To avoid the dreaded cloud lock-in, many organizations are now managing multiple clouds to service their business needs. In fact, IDC recently found that 84% of IT executives surveyed expect to use multiple clouds from multiple cloud providers. It's a complex application and data reality that spans private clouds, hosting/co-location providers, public clouds, and IoT. Customers want to use the cloud in many ways, including running their workloads in public clouds, buying SaaS offerings like collaboration and disaster recovery as a service from other vendors, and developing modern applications for private and public clouds.
In addition to avoiding lock-in, organizations are pursuing multicloud strategies for a number of other reasons, including expanding revenue opportunities, reducing costs, decreasing time to market, and simplifying IT infrastructure.
While a multicloud strategy can drive real business benefits, operating multiple clouds can also lead to integration complexities. These complexities arise from a lack of consistency and connectivity between the different vendor-specific clouds. Furthermore, each cloud service is comprised of specific management tools, APIs, configuration requirements, SLAs, security, and analytics – leading to integration and deployment challenges. Solving for this complexity is critical to help organizations connect the dots between disparate cloud providers and their private clouds and advance their cloud strategy.
Organizations are looking for solutions that help them operate in a diverse multicloud environment. They want to cut across discrete clouds with a common framework, so there is consistency of usability, management, and application experience. Instead of clouds being managed as silos, organizations need intelligence to drive a common approach around four key areas that enable consistency in application experience, operations, and infrastructure.
- First, management is of utmost importance as organizations want the ability to more easily manage traditional and cloud native applications to ensure performance, security, and compliance.
- Second, rock-solid security is vital as protecting users, data and applications across multiple clouds can be challenging, but is absolutely critical to both an organization and their end-users.
- Third, analytics bring important insights into an organization’s cloud portfolio, which can be used to improve security as well as the customer experience.
- Finally, ensuring the network is built for scale, agility and secure user-cloud access will improve performance between clouds.
As cloud providers continue to expand and release new capabilities, utilizing multiple providers to implement various infrastructure and application functionalities is a favorable option for organizations looking to increase agility and performance. However, capabilities expand, integration complexities between multiple providers also increase. To address this, organizations should ensure cloud strategies are designed and architected for a multicloud world with a consistent intelligence framework of management, security, analytics and the network.
By Kip Compton, Vice President, Cloud Platform and Services Group, Cisco
Kip Compton is responsible for driving Cisco’s multicloud infrastructure strategy designed to help customers create and manage both public and private cloud environments. Kip's team builds and delivers secure hybrid cloud infrastructure, platforms, and services.
Kip holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a Master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a MBA degree from the Wharton School. He holds multiple patents in the areas of digital video, content security, and networking.