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.

 

 

 

 

Softchoice Launches Backup as a Service to Improve IT Resilience

Protect the data and applications critical to your business.  

Data has significant impact on the way we do business, enabling innovationdefining how we engage our customers and expand our ability to generate revenue. With IDC forecasting that by 2025 the global data sphere will grow to 175 Billion Terabytes of information, businesses will need to be more strategic and efficient in the way they manage – and protect – their data. 

The increase in global cyberattacks is a clear and present reminder of the critical importance of a proactive and integrated plan for cyber resilience and business continuity. This means maintaining backup and recovery operations is a year-round, 24/7 job for IT teams

Meanwhile, complex and fragmented infrastructure, use of legacy storage technology such as tapes, and the constant threat of security breach make data and application availability a constant concern. As a result, we struggle to ensure that backup is supporting its primary purpose of risk mitigation while managing the solution in-place and the cost to maintain it. 

 To address this need Softchoice has launched Backup as a Service (BaaS) which offers a fully managed and cloud-connected backup and recovery solution for on-premise environments conveniently billed as a monthly service. Through automation, proactive monitoring and detection, Softchoice BaaS protects critical data while helping manage and reduce total cost of ownership. The key capabilities of this service include:  

  • Unified backup and recovery: Quick and efficient backup and recovery for all your virtual and physical workloads in one unified solution. 
  • Resolution Support: Mitigate risks of downtime and accelerate recovery with dual backup to the cloud and on-site appliances as well as 24/7/365 expert resolution support. 
  • Configuration Mentorship: Receive guidance on best practices for your backup strategy via 30- to 60-minute technical conversations by telephone, email or online meeting. 
  • Technical Support: A single centralized support team providing 24/7/365 live answer support, a service portal, incident and escalation management and ITIL service management. 
  • Implementation: Combine on-site appliances with cloud storage to enable quick recovery when needed, and cost-effective cloud storage for long-term retention. 
  • Managed Backup Operations: Taking care of the implementation and the day-to-day operations, freeing your IT team to work on strategic projects. 
  • Testing: Confirm your recoverability by testing production backups twice a year. This includes testing for granular files or full virtual machine recovery. 

Softchoice Backup as a Service enables businesses to protect, locate and recover more information in less time, across any combination of platforms, locations and storage environments and reduces the cost of maintaining separate backup technologies. The streamlining and maintaining of data coupled with Softchoice’s Managed Data Center & Network Services also offers businesses with a holistic data center strategy that is critical for fueling data-driven businesses.  

Digital Transformation and Multicloud Networking

Digital Transformation and Multicloud Networking

Most companies today use at least one cloud provider in some capacity.  Within two years, 92% of companies will be using two or more.

This hybrid cloud world is forcing traditional data center design to evolve. The rise of hyper-converged systems and software-defined everything requires businesses to reevaluate traditional network and security designs to take advantage of the as-a-service world of today.

[Read more…]