by Nick Lippis
It’s clear that Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Oracle and other cloud providers are building out their services at speed to keep up with demand. In that process, and mostly due out of necessity, they are building their own cloud stacks. That is, each cloud is proprietary and will be so for a very long time. In addition to being proprietary, there is a lack of trust or security and reliability when hosting workloads in the cloud. On top of that, public cloud is not lower cost for all workloads and having different stacks for every cloud provider increases IT operational cost. So why are Global 2000 firms interested in cloud providers? Two things: Agility and Global footprint to gain the all-important digital transformation effect. It’s vendors like Arista that are delivering hybrid multi-cloud solutions to assure consistent connectivity, security, automation plus monitoring and analytics in a proprietary multi-cloud stack world.
For the ONUG Global 2000, access to instantaneous capacity and global reach are two attractive attributes that cloud providers deliver. One of the main drivers for these attributes is digital transformation or a company’s initiatives to participate in the digital economy. Yes, digital transformation puts to work many technologies in an effort to generate new revenue, but its all enabled by IT. For IT, the cloud is its most potent tool to deliver digital transformation effects. So, how are the Global 2000 to use cloud services if favorable economics are uncertain, less secure and reliable? The answer is to build a bridge(s) from private clouds and data centers to multiple public clouds that address security and reliability concerns. The ONUG Community calls this hybrid multi-clouds. Most in the ONUG Community are building these bridges but many are stuck on a few architecture details.
In late September of this year, Arista Networks announced its “Any Cloud Platform for Hybrid Cloud Networking” initiative. Now ONUG’s view of the challenges of hybrid multicloud is greater than Arista’s offering, but it is the only company that is addressing all of the challenges at the network level; that’s impressive. The ONUG Community has focused on use cases that address hybrid mulitcloud’s lack of security, automation, connectivity, monitoring and analytics. Arista delivers a solution that spans all these areas. Let’s take a look.
Multi-Cloud Connect: Every cloud provider offers a different way to connect to them. They do BGP and route discovery slightly different, and some even require static routing. This causes connectivity allocation problems of VPCs/VNETs and their communications, especially when located in different cloud providers. This causes each Global 2000 company to develop unique connectivity solutions for each cloud provider. To address this problem, Arista offers its Cloud-Grade Routing known as vEOS router, which is a single EOS image that spans public and private clouds. vEOS offers proven routing, secure tunneling and APIs for programmability. vEOS is available in KVM and VMware hypervisors and is packaged for each cloud provider; that is, AWS, Azure, Oracle, GCP available in their respective marketplaces. There is even a version of EOS for containers to simulate and test a large-scale hybrid multi-cloud network before deploying in production.
Security and Monitoring/Analytics are two sides of the same coin. Arista approaches the problem in this way; that is, good visibility enables the identification of anomalistic behavior. First, let talk trust then reliability.
Cloud Trust/Security: A new security model is needed for the cloud era. First traditional network security doesn’t scale, thanks to security being built upon aging ACLs in hardware and software that present scaling and operational concerns. The ONUG Software-Defined Security Services (S-DSS) Working Group Initiative has developed a hybrid multi-cloud specific framework. This framework is intent based and wraps policy around workloads, independent upon host model that is bare metal, hypervisor, container and serverless. Policy enforcement is local to the workload and independent upon its physical location, be it on or off premises.
Trust and security are the two fundamental gating factors keeping workloads within the walls of private data centers. If trust and security were as tight as private clouds, then economics will drive the decision to move workload, and for many, the cost of refactoring or cloudifing three-tier workloads would be favorable. Without trust and security, the vast major of workloads will stay private.
Cloud Reliability/Monitoring & Analytics: To increase reliability of workloads that are either on or off premises and, in many cases, distributed between both, monitoring, visibility and analytics of these workloads’ performance plus their dependency maps is needed. The ONUG Monitoring and Analytics (M&A) Working Group Initiative has developed a framework that consists of an architecture that collects and derives information from physical and virtual infrastructure (e.g., compute, storage, network, management systems) and applications, independent upon physical location, be it on or off premises (e.g., public cloud). Data is ingested into a data warehouse or data lake so that data and event visualization and correlation, monitoring and other operational use cases are possible in the operationalizing of the infrastructure.
Arista addresses trust and reliability in a multi-cloud world with its CloudVision and Cloud Tracer products that span multiple cloud providers. CloudVision has been expanded to be multi-cloud. It includes zero touch provisioning to automate the spinning up of routing services. It also automates change management so that operational teams are not interacting with multi-cloud provider management systems to change connectivity configurations. One of the most important attributes of CloudVision is its real-time telemetry that spans across all instances of EOS providing time-stamped state streaming. An analytics engine provides the tool to mind this state data for correlation analytics and anomaly detection. Arista is working on a range of visualization applications to better manage a hybrid multi-cloud environment. The new technology that Arista is offering is its Cloud Tracer, which provides visibility and availability metrics that are tracked across multiple clouds independent upon type of connectivity that is via secure VPNs or direct connections.
Arista is surely one of the key companies that is delivering a portfolio of products that contribute to the building of hybrid multi-cloud structures for the large enterprise market. As IT in the Global 2000 is shifting toward a system integrator model, those firms that offer open published APIs and whose solutions are built for the cloud will find a warm reception. Arista is one of those firms.
The ONUG Community of Global 2000 concerns are building a bridge from their private clouds to public clouds. As cloud providers have little-to-no interest in building a common set of cloud services, enterprise IT departments are left to develop their own hybrid cloud solutions made from a wide range of vendors. This market reality presents a great opportunity for the vendor community to construct bridges to various cloud providers for each Global 2000 firm, much like Arista is doing.
At ONUG Fall hosted by GE in NYC on Oct 17th and 18th, you can join the ONUG Community to navigate the cloud era with your peers and see Proofs of Concept (PoCs) from many vendors providing solutions for trust, connectivity, automation and reliability of hybrid multi-cloud stacks. You can learn more about Arista’s approach to hybrid cloud networking by attending Arista’s tutorial on “building hybrid multi-cloud networks” on Oct 17th at ONUG in NYC hosted by GE; register here
Nick Lippis is an authority on corporate computer networking. He has designed some for the largest computer networks in the world. He has advised many Global 2000 firms on network strategy, architecture, equipment, services and implementation including Hughes Aerospace, Barclays Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Eastman Kodak Company, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Liberty Mutual, Schering-Plough, Sprint, WorldCom, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and a wide range of other equipment suppliers and service providers.
Mr. Lippis is uniquely positioned to comment, analyze and observe computer networking industry trends and developments. At Lippis Enterprises, Inc., Nick works with entrepreneurs evaluating new business opportunities in enterprise networking and serves as an independent investor and advisor.