The importance of cloud-transforming technologies Posted on January 26, 2017 by Tim Burke Did you know that the typical cloud user leverages six clouds on average and 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid clouds this year? Here, then, is a quick look at the transformative change now occurring under the hybrid, multi-cloud hood: Accelerated cloud workload automation For the sake of platform-independence, cloud workload automation is reaching above the orchestration layer to ease application management and accelerate app delivery by speeding up both initial deployment and ongoing DevOps integration. Among the capabilities: self-service provisioning and automation as well as programmable networks that make much faster work of rolling out new operational sites. Microservices and containers Virtual machines are giving way to microservices – assorted discrete, single-function services assembled into applications – that run in containers. Moving virtualization from the machine level to the application level makes applications much more portable across hybrid cloud, on-premises infrastructures, and even multi-cloud environments. The challenge: How to manage and orchestrate those microservices, especially in hybrid and multi-clouds with diverse workloads. Containers hold much promise, but they’re very dynamic and short-lived, generating much unpredictable traffic flow. So you’ll need a solid container strategy that addresses network access and security patching, image management, service discovery, and monitoring. Beyond SDN: network function virtualization SDNs (software-defined networks) have been used to unite hybrid cloud and IT environments, but SDN can be extremely complex. An easier approach is NFV (network function virtualization), in which services such as firewalls, load balancing, and intrusion prevention systems are moved from dedicated hardware into a virtualized environment – e.g., as virtual appliances. NFV has some notable advantages: NFV virtual networking and security appliances make it easier to control the likes of DNS, IP addressing schemes, and routing choices; With NFV, a cloud environment can be treated as a network extension, making possible use of familiar networking technologies, tools, and vendors; and NFV is becoming the preferred enabler of containerization. Hyperconverged infrastructure for that private cloud Building all that a cloud requires can be daunting. By packaging pre-integrated compute and storage resources needed for a cloud’s advanced virtualization, automation, self-service access, standardization, and resource monitoring, HCI (hyperconverged infrastructure) solutions make it easier to construct the private portion of a hybrid cloud environment. Complexity that simplifies Yes, it’s complex – ironically so, because when it’s done right, the face of that complexity can be elegantly simple, delivering significant cost efficiencies and agile access to rich business opportunities. To keep your business out front, turn to a cloud technology provider with deep expertise at the cloud’s bleeding edge.