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How to tackle major challenges in multi-cloud - Kemp

24 Oct 2019
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Article by Kemp APAC regional director Tony Sandberg

Significant application experience (AX) challenges are arising when organisations use two or more public clouds in conjunction with private cloud infrastructure.

This article outlines the issues and suggests ways of resolving them.

A new custom survey of 150 enterprise business and technology decision-makers in Australia and four other Asia Pacific countries - India, Indonesia, Singapore, and Hong Kong - reveals insights into the challenges, current approaches and the expectations CIOs have for multi-cloud application experiences.

The custom survey, conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Kemp, cautions that as more critical applications move to the public cloud, the ability to achieve visibility and control is critically important to maintaining resilience and availability and to ensure the highest standard AX.

The migration of applications into public cloud environments or across multiple clouds can enable better application experience, control and flexibility when paired with load balancing infrastructure.

IT teams are predicting a more complex environment deploying applications in the cloud and are expressing a clear need to simplify deployment, get better management and control of those applications.

Speed, agility, scalability and automation are now the top requirements for these load balancers.

Deployment of load balancing on a per-application basis that matches exact requirements will become more common to achieve the speed and agility required today.

Where load balancers were once configured and left to run for months or even years at a time, IT teams today are looking to automation to help build and deploy load balancers in desired states more frequently – ensuring applications can be scaled up and down, migrated to and from different clouds, and to address failover scenarios.

The results of the Forrester Consulting custom survey suggest that enterprises need actionable insight to prevent application issues and to ensure an always-on, always-secure application experience.

Context-relevant analytics and predictive analytics into applications could limit or eliminate downtime by detecting and resolving application issues before they occur.

Ad-hoc troubleshooting can be time-consuming.

The Kemp report based on the survey concludes that the end-user application experience for customers or employees can remain highly available when increased insight and observability are supported by application and networking experts who understand the unique or varied circumstances around application issues.

Centralised management can manage load balancing from multiple vendors, across multiple platforms including public cloud and local hypervisors.

Specific responses include:

Multi-cloud hosting is on the rise

Organisations are moving towards a multi-cloud hosting environment.

Over 84% of CIOs in Australia and Asia Pacific believe multi-cloud will constitute up to 50% of their hosting environment in the next three years, up from an average of less than 30% today.

Given this shift towards multi-cloud, multi-vendor environments are increasing. Over 71% of CIOs surveyed confirm they manage four or more infrastructure providers in their technology infrastructure.

Monitoring, managing and executing this is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge.

Core apps heading for cloud

While the cloud migration of customer-facing and reporting applications has been widespread, many organisations are considering the migration of core ‘run the business’ applications.

For core applications, optimising the hosting environment becomes even more important for businesses.

In the survey, 67% of CIOs believe that multi-cloud migration has a positive impact, bringing better capabilities in load balancing.

Control and flexibility are key to multi-cloud application experience.

Load balancing vendors must give enterprises a centralised, interconnected way of simplifying how they optimise, analyse and secure applications across various cloud environments.

A variety of multi-cloud deployment options, as well as subscription and metered licensing of load balancing resources, can make this possible.

Automation and multi-vendor management

Automation is a priority for CIOs.

Most respondents cited greater automation along with multi-vendor management as important IT priorities.

Automation of IT processes is key to driving down costs and increasing IT efficiencies.

While it is becoming the norm to always ask ‘can we automate that,’ having a variety of vendors in the mix poses challenges.

New multi-vendor application delivery analytics tools make it possible to manage multiple load balancing vendors such as F5, Kemp, Nginx, HAProxy and AWS in one place.

These tools help organisations to turn multi-vendor load balancing analytics into a means to improve overall application experience and drive more streamlined IT efficiency.

Private to public cloud

In the survey, 77% of respondents believe that managing the transition from private to public cloud environments is a high, if not a critical, IT priority.

Building a strategy to manage this transition is key to its success and ensuring that the right vendors are in place will help negate over-spend, and potentially over-complicating an already difficult task.

Visibility and control

In the survey, 77% of respondents also want to create application resilience and availability through multi-cloud platforms but face major challenges in building better integration and management of the multi-cloud environment.

With over 54% depending on their load balancers to manage this complexity of hosting environments, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to understand what their current load balancing vendor can offer in these key areas.

Over one-third of companies surveyed are dissatisfied with their current load balancer vendor for two key reasons:

  • 67% find a lack of visibility and predictability in load balancing across their IT environments
  • 54% cited lack of control on multi-cloud platform management

In addition, 57% of CIOs surveyed need better core reporting capabilities across public and private cloud environments.

Speed and scale crucial

Adapting to scale is critical for Australian and Asia Pacific businesses when selecting load balancing solutions.

Eight out of ten organisations surveyed are managing between 50 and 400 applications on a given load balancer instance.

It is inferred that speed and agility in optimising and securing an application deployment are top of mind when CIOs select a load balancing vendor.

Flexible payment

Pay-as-you-go and customised payment options are preferred in a load balancer investment.

A Forrester consulting custom survey indicates that 72% want a pay-per-use or subscription model, although this can be costly if not implemented correctly.

Pay-per-use load balancing is emerging as a flexible and elastic way for enterprises meeting variable application capacity demands and running multiple load balancers within cloud environments.

When considering this option it is best to do core calculations based on specific requirements.

Perpetual and subscription licensing options may be better for those who understand their long-term application requirements, while metered licensing can provide more short-term flexibility when workload requirements are uncertain.