A recent Gartner study demonstrates the accelerating advance of multi-cloud with a whopping $1 trillion or more in IT spending directly or indirectly affected by the shift to cloud computing in the next five years. Gartner Research vice president Ed Anderson adds that “cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast paced world,” and becoming more even more relevant as massively scaled technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, become more entrenched alongside cloud platforms.
What happens to the corporate data center and network in a multi-cloud world? According to the Forrester Research report, “Simplify Your Hybrid Infrastructure Strategy With Cloud Exchanges,” the data center will continue to extend its IT boundaries beyond traditional owned infrastructures to a collection of assets across on-premises and colocated managed services and cloud environments, out at the edge of the corporate network backbone. It will also inevitably be more geographically distributed to support a global customer base. In this scenario, cloud service quality will hinge on the quality of interconnection among multiple cloud service delivery components and characteristics, in particular, network proximity, bandwidth and latency as they pertain to interconnecting users, applications and data to multiple cloud services.
Cloud providers know that interconnection is critical to the success of emerging hybrid IT environments and have been offering dedicated high-speed connections to and between leading cloud platforms (e.g., AWS, Microsoft Azure/Office365, IBM SoftLayer, Google Cloud Platform and Oracle Cloud) and individual cloud services to simplify the multi-cloud configurations. But this may not be enough to ensure the type of performance expected by cloud users.
Organizations building hybrid and multi-cloud applications can further simplify interconnection by locating Layer 2 and Layer 3, switch-based “cloud exchanges” in distributed colocation facilities close to cloud service providers and/or carrier-dense network peering points that aggregate access to dense cloud ecosystems. Cloud exchanges can quickly and seamlessly interconnect an organization’s IT infrastructure to the major IaaS and PaaS providers, as well as to a growing number of SaaS providers using multiple virtualized connections through a single physical port (see figure below).
Some of the advantages of cloud exchanges for simplifying hybrid IT include:
- Interconnection Cost Savings: Once connected to a cloud exchange, connecting to or among additional clouds within the same exchange can be significantly less expensive than any other dedicated interconnection solution, leading to increased economies of scale. Expanding partnerships and competition among exchanges will drive prices down even further.
- Multi-Cloud Simplification: Inevitably cloud exchange participants will enable out-of-the box integrations among their cloud services as well as access to integration-as-a service-providers. Any use case that involves high volume data transfers among clouds, such as streaming media content, the IoT or big data, will benefit from this simple model for fast, low-latency interconnections.
- Cloud Brokering: Dense cloud ecosystems will allow users to compare cloud services and costs against specific workload requirements, manage workload demand and aggregate connectivity to cloud services among multiple platforms. Cloud exchange APIs will also enable easy connectivity to multiple cloud platforms and represent an excellent complement to cloud brokering.
In sum, cloud exchanges can go a long way toward simplifying the provisioning, orchestration and management across multiple clouds, as well as enhancing cloud access performance and scalability. They can also become a competitive weapon that delivers the flexibility required to deliver new products quickly and cost-effectively, expand into new global markets faster and react to changing customer requirements with greater agility.
Download “Simplify Your Hybrid Infrastructure Strategy With Cloud Exchanges,” to learn how deploying cloud exchanges can simplify your hybrid IT infrastructure and facilitate your multi-cloud strategy.