How to Ensure Observability in Your Multicloud Environment

Third-party platforms can provide the cross-cloud observability you need, but where you host them matters

Glenn Dekhayser
How to Ensure Observability in Your Multicloud Environment

There’s a central conflict at the heart of cloud computing: Enterprises want flexibility and simplicity that they can only get from the public cloud, but they may have to sacrifice control and observability to get it. A lift-and-shift migration into a single cloud could help provide better control, but most enterprises now recognize the importance of a multicloud environment. When they start to integrate multiple clouds and services, that’s when things start to get really difficult.

Working with multiple clouds and other service providers could mean managing various bespoke toolsets for observability and performance management. These tools would all reside in different places, use different APIs and have different capabilities. Some of them could be cloud native, thus making it difficult for data to get into and out of those tools.

To address this challenge, many enterprises turn to third-party observability and performance management platforms. They see the value of a single platform to monitor their complete hybrid multicloud environment and give them the end-to-end observability they need to ensure performance, security, compliance, governance and availability.

Getting the best results from third-party observability platforms requires hosting them in the right places. These platforms are like any other distributed, data-driven application: They need to collect and report on data from many sources spread across multiple locations. They can’t do that unless they’re positioned at a neutral, accessible aggregation point that allows for the free flow of data. Ideally, this aggregation point should be on infrastructure that you control, backed up by agile interconnection capabilities.

How an Authoritative Core strategy enables observability

If you can’t aggregate data from across your entire hybrid multicloud environment, you’ll inevitably have gaps in your observability. From a security perspective, you won’t be able to bring together all your cloud services under a single security incident event management (SIEM) environment. This means there could be vulnerabilities in your security posture that you can’t see—and if you can’t see them, then you can’t respond to them.

For businesses looking to maintain observability across their multicloud environments, using an Authoritative Core architectural design strategy to deploy their third-party observability platform is the natural choice. Central to this strategy is the implementation of an interconnected storage environment that sits adjacent to—but separate from—multiple clouds. This cloud adjacent approach allows businesses to take advantage of the cloud without having to sacrifice control over their data.

Using several different data motion patterns, a business can move copies of its data into the cloud as needed to enable cloud services. At least one current copy of the data remains safely in a core environment that the business maintains complete control over. Thus, the business is free to do whatever it wants with that data in the future, without the cost and complexity of getting that data out of cloud native storage.

An Authoritative Core strategy is optimal for ensuring hybrid multicloud observability because it enables the quick and easy flow of data in both directions. Data can flow “up” from digital edge locations into your observability platform, or flow “down” from multiple clouds. Centralizing your observability platform in a core storage environment allows accessibility from all your different data sources, removing potential gaps that add unnecessary risk.

Architecting your cloud observability platform for the future

It’s also important to think about what happens to monitoring data after it reaches your observability platform. One reason to keep data outside the cloud is to protect your business against vendor lock-in. If moving your data out of a cloud is difficult or expensive, then that limits your flexibility to use your data when and where you need it.

I believe that one of the greatest gifts you can give your business is the ability to change its mind. You need to ensure you’re able to try new things easily and with minimal cost, and maintaining control over your observability data is an essential part of that equation.

Imagine that you adopt a new observability platform. After six months, you decide it’s not living up to expectations. Do you give up and try to replace it? Or do you double down on your investment and try to make it work because moving would be too financially or logistically painful? If you’ve allowed observability data to aggregate in a storage environment that you don’t control, then you may not have a practical choice in the matter. For instance, if the costs of running your observability platform in a particular cloud are higher than you budgeted, then changing clouds will likely be quicker and easier for you than changing observability platforms would be.

It’s not always about changing platforms, either. The corpus of observability data you accumulate over time may have other uses for your business. You’ll want to ensure that you’re able to deploy that data to places, either as a Service or on your own infrastructure, that can create new economic value for your business. If you store that data with a single cloud provider, the cost and time required to accomplish this may artificially limit your options, resulting in suboptimal outcomes.

Interconnection ensures observability that goes with you and grows with you

One key benefit of executing your Authoritative Core strategy at Equinix is that here, you have the agile interconnection capabilities you need to try new things and create new outcomes. Changing how you manage cloud observability data is just one example of this.

Suppose you wanted to access a new service from a cloud or service provider you’ve never worked with before. You’d need to interconnect that cloud or service to your observability platform to ensure a dedicated, secure flow of data back and forth—and you wouldn’t want to wait weeks to get set up and commit to a long-term contract.

As the diagram above shows, Equinix offers connectivity solutions that are integral to building your comprehensive edge-to-core-to-cloud platform. These include Equinix Fabric®, our virtual interconnection solution, and Equinix Network Edge, our portfolio of virtual networking services from top vendors. Together, these solutions can help you quickly connect to the tools and partners that matter to your business. This includes creating reliable connections between your third-party observability landscape and your multiple data sources—no matter where they reside.

Of course, all the interconnection capabilities in the world won’t matter if you don’t have the right partners to connect to. Deploying on Platform Equinix® gives you access to the industry’s largest global ecosystem, including more than 3,000 cloud and IT service providers and 2,000 network service providers. In total, Equinix customers have created more than 462,000 interconnections globally.

Use case: Mergers and acquisitions

If you have M&A activity planned, interconnecting with agility will be essential for ensuring rapid time to value. One challenge of doing M&A quickly and effectively is migrating the acquired company onto your observability platform. To overcome this and other M&A challenges, you need to quickly establish connectivity between the two organizations’ IT ecosystems, and this is where Equinix really shines.

The power of global interconnection at Equinix helps ensure a hybrid multicloud observability solution that can grow and change as your business grows and changes. It enables a consistent strategy for you to do all the things you need to do now, while also being ready for all the future requirements you haven’t even considered yet.

To learn more about how to ensure the consistent flow of data throughout your multicloud environment, read our guide to multicloud networking.

Glenn Dekhayser Global Principal, Global Solutions Architects
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