How to Navigate the Challenges of a Multi-Cloud Environment

By Jim Fagan, Head of Global Platforms, Product & Technology, Telstra [ASX: TLS]

Jim Fagan, Head of Global Platforms, Product & Technology, Telstra [ASX: TLS]

As cloud services continue to proliferate, they present both a threat and opportunity to businesses in every industry across the world. These services and solutions continue to profoundly evolve and redefine the way we work and interact with technology at an ever-increasing pace.

To take advantage of this cloud evolution and not be left behind, the dominant IT strategy businesses around the world are implementing a multi-cloud approach. If implemented properly, this strategy provides numerous advantages to an organization.

A multi-cloud strategy allows businesses to select best-in-breed cloud solutions that fit 'their business objectives, whether utilizing Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) or both. In addition, a multi-cloud environment provides the opportunity to combine the management, migration, and governance of both legacy and cloud workloads through a combination of public and private cloud services. The agility of this solution stretches beyond the aforementioned benefits by providing additional resiliency, reduced data lock-in risk, and flexibility on pricing and cost models.

However, the introduction of multiple vendors and services into your IT ecosystem creates a set of challenges that if not addressed, has the potential to more than outweigh the benefits of a multi-cloud approach. Multi-cloud does create complexity around interoperability, governance, security, and networking.

A cloudy approach

Embarking on a multi-cloud mission brings with it challenges. Ironically, one of the greatest advantages of multi-cloud also presents one of its greatest difficulties. Multi-cloud awards organizations the ability to deploy a unique environment for every mission-critical business application, but in achieving this, also adds several layers of management complexity.

As is the case with any large-scale deployment, extending the number of cloud environments means extending the skills, tools, and knowledge required to run these environments efficiently.

The formula is rather simple in this sense. If an organization is using multiple cloud vendors, then they will need multiple skill-sets to manage the cloud. The more SaaS and IaaS solutions being deployed, the more critical employee skill-set and expertise becomes.

Even the simplest functions, can become muddied if vendors use drastically different methods or measures, as each platform will come equipped with individual portals, APIs, and processes that require management.

Finding the fix

Those looking to gain the convenience and benefits of cloud often experience the hassle of having to navigate directly with individual cloud partners. This is where key cloud management tools have emerged to consolidate complex multi-cloud environments, helping to mitigate the risk of straining resources, cost creep, or compliance issues.

Leapfrogging bottlenecks and the other shortcomings of traditional networks is also critical to a successful multi-cloud strategy. This is where software defined networks (SDN) play a major role, enabling networks to move beyond being a ‘black box’ to offering flexibility and transparency that can be switched on via APIs and automation. With SDN, businesses can now set the appropriate network parameters on an application basis to ensure the right performance, security, and compliance.

It is therefore unsurprising the global SDN market is tipped to grow from $5 billion AUD this year to over $77 billion by 2022 (MarketsandMarkets).

Case Study

One Australian organization that established a multi-cloud management platform to help expand its presence overseas is Carsales, Australia’s largest online automotive, motorcycle, and marine classifieds business. Carsales turned to Telstra to find a solution to help its international expansion. By putting a multi-cloud infrastructure in place, Carsales was able to distribute its IT network internationally, significantly boosting operational efficiencies.

With Telstra and Equinix in place, the Carsales operation has been able to gain better visibility of business operations across consolidated systems and can now directly interconnect its enterprise systems, cloud service providers and customers for enhanced performance.

This is because SDN completely transforms the customer experience of networking, connecting to the cloud and other exchange providers, via automated, on-demand and near real-time provisioning, as well as consumption-based pricing for network usage. This flexibility allows customers to optimize their IT and expand into global markets with greater speed and control.

The benefits of a multi-cloud strategy are vast but navigating the plethora of different vendors and eco-systems requires the right vision. It is our mission to disrupt the traditional networking paradigm, helping businesses build the necessarily connected eco-systems to drive innovation and deliver new levels of efficiency and agility.

Carsales Case Study & Tpn

• It acts as a multi-cloud management platform bringing all resources under a single umbrella.

• Customers have turned to the Telstra and Equinix innovation to solve integration challenges. One such example of this is ‘Carsales’ who looked to this solution to help expand its presence overseas. Telstra was already playing a critical role as the customer’s telecommunications provider, as well as supplying TPN to enable flexible provisioning of bandwidth for short term spikes in customer demand Putting the right infrastructure in place has enabled Carsales to distribute its IT network internationally, helping drive operational efficiencies. With Telstra and Equinix, Carsales has been able to:

• Gain better visibility of business operations across consolidated technology systems – including financing, registration, marketing, and price projections – to all its office locations.

• Directly interconnect its enterprise systems, cloud service providers and customers for enhanced performance.

• Telstra Programmable Network (TPN) has been delivering the potential of SDN in Australia and across other major cities in the world. Its recent API integration with Equinix Cloud Exchange FabricTM(ECX-F) expands the reach of its customers and increases the level of automation already present. Customers can now rapidly establish on-demand private connectivity to run hybrid-cloud workloads on AWS, Azure, Google, Oracle, SAP and many more Cloud Service Providers within the Equinix Ecosystem of partners globally.

• Our world-first partnership with Equinix represents a significant step change in customer experience, providing a comprehensive list of cloud providers, and near-instant simple set-up. It empowers customers with greater confidence to deliver on their infrastructure strategy.

• Simplicity – With TPN as a single platform for core network and cloud access, customers can greatly simplify their complex IT environments, while benefiting from on-demand, scalable, pay-as-you-go cloud and network services.

Conclusion

• TPN completely transforms the customer experience of networking, connecting to cloud and other exchange providers, via automated, on-demand and near real-time provisioning, as well as consumption-based pricing for network usage. This flexibility allows customers to optimise their IT and expand into global markets with greater speed and control.

• Our mission is to disrupt the traditional networking paradigm, help businesses build the necessary connected eco-systems to drive innovation, and deliver new levels of efficiency and agility.

Weekly Brief

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