Hybrid/Multi-Cloud Migration Contained

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Legos? We bet you love them and maybe even have a few (thousand) stashed away somewhere.

Legos revolutionized the toy industry with a unique design that gives you countless options to build your own toy, the way you want. This is exactly what we at Equinix strive for as a leading interconnection and colocation provider – providing lots of options for ourselves and our customers as we work to revolutionize digital business. We think we’ve created another one of those options by using container technology to simplify cloud migration.

Many companies are deploying hybrid/multi-cloud strategies to give their organizations flexibility to transform their businesses. In fact, according to a recent “Enterprise of the Future” survey of 1,000 global IT decision-makers by Equinix, 86% of companies will be interconnecting multiple clouds across multiple locations by 2020. But IT transformation doesn’t happen all at once, and companies are approaching this task in a systematic, staged manner.

In a typical enterprise IT organization, the first step toward hybrid cloud migration is to deploy a self-provisioned private cloud that meets the demand of the internal IT ecosystem. A private cloud enables IT enterprise architects and engineers to evaluate, test and develop cloud-native applications within a pre-defined virtual boundary that offers greater control and higher security than the public cloud.

However, a private cloud is not cost-effective or scalable, which makes it nearly impossible for early stage start-ups to invest in setting one up. Enter the public cloud, which brings value and provides the required cost benefits, scalability and reliability that IT organizations need in a cloud environment, but lacks an important feature: the required level of enterprise security. This is where container technologies such as Docker, LinuxContainers (LXC and LXD) and CoreOS come in, enabling enterprises to build cloud-native applications for hybrid/multi-cloud migration and leveraging best of both the worlds – private & public.

Container technology has evolved rapidly in the last couple of years and is slowly becoming a de facto standard for application deployment and workload migration strategies in the industry. In simple terms, container technologies provide the required isolation to run any application, on any infrastructure, using any operating system, at any time, which makes it a great fit for workload migrations of custom applications. This greatly simplifies complex development and enables greater control and security.

As depicted in the figure below, the three types of migration patterns typically deployed are:

  • Lift and Shift: Workload migration that includes making very minor changes to the workload, without changing the business logic, to accommodate the change of foundation technology platform components such as operating systems. This enables the workload to run on a virtualized/containerized infrastructure environment (i.e., IaaS).
  • Transform: Application migration that includes changing the application to enable the workload to run in a virtualized/containerized infrastructure and platform environment. This may require modifications to the business logic to take advantage of the cloud environment.
  • Rebuild: Application migration that includes making significant changes to the application and the business logic organization to enhance business capabilities. For example, when certain software libraries that are used are no longer supported on the cloud, such as existing monolithic applications.

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Workload Migration Patterns for enabling Hybrid/Multi-cloud Deployments

A multi-cloud-enabled solution solves range of problems for an organization’s IT team, including:

  • Ensuring operational excellence and consistency
  • Enabling a self-service infrastructure
  • Creating a scalable and compliant setup
  • Integrating with provisioning and orchestration engines
  • Providing high security

At Equinix, we realized a sprawl of technology stack – release and product versions – was complicating the enterprise requirement for efficient cloud resource management and migration. We addressed this issues by leveraging Docker technology as our core container strategy and prototyped the migration to the multi-cloud environment, with “lift and shift” as well as “transform” patterns of workload migration.

For more information on how to “contain” hybrid/multi-cloud migration, check out the following blog articles: