Cloud computing has unleashed a whole host of innovation, on-demand usage and collaboration options that companies are looking to take advantage of. As Gartner pointed out in a recent report, ‘In 2019, the lines between infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) will continue to blur. Organizations will need to develop the right strategies for deciding how to place/build an app on the right services, and manage across all IaaS/PaaS on a multi-provider basis. As cloud computing becomes mainstream, many organizations find that their IT environments include public and some private cloud, alongside traditional IT systems. Most organizations believe hybrid scenarios will help address the challenges of these disparate environments.’
However, ‘cloud’ is not a one-click panacea. In fact, with the range of cloud offerings available in the market (and more on the way), companies are often left struggling with conflicting pressures which range from cost management and security considerations through to vendor lock-in concerns.
Solving these challenges requires a critical step that many organizations under-invest in when they plan for cloud adoption – a robust cloud governance model based on a careful assessment of long-term needs. This type of strategic planning will reveal that there are in fact a whole host of cloud offerings available for today’s enterprises and that the solution may lie in a combination of clouds, rather than a single one.
Many organizations around the world are realizing the importance of a multicloud strategy and the demand for multicloud services is rapidly growing. According to the 2017 State of the SaaS-Powered Workplace Report2, companies now use an average of 16 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps, with 73% of organizations anticipating that more than 80% of their apps will be SaaS by 2020. Another contributor is the rising dependency on big data analysis and the rollout of 5G, both of which are resulting in greater demand for multicloud services, as enterprises look to deliver these new technologies and ensure top-quality experiences for users by moving their computing to the edge.
Connecting to multiple clouds in a distributed IT model, where data, applications and even security needs to be installed closer to the users and data, requires an infrastructure strategy that is connected, integrated, secure and scalable to bridge the physical and virtual worlds as companies innovate for growth and survival.
The missteps of a rush to “cloud-first”
Public cloud offers a great option to enterprises that need to use innovative computing services on a scalable “pay-as-you-go” basis in response to business needs. Oftentimes though, a lift-and-shift of legacy workloads into public cloud results in unexpected challenges – cost linearity and data exposure risk, to name a few. An IDC3 study found that 80% of IT decision-makers have migrated either applications or data that were primarily part of a public cloud environment back to an on-premises or private cloud solution.
While the primary driver for this migration is security risk, according to IDC, it does also reveal the fact that enterprises have often missed a vital step and failed to invest in a cloud governance model upfront. This means that many have migrated apps or data to public cloud and these are now being moved back in the face of uncontrolled costs, performance challenges or regulatory guidelines.
Whether moving workloads or data back from public cloud, or moving them into a public cloud for the first time, it is important to leverage a proven cloud architecture strategy that can solve for the conflicting pressures that result from the need to innovate while still being in control of data and delivering quality user experiences.
An interconnection-oriented hybrid and multicloud strategy can be the solution here. This proven and repeatable model can deliver multiple advantages, including applying the right cloud solution to the right workload, physical security of data, regulatory compliance, as well as ease of private and secure access to multiple clouds. A distributed, hybrid and multicloud approach also enables enterprises to securely connect and back up data between multiple sites, as well as distributing data cross-border to enhance efficiency and collaboration.
Why Interconnection is the secret to hybrid multicloud success
The hybrid cloud market is set to explode, with some analysts projecting growth from $44 billion in 2018 to nearly $100 billion in 20234. However, the ideal hybrid cloud environment has been difficult to achieve. Legacy applications may not be cloud ready, regulatory and governance issues can dictate where data resides, WAN latency can lead to inconsistent performance, and businesses fear cloud vendor lock-in.
As such, companies are now increasingly relying on private interconnection to solve for risk, complexity and scale. The second volume of the Global Interconnection Index (the GXI) published by Equinix, forecasts that Interconnection Bandwidth between Enterprises and Cloud and IT providers in Asia-Pacific is projected to grow exponentially at a CAGR of 99% from 2017 to 2021, almost double the expected 51% CAGR of Asia-Pacific’s total Interconnection Bandwidth. This growth will come in part from businesses as they strive to build new digital services and migrate existing workloads to third-party cloud platforms. With companies laying the groundwork for digital-ready platforms that embrace a hybrid multicloud approach, private connections between businesses and their technology partners in various locations worldwide are fast becoming the de facto approach.
Asia-Pacific Interconnection Bandwidth by Ecosystem
As enterprises chart their roadmap to greater digitization and continuous improvements in security, performance and capacity, new architectures anchored by interconnection will help to reduce complexity and enable the integration of various digital services.
An interconnection and data center provider like Equinix offers benefits in terms of speed, scalability, optimized network topology, and a choice of mix-and-match connectivity models to fit changing consumption and service needs. Enterprises also have the room to innovate and capture new revenue opportunities using real-time analytics across their network to rapidly assemble new business and technology capabilities irrespective of existing network infrastructures.
Your cloud journey on one global platform
With many companies now relying on cloud service providers (CSPs) and looking into hybrid multicloud infrastructures to secure greater reliability and agility in business operations, Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric™ (ECX Fabric™), a software-defined interconnection service, is designed to solve the key challenges that most companies face in reaping the fruit of cloud adoption, especially when it comes to hybrid multicloud capabilities. ECX Fabric allows businesses to privately and securely connect to their digital destinations on Platform Equinix® where enterprises will be able to access over 2,900 cloud and IT service providers globally including Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and SaaS providers like SAP, enabling them to directly and simply connect to multiple clouds in various locations through an easy to use and self-navigating portal.
Our customers in Asia-Pacific are currently benefitting from the vast cloud ecosystem available on Platform Equinix. For example, Carsales was able to interconnect its technology systems across its Australian and Latin America offices to optimize applications, while Ricoh successfully delivered Smart Backup as a Service and Business Process Management Solutions to empower digital workplaces.
Fewer challenges, more opportunities
Hybrid multicloud will play a key role as organizations address the challenges of managing data access between private networks and public clouds. With interconnection acting as the bridge to securely and directly connect cloud service providers and enterprises, companies will be able to continue their business transformation journey and develop deeply innovative and lucrative business models for future growth.