Managing Multiple Clouds
There are a variety of elements to administering a multi-cloud (multiple cloud) environment, a multi-cloud does not exclude ‘Hybrid Cloud’ nor does it only relate to businesses who depend wholly and completely on third party hosting providers for their IT workloads. You can read more about the kinds of clouds typically available here.
Managing clouds is essential, as it is your business data and intellectual property which exists on these systems, from emails and CRM to your shop-front in the form of a website. Many firms in a rush to save money from using cloud technologies actually spend more, due to poor planning and a lack of understanding of how these services are billed.
Many clouds will use tools such as Kubernetes or Docker (or both) in order to deliver cloud-services, with each enabling a service-provider to put each of the services you use in a ‘bubble’ (we tend to refer to these as containers). There are a vast amount of resources available to explore these cutting-edge technologies, but alongside these you have the more standard ‘rent a server’ (Infrastructure-As-A-Service) approach, or virtual desktops (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) such as paying someone to host a server for you.
Where you are using the more traditional approach, you are either making use of a physical server with which you have remote access to, or a virtualised server which is more efficient for the service provider and normally cheaper for you. You can of course make use a physical server to then host virtual servers or services on them too.
There comes a challenge here though, which is that making use of diverse supplier strengths when using a cloud can be difficult. In fact, most firms in 2023 are not very far along the cloud maturity model with only one publicly hosted cloud provider.
Remember that a Public Cloud is simply one that you rent, it can still be secured with the right investments and making use of a suite of mature providers enhances your offering to customers (and offers cost-savings for your business).
So, what do you us to manage multiple clouds?
There are as always a plethora of tools you can use, for example there is an ‘upstream’ project called ManageIQ which exists to manage virtual workloads in any given cloud. These tools exist because of huge demand, and the technology is open.
You will see on their list of partners that a significant body of partners will use the technology to offer enterprise editions: IBM’s platform CloudPaks is one example of many. This means that the technology is both Open Source for those organisations with limited budget or skills, as well as available as an enterprise tool which leverages more complex automation technologies and unique expertise.
This is true of Red Hat Ansible Automation as well – there is an ‘upstream’ project, Ansible, which is still effective and offers an element of that productivity gain. In fact, for these tools you will often find a vendor recommends that you use the open-source version first to build internal skills and familiarity. Our technology partner Red Hat certainly does, because once you start using the tool you can see the value-add of tackling automation using enterprise toolsets.
Another provider known as VMWare also have a similar platform although the offering is less public, that is to say it is proprietary, and so is harder to evaluate before you buy. There are many tools available, most cloud service providers will want you to use ‘their’ tool because that means you are bed-in with them, as opposed to being able to freely administer your business’ IT systems.
You can see that there are a range of tools, readily available and often pre-configured to save you headaches, simply available for your use. The tech is definitely there, mature and trusted by hosting providers who work with every level of society and use-case.
Managing multiple clouds is easier than you think
You would be surprised to know that even global datacentre providers are themselves very early on in their cloud journey. They are not developing software, systems and processes in a cloud – public, private or hybrid. Many technology companies themselves are unable to really make use of tools, which as you saw above are technically freely available and very simple to configure.
Why? It is often a lack of vision, planning and understanding. You would be surprised to know that Microsoft are heavily dependent on Google and Red Hat technologies to actually operate their Azure cloud i.e. it isn’t Microsoft technology which you are benefitting from. Kubernetes was invented by Google, and Red Hat Ansible Automation is the platform which lets you automate in Microsoft Azure.
If you know the foundational technologies which build the world you operate in, that is a competitive advantage that other firms simply choose not to develop. This decision is conscious, not because of cost but because of a skills-shortage engendered by poor employee retention. If you can keep good people, good things tend to happen for the business.
Software is an essential part of increasing the efficacy of your systems and processes, productivity today is about doing things right the first time – and automating it. OpenShift is used by major banks to do exactly that, ensuring customers are retained and new customers flock to your business.
As stated before, Microsoft are major beneficiaries of the Ansible Automation Platform, allowing them to sell on automated cloud services to their customers.
It has been done time and again, those firms who do not adopt automation tech will fail fundamentally lose business.
So many businesses are either not aware of these readily available technologies or never plan to implement them. Hayachi Services have helped numerous businesses adopt powerful automation technologies and it all starts with an honest and frank conversation, and a roadmap.
You do not need to do anything fancy, just think about what, where and why and the answers will come. Managing your clouds more effectively will let you go to market faster, more prepared and more cost-effective than your competition.
If you are a cloud engineer then we may be preaching to the choir here, and yet so many businesses will take on a Security Operations Centre and adopt a SIEM… without ever having a similar capability to manage their cloud workloads.
If you fall into this category then please think again, you are painting yourself, your business and perhaps your clients into a corner. By not using open architecture, you are instead removing your competitive advantage for years to come.