Cloud computing makes it possible for many companies to be more flexible, transform their business and thus develop new business areas. That’s why a lot of companies these days are following a cloud-first strategy which ultimately is a result of increasing investment in this area. But there isn’t just one cloud. Companies frequently use services provided by a range of cloud providers which leads to issues with their management. One solution is sophisticated multi-cloud architectures such as those offered by Google on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
But why are companies putting their faith in these multi-cloud architectures given that managing them is a challenge? The reasons are many and varied and range from technical and commercial to regulatory. The greatest benefit is not being reliant on one cloud provider, but also leveraging several providers for redundancy or disaster recovery scenarios in the event of an issue can be advantageous. There’s also the fact that most teams simply prefer services from a range of providers. Multi-cloud therefore comes into play where the solutions is used by more than one cloud provider in the company.
The migration and subsequent running of applications in the multi-cloud world is, however, presenting a lot of challenges to IT departments as they struggle to manage resources and applications across the different clouds and employees have to get used to working with the varying consoles. Companies have to bear the cost incurred, on the one hand, by the traffic between the different cloud environments and, on the other, by the fact that some applications have to be customised to the various clouds by using different cloud APIs. Controlling has to tackle the variety of invoicing models which often leads to confusion and IT security presents a whole new set of challenges. The ever-increasing number of architectures is making it more difficult to ensure and manage consistent IT security and compliance.
The solution for simpler management and transparency in multi-cloud architectures can be found in application containers, which can be placed in any cloud and enable maximum flexibility and control.
Google offers several tools to help manage multi-cloud architectures in the best possible way. As a cloud company, Google views open source as being in their blood, which can be seen in its use of open APIs amongst other things. Google says “open source is the future of public cloud: It’s the foundation of IT infrastructure worldwide.” Important tools have been born from Google-initiated open source projects such as the container orchestration tool, Kubernetes and the machine learning platform, TensorFlow. But what does open source have to do with multi-cloud? It enables independence and compatibility and means that companies can avoid a vendor lock-in and most IT systems can be networked with each other.
How far Google is prepared to go can be seen with the Anthos example, with which Google is setting a milestone in the cloud computing era and is an ideal solution for today’s hybrid and multi-cloud world. Anthos is based on the Kubernetes container orchestration tool as well as Istio and Knative and other industry-leading open source technologies. It is a parent software platform with which applications can be created and managed not only on the Google Cloud platform, but also on AWS, Azure or in your own data centre. Anthos’ goal is to move existing condition-based monolithic applications into modern containers and provision a uniform, admin-based and highly-available platform for quick and secure developments.
Of course, IT departments can’t instantly move all workloads to containers. A fact which Google is well aware of. In most companies, there are often a wealth of applications that are either difficult to move because of their structure, only run on Windows or simply haven’t been further developed. The solution? With the Google Cloud VMware Engine, the company is offering an enterprise VMware-as-a-Service that already runs VMware workloads meaning that virtual machines can be seamlessly migrated to Google Cloud and back without having to restructure the application architecture and admins can even continue to use the VMware management interface. With support for VMware HCX and vMotion, all the benefits of the Google global cloud infrastructure can be accessed directly from virtual machines or continue to run in the enterprise data centres as needed.
The main advantage of Google Cloud VMware Engine is, however, not the Google data centre infrastructure, but the opportunity to connect VMware workloads directly to cloud-native services. This ranges from simple cloud storage to asynchronous messaging services for consistent decoupling of services, the ability to run serverless code with almost unlimited scalability, to gaining new business insights by using machine learning APIs or BigQuery. Businesses can take advantage of all of these benefits on a pay-as-you-go basis meaning they only pay for what they really need. This means that’s it’s possible for them to flexibly and individually adapt existing applications to the cloud depending on requirements.
As a strategic Google partner, Bechtle offers comprehensive consultation and close cooperation with Google. We support our customers in setting up their future-proof IT architecture and advise them on a suitable multi-cloud architecture for their company enabling them to react in a future-orientated manner and fully exploit the benefits of the cloud for their business.