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Tag Archive: multi-cloud

  1. How to Manage a Successful Multi-cloud Strategy

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    This piece originally appeared on Sand Hill.

    Cloud computing, by its very nature, does not limit choices nearly to the same degree that previous data center revolutions have. It used to be that you had to choose between A and B; but with a multi-cloud strategy, you can have both. The trick, then, becomes how to manage multiple clouds over time. How do you decide which applications should go where and who gets access to various resources? When is it time to move off one cloud to another, and what are the odds that you’ll have the same answer for every one of your applications? Start by asking yourself these questions.

    Where are you now?

    Just about every company has some cloud deployments, whether IT knows about them or not, and the first step is to get an inventory of what is being used by whom and why. More than likely what you’ll find is that there is demand for self-service, on-demand access to application deployments and that the specific benefits of a particular cloud pale in comparison. Speed kills in today’s business environment; and for any team, especially those in the line of business, the ability to iterate stands above all else.

    What clouds do you want to consider?

    That inventory you collected will act as a guide here, as will your current data center capabilities. Public clouds are easy to try before utilizing them heavily. Private clouds are more difficult due to your being responsible for the setup yourself, unless you go with a managed option of some sort where a trusted third party comes in and maintains that layer on your behalf.

    Which applications should go where?

    With your application inventory in hand, make a rough sketch of which ones should go on your private cloud targets and which are more appropriate for public.

    Data Privacy Sensitivity chart (Cisco)

    One way to think about this is to plot the workload demand along a Y-axis with the data privacy sensitivity along the X-axis. Applications that have high data privacy sensitivity and/or constant workload demands fit best on a private cloud, where the data can be protected behind a firewall and capital-expensed in-house equipment can be highly utilized. For applications without data sensitivity issues or ones that have wide variances in demand, a public cloud target is best.

    Who gets to do what, where?

    No multi-cloud strategy is complete without considering the people who will be using it, and that means well beyond the traditional IT administrator. End users of all skill levels are desperate for self-service, on-demand resources; and if you don’t offer it as part of your multi-cloud strategy, your user community will go elsewhere. Figure out who needs to deploy what and where you want to let them do so under different circumstances.

    Putting it together with a Cloud Management Platform

    With your application inventory collected, initial deployment targets decided, and who needs to deploy what in place, it is time to put together the whole picture with a Cloud Management Platform (CMP). This emerging class of software enables an IT department to model applications in a format that reuses existing assets and is portable across different cloud targets while enabling the IT administrator to put some limitations on that with governance and metering/billing.

    Ideally, the CMP should enable you to benchmark applications on different cloud platforms so you can make informed choices on what applications should go where for those versatile enough to go in either public or private clouds. It should give you a view of your current world of Virtual Machine (VM) management to ease the transitional period in a way that lets you assign quotas of VM or dollar usage that will work for your current state of loosely deployed VMs and the future state of VMs deployed within the context of the application inventory. Your CMP ought to provide role-based access control so you can flexibly implement who is allowed to deploy what, where.

    Selling your multi-cloud strategy to your internal stakeholders

    Finally, none of the components of a multi-cloud strategy matter if others don’t buy into it. Fortunately, there is plenty here for a wide variety of roles to get excited about.

    • IT admins – Maintain control of a multi-cloud environment unobtrusively
    • LOB users – Get self-service, on-demand resources whenever they want
    • Developers – Deploy new builds as needed without a lengthy ticketing process
    • Security architects – Codify knowledge into every application deployment, automatically
    • CFOs – Highly utilize capital investment in the data center, drive better ROI calculations on the public cloud

    With the help of a CMP, any organization can implement a sound multi-cloud strategy that satisfies the needs of all these constituents, and more.

    Pete Johnson is the technical solutions architect for cloud in the global partner organization at Cisco Systems Inc. He is a 20+-year tech industry veteran and can be found on Twitter at @nerdguru.

     

  2. CloudCenter + Cisco ACI: Resource Links

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    It’s official. CliQr is now part of the Cisco family. I’ve presented the CliQr CloudCenter + Cisco ACI overview at several local ACI roadshow events. And gotten many requests for additional information about the joint solution.

    Here’s a summary list of CloudCenter + ACI resources you can add to your toolbox.

    Toolbox

    Product Page – has wide range of CloudCenter resources.

    Start with these

    At a Glance – CloudCenter + ACI joint solution overview (2 page)

    Video Demo – CloudCenter + ACI (4 min)

    Expand your knowledge

    White paper – 3x Use Cases and Value (12 pages)

    Video Demo – CloudCenter + ACI (4 min)

    Video Demo Cisco’s Carly Stoughton integrated demo (12 min)

    Video Demo WWT’s Joe Weber integrated demo with VMware vCenter role (11 min)

    Preparing to deploy

    White paper – Deployment topologies and requirements (15 pages)

     

     

     

  3. A Successful Multi-Cloud Strategy Depends On One Thing: Simplicity

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    Companies are adopting the cloud at an unprecedented rate. In a recent report by Dimensional Research, of 650 global IT professionals, 91 percent will deploy a new workload to cloud this year; 77 percent will deploy to multiple clouds; 45 percent will deploy cloud-based apps to co-lo providers.

