What Technology Trends Can We Expect in 2021?
As we power through the final quarter of 2019, we have rounded up our predictions about what lies ahead for technology trends in 2021.
Ten years ago, having a single cloud vendor as part of your infrastructure mix was a perfectly acceptable business strategy. But now, in this era of Digital Transformation, and as companies are adopting cloud-first initiatives, if you rely on a single cloud vendor, you could be jeopardizing your entire business, your employees, and most importantly, your customers.
In fact, many enterprises are not only evaluating a multi-cloud strategy, but they are also racing forward to get multi-cloud implemented sooner rather than later to ensure superior user experiences, stay ahead of the competition, and innovate using the latest and most appropriate cloud technologies and services available.
Single-cloud (or zero-cloud) companies may be worried about the technology being too new, too unpredictable, insecure, and too complex. But cloud vendors have left many of those worries in the past as new, innovative cloud services are released and existing ones are upgraded, enhanced, and made more robust and secure.
If you take a cross-section of businesses, you will find that they are in various stages of cloud evaluation, adoption, or implementation. Some companies are embracing a cloud-first strategy where all initiatives must be cloud-based or cloud-driven, while others might be more cautiously approaching cloud initiatives with more of a wait-and-see attitude or in proof-of-concept phases.
In reality, the benefits of adopting a multi-cloud strategy are sound from both a technological and business perspective. And, these benefits put many of the concerns to rest. There are four primary benefits of implementing a multi-cloud strategy, specifically:
A single-vendor approach can be dangerous for business continuity. If a vendor goes out of business or changes their business model, it can be devastating for those companies that depend on that sole vendor. Vendor lock-in or a single-vendor dependency should be avoided whenever possible.
By using multiple cloud vendors, businesses can eliminate the single-vendor dependencies as well as gain potential negotiating power over Service Level Agreements (SLAs), pricing, and features.
Public cloud computing is becoming more commoditized each day as many of the leading public clouds (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, among others) are offering many similar features and services. Initially, the cloud was built with three core components—compute, storage, and networking—available for consumption. As cloud vendors continued to innovate and release new components and features, certain clouds became better at certain functions over others.
As a result of cloud-specific specializations, businesses choose particular cloud vendors over others. But as the digital enterprise is often a mix of various digital channels, there may be many cloud vendors being used for many specialized use cases. And when a company has a multi-cloud strategy, they frequently are using the best cloud for their specific requirements.
“Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket” is a phrase that we have all heard over and over. In fact, it is an incredibly important concept to embrace concerning cloud implementations. In a pure datacenter environment, you have redundant (and backup) power supplies, multiple bandwidth providers (hopefully coming into the datacenter from different ends of the building), and high physical and virtual security.
Similarly, multi-cloud implementations ensure that if a cloud experiences issues due to an outage or reduced performance, workloads can be routed to other zones or cloud providers to minimize disruption of service.
Many countries require customer, company, or user data to be stored in particular regions or countries based on government regulations. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) further restricts where data is at rest, and, depending on the industry of your company, there may be additional compliance rules.
Because of these regulations and requirements, companies are often required to find cloud providers who have availability zones or datacenters within particular regions. A multi-cloud approach allows this to be a much easier process than having to open a physical datacenter within that region.
What is needed is a single pane of glass for more accessible design, deployment, and management. Otherwise, a disjointed multi-cloud environment can be more effort than it is worth. To ensure the multi-cloud benefits outlined previously are adhered to, companies must carefully plan when choosing a platform for managing multiple cloud services.
The containerization of services is facilitating the ability to port workloads and full application environments from one cloud to another. One container orchestration system in particular, Kubernetes, allows for greater portability between clouds, ensuring the functionality is standardized, regardless of the cloud being used.
Recently, at the 2019 Google Cloud Next conference, Google introduced Anthos, a new open platform which allows for the running of apps within multi-cloud environments. Using the Google Kubernetes Engine, Anthos enables companies also to manage workloads running on Microsoft Azure or AWS. Kubernetes was, in fact, initially designed by Google.
The advantages of using Anthos for multi-cloud workloads tie back to the benefits of using a multi-cloud approach in general. This single-pane-of-glass approach abstracts away many of the complications of using cloud-specific APIs or environments while still allowing customers to have the flexibility of choice of cloud.
Those interested in getting trained on using Google Kubernetes Engine should register for this one-day course from ExitCertified “Getting Started with Google Kubernetes Engine.” This course provides container basics, how to containerize existing applications, the principles behind Kubernetes, how to deploy Kubernetes using the CLI, and more.
Adopting a multi-cloud strategy using Anthos and GCP as the platform allows companies to avoid vendor lock-in, choose the clouds that are appropriate for their technology needs, ensure their services are high-availability, and adhere to governing laws regarding their data.
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