What is ClickOps, and How Can You Prevent It?

API integration offers a better way to manage and deploy infrastructure across clouds

Herbert J. Preuss
What is ClickOps, and How Can You Prevent It?

Editor’s note: This blog was originally published in December 2022. It has been updated to include the latest information.

The potential benefits of hybrid multicloud are undeniable. The 2024 Global Interconnection Index (GXI), an annual market study conducted by Equinix, predicts that 85% of global companies will expand multicloud access across several regions by 2025. These companies are choosing multicloud because it helps maximize flexibility, lower costs and ensure access to best-of-breed services.

If the benefits of hybrid multicloud are indisputable, then so too is the complexity it often creates. The proliferation of self-service and on-demand portals to help customers deploy and manage automated infrastructure can further exacerbate that complexity.

These portals supposedly exist to make life easier by removing the need for cloud providers to update infrastructure on the customer’s behalf. However, they’ve also given rise to an entirely new challenge. IT infrastructure teams now find themselves forced to manage multicloud deployments by clicking through the menu options for different providers until they find the capabilities they’re looking for. Some people have begun to refer to this process as “ClickOps.”

Why is ClickOps a problem for digital businesses?

The irony that automated cloud infrastructure is now frequently managed via highly manual ClickOps should not be lost on anyone. ClickOps exists for the simple reason that different cloud providers organize their menu options differently, leaving users to figure out the inconsistencies for themselves.

In ClickOps, the user must personally configure and deploy the automated infrastructure they need across multiple clouds, and they must sift through phonebooks worth of the cloud providers’ manuals to do so. As portal features and their documentation change frequently, they’ll sometimes have to learn how to perform specific tasks via time-consuming trial and error.

In addition, this hard-won knowledge doesn’t always transfer easily from one individual to another; when an experienced employee leaves for any reason, they’ll take their knowledge and experience with them, leaving the organization right back where it started.

How can ClickOps impact your hybrid multicloud strategy?

To put it simply, ClickOps is wholly incompatible with an effective hybrid multicloud strategy. The lack of a single consistent method for managing infrastructure across clouds creates a number of different problems.

For one thing, ClickOps is slow. As an organization’s cloud needs change over time, they won’t always be able to adjust their infrastructure quickly enough to keep up. This makes the cloud architecture less flexible and scalable, chipping away at some of the stated benefits of hybrid multicloud.

In addition, ClickOps is error prone. It relies entirely on the individual doing the clicking, so there’s a high potential for human mistakes. Even the most knowledgeable and experienced cloud engineer has been known to slip up and click the wrong thing. In the case of ClickOps, this could manifest itself in a cloud architecture that doesn’t put the right workloads in the right places. As a result, the organization may not get the performance benefits they were hoping for. Resiliency may also suffer, as the organization won’t be able to redeploy infrastructure consistently to support disaster recovery efforts.

What can you do to avoid ClickOps?

APIs play a transformational role for many businesses looking to thrive in the modern digital economy. When you break them down, APIs are nothing more than a basic software interface that enables interactions between systems, applications and networks. Bypassing ClickOps to accentuate the inherent flexibility of a hybrid multicloud architecture is just one way to leverage API integration.

API-enabled digital services provide a layer of separation between your applications and the cloud infrastructure on which they run. This means that each application can easily move to its “best fit” location, with the API helping abstract away the complexity of the underlying infrastructure.

In addition, for enterprises that are already using an Infrastructure as Code tool such as Terraform to support a repeatable, programmable approach to digital infrastructure, expanding that approach to include API integration with cloud providers would be a natural fit.

Make the most of API integration to optimize your digital infrastructure

The Equinix API Strategy is all about accelerating our customers’ digital transformations, no matter what their specific goals might be. Access to APIs on Platform Equinix® makes it easier for developers to optimize all aspects for their organization’s digital infrastructure, including but not limited to simplifying hybrid multicloud.

Equinix customers can take advantage of API integration across our portfolio of digital infrastructure services. This support can help them provision and manage cloud infrastructure without having to interact with the menus of individual cloud providers. Instead, the Equinix APIs interface with the cloud providers on their behalf. In a sense, API integration is the missing piece of the puzzle that finally makes automated multicloud infrastructure live up to its full promise.

With Equinix API integration, you can:

  • Use Equinix Fabric® for flexible virtual interconnection between the different components of your hybrid multicloud architecture. In particular, Fabric Cloud Router—a new built-in virtual routing service—helps simplify multicloud networking across a variety of use cases.
  • Quickly stand up virtual network services, including multicloud edge routers, via Equinix Network Edge.
  • Implement dedicated compute and storage capacity via Equinix Metal® to create a cloud adjacent storage This allows you to integrate public cloud services while maintaining flexibility and control over your data. In turn, cloud adjacency can help you tackle advanced use cases like private AI.

To learn more about how cloud adjacent storage can help you create a more agile, resilient hybrid multicloud architecture, read the white paper Optimize your multicloud strategy.

Also, check out our API documentation to learn more about how API integration for Equinix digital services can enable a more agile, flexible approach to multicloud infrastructure.

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