5 Building Blocks for Connected Hybrid Multicloud Architectures

How to harness multicloud Kubernetes for container orchestration on Platform Equinix

Alison Mark

Kubernetes, a popular open-source platform for container orchestration, enables companies to automate application deployment, scaling and management. In today’s hybrid multicloud world, developers want to take advantage of platforms such as Kubernetes to streamline application development and integration across their global infrastructures. According to analyst firm IDC, “By 2023, half of enterprise applications will be deployed in a containerized hybrid cloud/multicloud environment to provide agility, delivering a frictionless deployment and management experience.”[i] However, applications running on a standalone Kubernetes cluster that are consumed globally can run into a variety of challenges, including latency, fault tolerance, isolation and even conflicting requirements related to local regulations.

Equinix Fabric™ Data Sheet

Equinix Fabric™ directly, securely and dynamically connects distributed infrastructure and digital ecosystems on Platform Equinix®. Establish data center-to-data center network connections on demand between any two Equinix Fabric™ locations within a metro or globally via software-defined interconnection.

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Equinix Fabric

Powering Kubernetes with global interconnection

Achieving the Kubernetes promise of “define once and deploy everywhere” depends on direct, secure, low-latency connectivity between development environments and clouds. Interconnection services such as those found on Platform Equinix® provide a private fast lane to deliver consistent Kubernetes development across hybrid multicloud architectures at scale. Instead of worrying about cloud traffic or congestion, organizations can deploy an orchestration hub on Platform Equinix to benefit from private, high-speed, low-latency interconnection. Platform Equinix makes it easy to access any cloud or container with LAN-like performance, no matter where it runs – in a corporate data center, in an Equinix International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data center or on an employee’s laptop. Having the right platform with the highest levels of availability provides peace of mind when porting workloads across major clouds via containers.

Equinix Fabric™ provides software-defined interconnection and has a single control plane for running Kubernetes clusters in multiple clouds and on-premises infrastructures. This streamlines development and deployment of everything from the application code to the network, smoothing the way to wholesale application portability across different clouds.

Equinix Fabric APIs are another tool that developers can leverage to quickly connect on-premises workloads with Kubernetes clusters across multiple cloud service providers (CSPs). For example, Anthos Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) running on Equinix Metal™ automated Bare Metal-as-a-Service on Platform Equinix allows IT organizations to migrate and integrate workloads between Google Cloud, other clouds, and on-premises environments. Anthos provides a platform for developing and running applications on the infrastructure of choice, regardless of size or geographic location. For additional security, developers can leverage the Equinix SmartKey® Kubernetes KMS Plugin. It ensures that encrypted Secrets Store keys are available only inside a secure enclave so key material is never available to any software component in plain text.

In addition to enabling developers to overcome the technical challenges of using Kubernetes for global applications, Equinix offers economies of scale through edge services and access to the world’s largest ecosystem of more than 10,000 businesses, including 2,900+ cloud and IT service providers and 1,800+ networks in the world’s leading metros.

The diagram below is an example of a hybrid multicloud architecture on Platform Equinix. By leveraging an architecture like this, developers can use the best cloud for any given workload. Ensuring compatibility across legacy on-premises and cloud applications/workloads can present a difficult hurdle for businesses to overcome. This has led to the creation of multicloud application modernization environments such as Google Anthos, VMware Tanzu and IBM Red Hat OpenShift. For these solutions to work effectively across hybrid infrastructures, they require a cohesive interconnection platform to connect these agile software development environments to their customers.