    Clearly, decision makers are no longer talking about a single hybrid cloud solution where their datacenter is linked to one public cloud. They’re adopting a multi-cloud solution.

    What’s driving the trend?

    Simply put, it’s the needs of the business. Recent quotes from a couple of IT executives shed light on this:

     “I want to be able to tell our business units, ‘If you want to stand up services on the NBC private cloud, go ahead. We have the technologies and the operating processes to do that. And when it’s time to move appropriate workloads to a public cloud, we have the technologies and the operational processes to do that too.’”

    – Eric Craig, CTO, NBC Universal

    “My goal for hybrid cloud infrastructure is to provide a “brokerage service” for IT functions such as server provisioning and application provisioning. We want to not only provide internal services on demand, but the flexibility to move in and out of the cloud down the road. How do I make internal services as flexible as an AWS or Azure? How do I make our business look at us like a service?”

    Paul Reyes, Vice President of IT I&O, Energy Future Holdings

    IT wants to be a strategic partner with the business. They want to offer flexibility to meet changing business needs. Call it IT-as-a-Service. Call it hybrid cloud. Or, just call it multi-cloud. Whatever you call it, the key is that we want solutions that are best “fit for purpose,” considering various business needs. No single approach will meet all needs, hence the multi-cloud strategy.

    I’ve said before that we’re still in the early stages of the cloud game. It’s a complex, evolving competition whose rules seem to change from inning to inning. IT executives want to offer IT services that are a best fit for their business needs. One thing is certain in the cloud game: cloud strategies and IT service offerings will change over time. If you have a 5-part cloud strategy, 2 of those 5 parts will likely change in the next 18 months. Having the flexibility to shift strategy, do and then undo to meet changing business needs without lock-in and without penalty when you change your mind is what we need. That is what will win the game in the cloud era.

    It Gets Complicated

    Flexibility and ability to change is great in concept. But complexity gets in the way.

    Let’s say you start simple. You move a couple applications to AWS to leverage their global IaaS. But then you have various user roles that need access. Dev needs access, but production doesn’t want developers to have access once the workload moves to production. Then maybe you add multiple accounts on that cloud – one for the project office for strategic projects and another for production. Project office has a fixed annual budget, where production is pay per use. Perhaps workloads get spread across a couple availability zones. Then, perhaps you have another BU that wants to use a different cloud for their work.

    You get the picture. Even if you start with one application moved to the public cloud, you need to think about where this is likely headed.

    NTT Communications published a survey of nearly 1,600 Information and Communications Technology decision makers in Europe and the U.S. Forty-one percent of respondents said managing multiple cloud vendors is confusing. The same percentage also said moving complex applications was, “more trouble than it’s worth.” But at the same time, 90 percent of decision-makers say their most important applications will move to the cloud.

    There’s no doubt about it – businesses need a way to leverage the power and benefit of the cloud, while managing the operational risk. I’m not talking about cloud security. I’m talking about the challenge that comes from managing multiple applications, on multiple clouds, with multiple groups of users, and multiple accounts and financial control plans, with various cost reporting requirements.

    Simplify

    Organizations need consistency when it comes to multi-cloud. That consistency needs to start with cloud management.

    For the foreseeable future, any IT strategy that involves using public cloud should consider cloud-agnostic tools. Management and orchestration tools should not be tied to any particular cloud. They should also provide companies with the ability to manage applications with a common level of visibility and control across platforms, as well as manage users, and cloud accounts, and billing plans.

    So what should organizations look for in a multi-cloud tool? I have to agree with David Linthicum of InfoWorld.com: public cloud management should be decoupled from any specific public cloud provider. You don’t want to replace internal management silos (network, storage, compute) with public cloud IaaS, and then create new management silos (one for Amazon Web Services team and tools, one for VMware, one for Microsoft etc.)

    It’s complicated – but doesn’t have to be hard

    For a long time, I’ve championed the advantages of a federated cloud strategy. It’s why I think CliQr CloudCenter is the best multi-cloud management platform out there. CloudCenter is a single platform designed to deploy and manage application stacks on any supported cloud. Currently it can manage applications on more than 15+ datacenters, private cloud and public cloud environments.

    It is application-centric, unlike many infrastructure-centric cloud management platforms. It’s a combination of cloud agonistic application profile, with cloud-specify orchestrator, making it fast and easy to model, migrate, and manage applications without changing the application, without cloud-specific scripting, and new management silos. On top of that, it deploys full application stacks in a way that preserves portability.

    More importantly, CloudCenter gives organizations a consistent base for their clouds to work off of. And when you have consistency across a multi-cloud architecture, you have the basis for a winning strategy.

CliQr Technologies, CliQr CloudCenter and CloudBlades are trademarks of CliQr Technologies, Inc. All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.