storage  
  • Flexibility to use the data center as a private or hybrid cloud  
  • Extension to the public cloud through providers partnered with the SDDC vendor 
  • Virtualization efficiencies/economics across all data center services 
  • Protection of legacy hardware investments that can be virtualized  
  • Centralized and policy-driven management for all software-driven workloads 

A virtualized and automated data center allows for more efficient deployment of applications and infrastructure within these types of restrictions. For this reason, the SDDC will be a major growth area going forward as organizations look to acquire cloud capabilities while accommodating security and compliance requirements. 

In fact, Allied Market Research foresees a $139 billion SDDC market by 2022, in which the government, banking, finance and insurance verticals lead the way in deployments.

Unified multicloud management and orchestration

Multicloud delivers considerable benefits. But every cloud service in your environment also adds to the management burden and skills required by IT. 

Each cloud platform comes with its own cost structures and provisioning processes. Moreover, workloads management across multiple environments often calls for technologies like containerization, Kubernetes (for container orchestration), performance monitoring tools and analytics engines to name a few. 

Making all of this work in concert can seem like a daunting prospect. Without a detailed plan for migration, cost, service management, and overall visibility into your environments it can be overwhelming. Tasks like accurate cost forecasting and budgeting, plus rightsizing of cloud services for current requirements, have to be front and center.  

The Flexera State of Tech Spend 2020 report finds 68% of respondents already struggle to understand on-premise versus cloud costs, just one illustration of the extent of this challenge in the multicloud environment.

Better application and workload portability through containers

Today the leading public cloud providers operate on a pay-as-you-go model. But this doesn’t erase the sometimes substantial (and expensive) technical hurdles that impede the transition of applications and workloads between clouds.  

A cloud solution provider (CSP) controls the way applications work on its infrastructure. The specifics of each platform have a considerable impact on the portability of applications between different cloud environments.

Enter containers. Containerization technologies like Docker package an application’s full runtime environment, including files, dependencies, and libraries, and isolates them so that it can be easily ported across cloud domains.  

Beyond enhancing the portability of apps and workloads, containerization insulates developers from an upfront requirement to invest time and resources learning the ins and outs of each public cloud platform. Because they can remove that extra dev effort as they move applications between clouds, the result is lower cost to transition. 

Placing applications in containers also reduces the overhead you would experience in a virtual machine-heavy setup. Containers don’t require a hypervisor to emulate hardware and instead share OS resources, making them more streamlined.

Improved app performance and user experience with SD-WAN

Supporting real-time and TCP applications within a multicloud environment requires a dynamic, cost-effective network. Above all, this network needs to deliver predictable performance. Legacy WANs are not built to meet these requirements.  

The traditional WAN facilitates VPN access to an enterprise application via pricey MPLS links. These backhaul traffic to a data center. But performance for cloud applications degrades to noticeable levels when bandwidth doesn’t meet demand. 

In contrast, a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) provides more flexible transport. It also provides dynamic, intelligent routing and a greater range of modern security features.

To help multicloud adopters, an SD-WAN (depending on the vendor) provides:  

  • Application-aware connectivity between branches and across cloud services, including IaaS and SaaS deployments 
  • Constant measurement of jitter, packet loss and latency to send critical workloads down the best available path
  • Compatibility with broadband, cellular and satellite internet as alternatives or supplements to MPLS
  • Secure direct-to-cloud connections, without the traditional backhaul that degrades Quality of Experience (QoE)
  • Aggregation to colocation sites for more consistent performance for large multi-branch organizations 

Greater business continuity with a secure approach to backup and DevOps

Modern organizations face daily risks to business continuity. These include everything from ransomware and DDoS attacks to downtime resulting from technical issues or even old-fashioned human error. 

To keep your data secure and your business running in a multicloud environment calls for a multi-pronged resilience strategy. Each cloud provider applies its own authorization and authentication models. Keeping security standards consistent when workloads live in different clouds is a big ask for any DevOps organization.

As such, scoping out potential security challenges is an important step in securing your multicloud environment. The task extends to backup and disaster recovery. Identifying the weaknesses and potential points of failure in your architecture is an essential part of determining where and how different cloud technologies will intersect in your environment.

Making multicloud work with strategic partners

Multicloud is fast becoming the main way organizations adopt and consume cloud services. But this approach is still very new. However, recruiting for the right skills is often time-consuming and cost-prohibitive. Working with a strategic partner like Softchoice helps you ensure your multicloud strategy is a success.

We’ve covered five of the key technologies and architecture decisions that lead to successful multicloud adoptions. To learn how the right approach to architecture can make the difference, check out our guide, Roadmap to Multicloud Success: Why Architecture Matters.

Softchoice can help you navigate the difficult decisions and make the best possible choices for your environment. Learn more by contacting our team or explore Softchoice cloud services.

 

 

 

 

Why We’re Excited for VMworld 2019

VMWorld 2019

VMworld is the marquee VMware event of the year.

The conference showcases the technology and solutions providers that are transforming the IT landscape. From mobility and the cloud to networking and security – VMworld offers a glimpse of what’s happening in IT now – and what’s coming next.

The annual US conference kicks off in San Francisco on August 25 and Softchoice has a team of VMware experts attending. We asked a few of them to share what’s got them most excited about this year’s event.

