Hybrid clouds are still popular.
Or more accurately, hybrid cloud deployments are on the rise again. In 2019, Flexera found that 58 percent of businesses now have a hybrid cloud deployment. That is a rise from only 51 percent the year before.
Enter Multi-Cloud Environments
Because of the rise of containers, microservices, and cloud-native architectures, multi-cloud deployments are rising. Containerization gives you the agility, portability, and speed you need when you undergo digital transformation.
Think about it: You only need to create an app once and then be able to run it everywhere you want. You have services and apps that can run on a variety of cloud platforms.
According to Turbonomic’s 2019 State of Multicloud results, around 83 percent of respondents think that workloads will be able to move freely across cloud services. Approximately 43 percent also indicate that they plan to run containerized services and apps within 18 months.
What’s more, the Flexera results show that while more businesses are looking into and adopting hybrid cloud deployments compared to previous years, a good 31 percent of them are making public cloud a priority. Further, 84 percent of their respondents are using a multi-cloud strategy.
What About Containers?
As for Kubernetes and containers, Portworx and Aqua Security found that more than a majority, or 87 percent, of organizations are now using container technologies. It was only at 55 percent two years before.
The rise is also seen in real life. The KubeCon + Cloud NativeConNorth America welcomed more than 8,000 attendees in 2018, with a waitlist of more than 1,000. 73 percent of these attendees are first-timers.
The Difference between Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud
Some people say that hybrid cloud and multi-cloud are the same. Others contend that it’s different.
It’s easy to lump these two concepts together, but there is a clear difference. Hybrid clouds are when you use both public and private cloud deployments.
On the other hand, multi-cloud is when you use only public cloud services from a number of providers or when your deployments are spread across different regions of the same cloud service.
Some users may consider hybrid clouds as a security risk, but it’s easy to set up. And you can mostly forget about it once it’s up and running. Multi-cloud environments are even more straightforward when it comes to setting up, plus it’s more dynamic.
Hybrid clouds have been around since 2015. It was heavily promoted by both HP and IBM as the vehicle for digital transformation. At present, more than a hundred multi-national corporations around the world are using hybrid clouds.
Multi-cloud environments sprouted up more recently due to the rise of containers such as Kubernetes.
The Bottom Line: Benefits of Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Strategies and How Containers Help
Hybrid clouds allow you to develop apps and tools in environments and platforms that you know. You have public-facing resources on a public cloud, and you get the security and development tools you need. All that while, you can keep your more sensitive data onsite.
The use of multi-cloud deployments is primarily driven by the fact that IT wants to use the best. Different providers have their own strengths and weaknesses. Having a multi-cloud approach allows you to take advantage of various providers’ strengths.
However, this scenario also gives rise to problems with compatibility, as one cloud service might not play well with another. In this case, containers can help. Containers can help bridge the various services you use, either with hybrid or multi-cloud deployments. It’s faster and needs less computing power than when you use virtual machines.
Containers are more scalable and portable, plus they run on the operating system kernel. As such, these containers are lightweight and faster to start up.
What’s more, containers allow you to isolate applications. If you make a mistake with one app, you don’t have to worry about damaging the entire system.
Are Containers Needed in Hybrid Cloud and Multi-Cloud Deployments?
You can set up both cloud environments without containers, but it will be much easier when you use boxes. You are going to connect multiple cloud services. Containers allow portability to come into the mix, making setup less rigid and a whole lot simpler.
Widgets and abstractions are going to be part of it. Widgets ensure that things are portable, while abstractions are needed to support this. For example, you need abstractions when you work with microservices where each component has an independent life cycle and stack.
This is true as new technologies move from mere concepts to reality. For instance, edge computing will drive the need for the fastest performance, and we can expect client-side cloud deployments or on-demand services to be offered soon. This is to help bring about the performance you need for excellent real-time customer experience.
Cloud Management Tools
When hybrid clouds first became popular, service providers rose to the challenge. Today, hybrid clouds are still an active sub-segment of the DevOps tools industry.
But because of its “newness”, cloud management tools for multi-cloud environments are still catching up with times. What’s more, multi-cloud environments are not that tightly integrated. You can have templates for the configuration, but production is still very much separate from each other.
Cloud management tools also have the tendency to use unique configurations that are needed to manage your clouds and how the templates are designed, made, and stored. These tools make your deployments visible, which is necessary.
Visibility of all your deployments across a variety of services will allow you to see what you have, what has been done, and where it is currently in the UI.
You also get visibility into the various providers in the marketplace, as well as your capacity to customize your cloud implementations so that you can quickly deploy it on any platform that supports it.
You will, however, also need automated monitoring tools that can track everything across different cloud environments.
As such, while you can configure multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments without thinking about Kubernetes, containers, or container orchestration, you will have to sacrifice portability in the process. That’s like throwing one of the most important benefits of having a hybrid or multi-cloud environments.
Photo courtesy of FutUndBeidl.