Last month my colleague Brett Ley outlined in his blog how the complexity of the cloud can creep up on you. The blog discussed how cloud service providers are facing increasing complexity as they transition to multicloud and the need to meet the customer expectations of a "Now Now World".
In a webinar last week myself, Ben Williams and Kevin Fibich (CEO and founder of Cloudseeds) discussed our thoughts on Three Simple, Yet Powerful Strategies to Remove Operational Complexity in the Cloud (available here).
Many cloud service providers are highly automated within the compute and storage environment. But when it comes to the networking, security and service orchestration parts of the business many cloud service providers are much less automated. The lower levels of automation are generally due to working across many different technology boundaries. There are multiple cloud platforms (e.g. AWS, Azure, GCP, or your own private cloud) and different application strategies such as virtual machines, containers, or even bare metal servers. Automation across all of these is often limited, leading to operational complexity.
Instead of seeking to fully automate everything in the ecosystem it may be best to take an approach where you consider looking at three separate domains, and then focusing upon removing operational complexity within each of them independently.
The webinar outlined how you can take a strategy to focus upon removing complexity in the areas of
Within each of these areas it is critical to focus upon creating a single software environment to manage all operations. To do that requires high levels of automation. To achieve this, it will require working across multiple different tools and vendors, so embracing open standards will be critical.
It is worth briefly focussing upon security. which is often seen as a separate, or bolt-on activity. But in an efficient and dynamic cloud environment there are new challenges. The traditional perimeter model does not scale effectively. Instead security needs to be more distributed, but also consistent across all applications and networks. To do this you need to have a single software centric approach to define a security policy for an application that can be simply and automatically applied independently of the environment e.g. VM, container, public cloud.
To help achieve all of this we set out a number of guiding principles that should also be applied. In addition to the obvious principles of driving automation and embracing multiple tools there were two other principles which I think are critical in this area.
Separate hardware and software: by taking an overlay / underlay approach you can minimise dependencies between the hardware which has a longer refresh cycle and the software which typically changes much faster
Keep changing: it is impossible to stand still in this dynamic market, so you need to move to a culture where the business is constantly learning, embracing new technologies, and seeing out best of breed solutions
This blog has only scratched the surface on these topics. In the webinar and eGuide we discuss in much more detail the challenges in each of these areas, and how you can develop strategies to remove operational complexity.
The webinar also contains some great insights from Kevin Fibich, CEO and founder of Cloudseeds, on how his business has worked with Juniper to reduce operational complexity in their cloud platform.
If you're interested in finding out more about this topic please visit this page, where you can access the recent webinar or download the eGuide.