Here’s what they had to say…

Scott Mathewson, Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) Practice Lead

There are a lot of exciting announcements coming from VMware this year.

I’m especially curious to see what’s new and upcoming as it relates to VMware’s SDN strategy and roadmaps, especially NSX.  Being able to automate network provisioning and have network and security settings wrapped around applications provides efficient, error-free provisioning with “set-once” security policies. This means that IT can reduce the time and effort needed to provision new workloads or move applications to the cloud.

New versions of VMware NSX will also allow for greater flexibility in software-defined network (SDN) configuration for high availability and backup across multiple clouds. NSX services, firewalls, routers and load balancers will now be consumable in the cloud as a service. The on-prem and cloud versions of NSX come together and provide the ultimate options for a customer when it comes to networking and security. Businesses can now choose the networking and security services that are critical to the business – whether they are in the cloud or on-prem.

Meanwhile, VMware Cloud on AWS is growing. New features like Elastic Block Storage (EBS) integrated into VSAN and Relational Database Support (RDS) native to the virtual machine enable much greater application flexibility.  Customers can now truly take advantage of software services to modernize business applications. They can also reduce costs and increase performance and agility for business applications. VMC on AWS has a robust global scale. And it’s the only solution that allows companies to get the cloud within hours instead of months and years by having the ability to immediately drag and drop applications with VMware from on-prem to the cloud.

I’m also looking forward to learning more about announcements relating to VMware on Azure and Google cloud. I see this development making VMware the provider of choice for many organizations looking for a fast, secure solution for moving applications to the cloud. VMware and the CloudHealth platform will also play an important role in managing applications in the cloud.

John Long, VMware Technical Architect

At this year’s conference, I’m excited for content and sessions that dive deeper into two emerging products: VMware VeloCloud and VMware CloudHealth, (whose acquisition was announced at VMworld last year).

VeloCloud is an SD-WAN solution that can be deployed in minutes from remote sites. It’s has taken the market by storm. It’s arguably the most strategic purchase VMware has made since it acquired Nicira (now called NSX) in 2012.

VeloCloud is changing the way we think about internet connectivity and the way customers are bridging between data center to co-location, data center to the cloud, and cloud-to-cloud. NSX provides the ability to stretch Layer 2 networks over Layer 3. From there, VeloCloud comes in to ensure connectivity through multiple connections that upgrade ordinary broadband connections into enterprise SD-WAN.

It also assures optimal application performance – a growing requirement for VoIP, video and other bandwidth-intensive applications. One of the most compelling reasons we are excited about VeloCloud is how the quality of service (QoS) is provided through public and private cloud-based management as a service. Branch deployment is also virtually automated.

But the VeloCloud SD-WAN “secret sauce” is Dynamic Multipath Optimization. This provides continuous path monitoring along with automated bandwidth discovery. In turn, this enables application-aware dynamic per-packet steering as well as on-demand remediation with QoS.

It’s certainly feature-rich as it exists today (with SD-WAN artificial intelligence and machine learning). But we’re excited to see how this offering will evolve in the coming months and year.

At the same time, CloudHealth is fast becoming one of the most trusted multicloud management platforms. Some organizations are transitioning to hybrid cloud strategies. But many are moving to multi-cloud. With so many clouds to manage, there is a need for a solution to wrangle all of them before a storm happens.

CloudHealth provides customers with cloud visibility, cost management, security and governance. By providing visibility into usage, performance and the way each workload consumes resources, CloudHealth can support decision-making on workload placement. This, in turn, helps to save management resources and enable organizations to make decisions faster. This visibility extends into container orchestrators, such as Kubernetes, Mesos or Amazon ECS and EKS and helps to maximize utilization of container platforms.

CloudHealth also allows enforcement of security policies to minimize risk along with governance to maintain control over cloud environments through policies and workflows.

Organizations building their multicloud strategy should consider the value CloudHealth could play. So should those who are already on this journey,

Learn more about hybrid vs. multicloud and get help with your strategy.

 

Jacy Townsend, Sr. VMware Technical Architect

I’m very excited for VMworld this year! No doubt there’ll be several new product and feature announcements.

In anticipation of this year’s conference, I spent some time going through the catalog of sessions. There is a lot of content and themes that piqued my interest. What I’m most excited about this year is seeing the direction VMware is headed when it comes to supporting the industry shift toward containerization of workloads.  I’m most looking forward to “Architecting VMware PKS on HCI Powered by vSAN”.

For those who don’t know, VMware PKS is also known as “Pivotal Container Service.” It’s an enterprise Kubernetes platform that simplifies container orchestration on any infrastructure. On the other hand, vSAN is the policy-based storage piece of VMware’s hyper-converged infrastructure solution. I’m very curious to see how these play off of one another.

See You in San Francisco!

VMworld is full of exciting sessions, labs, keynotes and exhibits all focused on technology that will take IT to the next level. The Softchoice team is excited to see you there! Learn more about VMworld.

Attending VMworld US and want to connect? Reach out at vmware@softchoice.com

 

VMworld 2016 news: A summary of the big picture

VMworld 2016 news: A summary of the big picture

This week we scoured the VMworld show for the most salient news for Softchoice clients, some of which we released over the past few days.

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