ONUG: Leveraging the Benefits of Multi-Cloud Architectures

It’s no surprise the vast majority of organizations are using multi-cloud, according to a survey A10 Networks held with Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network. Multi-cloud architectures leverage the capabilities of both public and private clouds. They offer benefits, including expanded access to best-of-breed services, performance optimization, reduced costs, high availability and low latency. However, multi-cloud also comes with challenges. Applications delivered via diverse environments with diverse capabilities often suffer from performance inconsistencies, creating management headaches and jeopardizing the user experience. In addition, companies struggle to find staff with the right skills to manage this dynamic environment. 

Hybrid cloud solution experts Paul Nicholson and Taka Mitsuhata of A10 Networks addressed how companies can meet those challenges while leveraging the benefits of multi-cloud at the recent ONUG Digital Live event last May. They demonstrated how companies can use multi-cloud to distribute policy across an on-premise environment and a cloud environment in an easy manner. Watch their entire presentation here, or read the recap below. 

Multi-Cloud: Benefits and Challenges

While the majority of organizations are using multi-cloud, only 11% say they are highly successful in their deployments. Security concerns, lack of IT talent and complexity were mentioned as their biggest hurdles in the above-referenced survey. “Things like containers and microservices require certain skill sets, which might not be that common in organizations,” explained Nicholson. In addition, companies may not have the budget to hire an expert in each skill needed. “In many organizations, people are asked to do more than one task at a time,” continued Nicholson. 

Nicholson emphasized that we’ve moved on from early cloud adoption. It must now become mainstream and efficient. Organizations must be able to use multi-cloud to meet their digital road maps, achieve agility to do things quickly, as well as align with their business outcomes. Lastly, we must reduce complexity, maximize resources, reduce human error, and meet compliance and security mandates. All those goals rely on efficiently deploying multi-cloud.  Ultimately, the IT team regains control. 

A10’s Approach

A10 believes to master multi-cloud, you need a polynimbus approach, including the ability to provide application services in the cloud. From a full stack delivery controller to gaining very granular visibility, a polynimbus approach gives you insight down to the object layer. For example, if you receive an error, you can simply drill down, identify the server and isolate the object causing the problem. This approach also enables you to look at latency, from the client to the load balancer, and from the load balancer to the applications. 

Nicholson next detailed the evolution of application delivery controls (ADC), showing the path from hardware ADCs (that are still common today) to virtualized and cloud ADCs that run on public cloud, and now in multi-cloud environments. These tools are critical because organizations must integrate public and private cloud applications, as well as SDN and automation tools. 

Application Delivery Controller

Next, Mitsuhata gave an overview of A10’s application delivery controller. There are three main functions of A10’s ADC. 

  • Maximize application availability. The A10 ADC ensures “always on” application services. This minimizes downtime in case of server or site failure. It also enables applications to scale to increase traffic volume. 
  • Provide application optimization/acceleration. Users experience faster response times, yielding a better user experience. The application is prepared for rapidly increasing secure application traffic over TLS/SSL. It allows IT to intelligently control application traffic.
  • Ensure application security. This includes web application firewall, application access management, encrypted communications, DNS application firewall and DDoS protection. 

Mitsuhata continued his overview by detailing how application services are deployed in the multi-cloud environment. Three main services include:

  • Application delivery, including server load balancing, application security, performance acceleration and TLS/SSL offloading. 
  • Global server load balancing uses DNS proxy technology to provide disaster recovery and high availability across global sites. Faster application response time is achieved through intelligent application traffic distribution. 
  • Centralized management and analytics are a key aspect of deploying application services in the multi-cloud environment. It gives managers a way to centralize policy enforcement, get real-time application analytics and visibility, as well as orchestration and automation. 

After his overview, Mitsuhata gave the audience a live demo of A10’s ADC, including both an on-premises structure and an Oracle cloud infrastructure. He showed how easy it is to migrate data from the on-premise data center to the cloud, and how users can get detailed analytics about transactions originating from both places. He also demonstrated how easily IT managers can add WAF policy, deploying to both the on-premise site and the cloud site at the same time. 

Mitsuhata also showed what happens when an SQL injection attack is launched. The ADC automatically denies the request. Users can customize the response page to be more or less detailed, depending on the company’s preferences. For example, you may want to include a violation ID. Get detailed statistics about the violation, and quickly view a transaction log that reveals all denied transactions. 

Conclusion

Being able to have consistent policies across a multi-cloud environment is critical. ADCs guarantee you have the same policy in all your locations with the touch of a button. In conclusion, Nicholson outlined next steps for organizations. 

  • Define your polynimbus strategy. How are you going to master the multi-cloud environment?
  • Evaluate vendors, such as A10, that can help you get there.
  • Focus on compliance, automation and TCO.
  • Do further research. Go to a10networks.com to read the survey from BPI referenced above. Also, you can download IDC: Multi-Cloud and Cloud Native Applications Drive Need for ADC and numerous other resources.

ONUG is a community of technology thought leaders. Our events provide opportunities to learn about trends and best practices. The ONUG Fall Digital Live event will focus on acceleration to the enterprise cloud. The global pandemic has accelerated the pace at which many organizations are implementing digital transformation strategies. Join us to learn about trends in mobility, remote work adoption, the deconstruction of private data centers and the accelerated cloud adoption. Register here or contact us to learn more about our community. 

Sources:

https://www.a10networks.com/marketing-comms/white-papers/idc-technology-spotlight-multicloud-and-cloud-native-applications-drive-need-for-adc-transformation/

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