Businesses have been transitioning to cloud computing for the better part of the past two decades, and during that time, cloud has gone through many evolutionary phases.
At the turn of the century, “cloud” referred to hosted services where business would deploy their technology in a third-party data center. This evolved to co-location services, which lead to the multi-tenant solutions we have today. The commonality between these is they are all centralized compute models.
Today, the cloud sits on the precipice of another major shift, to multicloud, where businesses are using more than one cloud service as well as edge computing. This causes several new challenges for businesses, particularly for remote employees trying to access multicloud services.
Also see: Top Cloud Companies
To get a better understanding of what these challenges are and how companies can overcome them, I interviewed:
2. Craig Connors, VP and GM of SASE for VMware.
Also see: Why Cloud Means Cloud Native
- Multicloud is not the same as using multiple clouds. With multicloud, a single cloud fabric spans multiple public clouds, private clouds, and edge locations. Businesses can choose to run workloads or keep data where it makes the most sense.
- This can improve application resiliency and, for service providers, ensure service level agreements are being met. Multicloud moves away from a centralized model by creating an abstraction layer that masks the complexity of distribution data and workloads across several locations.
- With this model, the edge is an extension of the cloud rather than a discrete compute node. The edge can reside at a branch, IoT endpoint, sensor or even a user’s laptop. This distributed environment is why multicloud can be significantly more complex without the abstraction layer.
- VMware simplifies the shift to multicloud through the use of services such as VMware Cloud (VMC), which extends vSphere workloads to the AWS Cloud; and Azure VMware Solutions (AVS), which does the same for Microsoft Azure. This enables businesses to build composite applications that run cross cloud but can be managed as single, logical fabric.
- While public cloud has been dominated by the “big three” providers, edge opens the door for telcos, mobile operators and other service providers to offer solutions for businesses. In fact, network operators have a distinct advantage in edge as the network plays a key role in the performance of applications.
- Multicloud and edge introduce new challenges with respect to access, users, particularly those that work from home, who do not have corporate grade network and security technology to connect and protect workers and their data.
- SD-WANs and SASE were designed to solve connectivity to clouds but that assumed workers were in a branch office. This is no longer the case, and the problem is exacerbated with edge computing. With remote employees, users are required to run multiple clients on their PC including a VPN client, monitoring agent, security services and more.
- VMware recently introduced its SD-WAN client that consolidates all the required functionality into a single application. The SD-WAN client works in conjunction with the VMware SD-WAN appliances used to connect branch offices. Customers have a choice of deploying only clients, only appliances or a mix of the two. Regardless of deployment model, the entire network can be managed through a single pane of glass.
- Users connected via the SD-WAN client will be secure with the VMware cloud security capabilities, which includes a network firewall, zero trust network access (ZTNA) and other security capabilities.
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