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Why automation is key in managing multi-cloud complexity

Thu 8 Mar 2018 | Scott Sneddon

Multi cloud

Scott Sneddon, Senior Director, Cloud and SDN (Global Solutions and Business Transformation) at Juniper Networks discusses how businesses can best manage a complex multi-cloud environment

There are many reasons why businesses are increasingly turning to a multi-cloud strategy. Frequently there is a requirement for data to be stored on-premise verses off. Often developers want to take advantage of specific features offered by a particular public cloud provider, such as Google’s TPUs, Azure’s AzureStack, or AWS’ Lamda or GreenGrass. Sometimes proximity to users matters for an application’s performance, driving businesses to choose a public cloud provider based on the physical location of their data centers.

In almost every case, there is a need to support existing application infrastructure while a business evolves their cloud footprint. And businesses traditionally look to multiple suppliers for IT goods and services to gain pricing leverage and to avoid vendor lock-in, which is a good practice to continue when choosing cloud providers.

Each of these cloud platforms, whether they are public or private, all approach operations differently. They all have their own APIs and automation frameworks, all provide different tools to secure workloads, and all approach network connectivity differently.

Adopting DevOps methodologies are a great start, but don’t forget about network and security processes

As businesses begin to leverage multi-cloud, they need to train the relevant teams and adapt processes to each specific cloud. They must ensure that security policies are consistently applied in each environment, using inconsistent tools. And they need to figure out how to architect network topologies that fit the application requirements. Unfortunately, security and networking teams often need to compromise or re-architect proven standards to adapt to the services that are provided by public clouds.

Additionally, tracking utilization and performance in a multi-cloud environment can be overwhelming. Each cloud platform provides metering and performance monitoring. But collecting all of that data into a central place where businesses can have the visibility they need to make intelligent decisions is very challenging.

Automation is key. Businesses should approach automation end-to-end. Adopting DevOps methodologies are a great start, but don’t forget about network and security processes. DevNetSecOps is the right approach, where each of these teams is an active part of the process and none are a roadblock to getting things done.

devops-lifecycle-1Consistency and openness is also extremely important. Businesses should look at third-party tools for automation frameworks, monitoring and analytics, network connectivity, and security enforcement. The cloud providers may offer these tools natively within their platforms. But if businesses adopt architectures and practices to a particular cloud provider’s tools, they can become more and more locked-in to that cloud provider.

Choosing open tools and solutions can help a business develop operational processes that are much more portable, consistent, and simpler to manage.

The companies that are leading the charge to multi-cloud are rapidly evolving their internal teams and processes. They are breaking down traditional operational silos, and are building cross-functional teams that are empowered to get things done quickly. They are adopting agile development techniques not just into the traditional DevOps teams, but also into network and security teams.

These companies are leveraging infrastructure-as-code techniques to embed network and security policy directly into their automation processes. And they are leveraging analytics platforms to gain visibility into these multi-cloud environments and feeding that data into their automation processes.

This is helping businesses move not just towards multi-cloud, but towards self-driving cloud.

CEEL_Date_UK_2018_CMYK-copy-191x160Scott will be speaking at the forthcoming Cloud Expo Europe, taking place at London’s ExCeL on 21st – 22nd March. Come and hear from Scott and meet the Juniper Networks team on Stand C2158 – register for your FREE ticket here.

Experts featured:

Scott Sneddon

Senior Director, Cloud and SDN (Global Solutions and Business Transformation)
Juniper Networks


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