We are nearly halfway through 2017, and the conversation about hybrid cloud is over. The discussion about multicloud has started. But wait—isn’t multicloud really hybrid cloud? Well, not really: it depends on the definitions used. I have heard discussions about multicloud at Dell EMC World, Red Hat Summit, and VeeamON. This implies that there are some very interesting times ahead for IT. This new approach jibes quite well with a poll TVP Strategy held a few years ago, on which the majority of respondents indicated that they worked with multiple clouds: Amazon, Azure, and others. Yet, where is multicloud management? Is it just about automation and scripting? Or is the cloud enlarged due to something entirely different?
Actually, neither. Many years ago, companies saw the need for multicloud management, multicloud IT as a Service, and even multicloud virtual machines. Some hoped to solve the multicloud issue with containers, but that has not come to fruition yet. So, what is out there to help us with the multicloud?:
- Automation frameworks built around application deployment, such as Kubernetes, Salt, Ansible, and Jenkins
- Workload management tools such as Embotics, HotLink, and others
- Performance and other ops tools such as Zenoss, Cirba, and Virtual Instruments
- Workload-neutral platforms such as Stromasys and Ravello
All of these tools can be combined to create a unified view of a multicloud environment. Workload-neutral tools can run any workload on any cloud with minimal issues. However, they are often bad performers, given the technology. Nevertheless, for some use cases and older technologies, migrating to a workload-neutral platform would be a performance and security improvement. Using these technologies in a cloud would solve many problems we face today.
At the same time, we need to improve the following:
- Data protection
- Jurisdictional controls
- The role of government in our data
The multicloud is not about infrastructure, but rather data, and protecting and securing our data is paramount. We are still on the frontiers of data privacy, jurisdiction, and role of government in our data. The cloud has been enlarged far past where we originally thought it would be. It is now within the realm of our dreams. We can process data faster and more accurately than before. It also has to change with our growing needs. It does that by embracing data transformation techniques. The new IT transformation is not about whether or not we will use the cloud. No, the next transformation is about how we use our data. How we collect that data. It is about how we interact with data.
The magnitude of the problems we are facing is huge. Just like in the 1890s, when John D. Rockefeller cornered the oil industry, we are seeing companies trying to corner the data industry—the industry of the future. We have some very large players in this field, ones who are trying to get even more of our data into their hands. The laws are changing to allow them to collect that data faster and to be more complete. However, each business treats its data differently. Each individual considers what they put in the cloud differently. Some think they own the rights; others do not.
In essence, the battle at the moment is not about infrastructure, hyperconverged, or even cloud. Nor is it really about platforms. It is about processing data. This is the API marketplace of today and the future. Those who have the best data processing at the best costs will win the next round of technological innovation. While businesses are innovating with data, governments are slow to catch up with laws, protections, etc. At the same time, governments also see the value of data.
When you adopt big data, that is the beginning of the transformation into a data economy. There are, at the moment, small data brokers. I expect more and more to grow. I even expect everyone to eventually have their own data brokers. Perhaps data management or copy data is the start of this phenomenon.
Here is to the data economy! However, while we move in that direction, we still need to keep the lights running, and that is why managing the multicloud is becoming so important. How you manage your multicloud is not about infrastructure, but rather how you manage your data.