Using a Multi Cloud Deployment Model

By CIOReview | Monday, May 8, 2017
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Today, there is an exponential increase in the adoption of multi cloud strategies including both public and private components to fight vendor lock-in, increase the diversity of available services and maintain control over particularly sensitive information. Using multiple clouds can help an organization achieve added resiliency, flexibility and save on costs. Still, the multi cloud approach can be complicated. Managing infrastructure configurations and applications across cloud stacks that do not share a common API and have very different service definitions and their billing models can be a complex task. As companies simultaneously move applications and data to the public cloud and integrate with SaaS providers, it's important for them to deploy services in a consistent and repeatable way.

Automation

Automating is an answer to the fundamental issues of scale, speed, costs and accuracy. Businesses find deployment across these varied platforms difficult largely due to a lack of tools with cross-platform intelligence. With the right strategies and automation tools, enterprises can seamlessly move workloads across clouds, taking advantage of the resiliency and flexibility of the multi cloud model. Cloud orchestration and automation makes it possible to move workloads from cloud to cloud.

There are numerous software and SaaS products specifically designed to automate infrastructure, deploy and manage applications across multiple clouds. There are also different multi-cloud management tools for handling workload migration at an operational level. While some of these products are focused on specific needs or functionalities, some of the most popular multi-cloud products embrace a DevOps approach to cloud management. This brings application programming into the world of infrastructure configuration and management. For example, Cliqr and Cloudify take an application-centric approach to cloud automation. Cloudify works like a platform as a service (PaaS) for deploying and managing full application lifecycles on public or hybrid infrastructure using diverse toolsets, without requiring code changes.

The plethora of feature-rich automation tools are designed for various cloud workloads, with multiple delivery models. The integration details with various major cloud services may vary depending on the automation platform. But the choice of product should depend on the scale of one’s infrastructure and skill of the IT team. SaaS technologies are simpler to deploy and operate and have more easy to use Web UI’s with templates.

Transitioning between Cloud Environments

If enterprises want to move applications, data and services among different providers as part of a continuous deployment strategy, then it is essential to have consistency and a level of efficiency for managing those disparate environments. Consistency matters because nothing stays still in the cloud for very long, including the apps and data provided and the actual infrastructures, services and pricing of each provider.

Technical reasons for fine-tuning a deployment strategy can range from availability of new services from one provider to bringing analytics services to where the data resides. It also includes a need to monitor deployments across multiple geographies to boost performance requirement to ensure that network communications paths avoid certain locales in order to protect data assets. On the other hand, non-technical reasons might include changes to a favorable pricing model and the ability of one cloud provider to follow an enterprise's compliance and governance requirements.

A certain amount of swinging between private and public clouds is natural in a multi cloud environment. But, it should be kept in mind that to design applications in a way that can handle changing deployment models, all the way down to managing the data and connecting to it is crucial. Initial decisions on the development side have to be handled in production for the long term, which also includes understanding the cost profile and recalculating on a regular basis.