Applications & Infrastructure Modernization on Platform Equinix

5 building blocks for connected, global hybrid multicloud architectures

As we’ve seen with thousands of customers in their application modernization journey, there are five essential building blocks that have helped them optimize networks and consume cloud services more efficiently and cost-effectively. These include:

  1. Delivering high performance and low latency: Legacy wide area networks (WANs) and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) backbones can be slow and have increased risk for network latency, congestion and dropped packets, making them less conducive to scalable cloud adoption. Optimal performance for hybrid workloads requires dedicated access to cloud ecosystems via high-speed, low-latency connectivity, with software-defined interconnection services. Ultra-fast video streaming services is a media and entertainment use case that requires content to be cached close to end users and clouds to speed digital content delivery.
  2. Securing cloud workloads for data sovereignty, privacy, compliance and control: Organizations must implement security measures, such as encryption, firewalls, access control and endpoint security, across multiple layers of a hybrid infrastructure to mitigate potential threats and risk. In regulated sectors, additional steps are necessary to meet regulatory requirements, such as Card Industry Data Security standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).[ii] Genomic sequencing is a life sciences example where backhauling large volumes of data to a remote core data center is impractical, so data must be processed at the edge. Complying with local data regulations also means sensitive data must be secured and kept in country.
  3. Implementing consistent operations for rapid deployment of IT services at scale: Businesses need consistent and resilient data center interconnection when designing and deploying critical applications and essential IT infrastructure, especially for IT services from the cloud. Built-in redundancy across network and cloud connections helps to ensure reliable business continuity and disaster recovery. Equinix delivers an industry-leading track record of 99.9999% average global uptime across more than 220 data centers around the globe. Autonomous vehicles is an automotive use case that depends on high-bandwidth, low latency connectivity for massive data ingestion. Each test vehicle can generate between 20 terabytes (TB)/day and potentially up to 100 TB/day for advanced data sets that require machine learning algorithms.
  4. Accessing vibrant digital and business ecosystems: A dense ecosystem of platform companies, enterprises, CSPs and other service providers creates a network effect, drawing new partners from around the world and facilitating value-added hybrid infrastructure solutions. Platform providers such as Alibaba, AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle and VMware leverage Equinix Fabric for fast, low-latency, software-defined interconnection to expedite the delivery and consumption of cloud-based solutions for advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), the internet of things (IoT), blockchain and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), with speed, scale and security. In the travel industry, there is a need for a common ecosystem infrastructure that can enable multiple entities such as hotels, flights, transportation and entertainment services to exchange data with each other as well as across different clouds.
  5. Increasing network optimization and cost efficiencies: Platform Equinix provides businesses with greater economies of scale and value when consuming network, cloud and edge services. According to Forrester’s “The Total Economic Impact™ of Equinix” report, private interconnection using Equinix Fabric is expected to reduce cloud connectivity and network traffic costs by 60% to 70%, respectively, and latency by a minimum of 30%.[iii] A retailer with hundreds of store locations needed a more efficient storage and data analysis environment from both public and private clouds. By deploying network connections at Equinix, the company was able to achieve significant savings from reduced data egress charges due to rewards from CSPs.

Where and how you deploy multicloud Kubernetes matters. A hybrid multicloud approach on Platform Equinix enables enterprises to achieve these benefits by leveraging a proven framework on a single global interconnection platform for consistent high performance and without vendor lock-in. All the major CSPS and other industry-leading service providers partner with Equinix. These dense ecosystems provide the ideal foundation for enterprises to efficiently and cost-effectively build and deploy fast, secure and consistent cloud or container workloads across the globe. No other platform can provide the diversity of partner choice, as well as the consistency necessary for “develop once, write to multiple clouds,” along with APIs, low-latency and instantaneous connection to any cloud.

To learn more about creating connected hybrid multicloud architectures, read the Equinix Fabric data sheet and schedule a hybrid multicloud briefing.

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[i]IDC FutureScape Webcast: Worldwide Cloud 2020 Predictions,” IDC, Web Conference Proceeding: Tech Buyer – Doc #WC20191115, November 2019.

[ii] Equinix IBX Certifications and Standards

[iii] Forrester, “Total Economic Impact™ Study,” Commissioned by Equinix, April 2019.

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Alison Mark Hybrid Cloud Lead, Ecosystem Development, Equinix
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