E-Handbook: What is cloud networking up to now? It's complicated Article 3 of 4

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Three goals of multiple cloud management and how to reach them

Attaining the benefits of the cloud is getting ever more complex. Learn ways to enable efficient and effective management of hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

As enterprises migrate more business-critical applications into the cloud, managing these workloads becomes more complex. The primary issue is how network architects can best build bridges that interconnect hybrid and multi-cloud environments in a seamless and secure manner. Yet, these bridges that enable hybrid and multiple cloud management can create provisioning headaches, performance inconsistencies and security blind spots. Here are three key goals of managing complex cloud networks, along with some of the latest cloud network technologies that can be used to achieve them.

Goal 1. Speed of delivery

The benefits of cloud computing have not changed since its inception. As cloud becomes more elaborate and mission-critical, however, achieving those benefits becomes increasingly difficult. That's why it's so important to put the latest tools in place to better achieve them. Your first goal of cloud networking should be to ensure speed of delivery. No matter where the application or workload resides, the network must be able to be rapidly built from a routing, switching and firewall perspective. Additionally, companies need to deploy application-level policies to determine the ideal level of network resources. Those resources should be able to scale up or down as bandwidth and latency demands change.

Achieving network speed of delivery in complex cloud environments takes far more than proper planning and manual processes. This is where network automation becomes critical. Advanced cloud automation tools can be used to effectively build templates based on the business requirements of each application or workload. By enabling the underlying infrastructure to understand which data flows are most important and mission-critical, you can effectively create network building blocks that can be easily moved and shifted for rapid provisioning, fault-tolerant resiliency and resource scalability.

Goal 2. Business agility

The concept of multiple cloud management is to create a network overlay that looks and acts uniformly regardless of the underlying cloud architecture.

From a technological perspective, an enterprise is only as agile as the network it operates on. As a cloud footprint expands, increasingly complex network policies that bind hybrid and multi-clouds together can significantly reduce a company's ability to pivot toward new technologies. Cloud orchestration and multiple cloud management platforms can be used to recapture business agility at the cloud networking level.

Cloud orchestration can be thought of as the upper-level management layer that controls the various network automation building blocks that replaced manual tasks. Orchestration tools are used to develop intelligent business workflows that include various network requirements including application performance, network resiliency and security postures. Those policies can then be deployed throughout the entire cloud infrastructure.

While cloud orchestration creates the foundation for end-to-end network control within a specific cloud platform, users are now seeking to gain the same orchestration benefits between two or more private and public cloud providers. This is where multiple cloud management platforms come into play. The concept of multi-cloud management is to create a network overlay that looks and acts uniformly regardless of the underlying cloud architecture. That way, you can deploy your network automation and orchestration policies no matter which cloud it resides on. While the perfect multiple cloud management platform remains elusive in several ways, major strides are being made in this technology field.

Goal 3. Ease of management

Your final goal when architecting an enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure is to provide for ease of multiple cloud management. This is where all three cloud network advancements described -- automation, orchestration and management -- can be used to provide end-to-end visibility and to support a holistic approach to deploying and monitoring network resources within and between public and private clouds. This is especially important from a network management and data security perspective. Many of the latest tools eliminate many of the security blind spots created when bridging complex hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructures that are not centrally controlled.

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