When cloud computing was made available as a service, organizations, excited by the promise of scalability, flexibility, ease of management, and cost-efficiency, rushed to put all of their workloads into a public cloud provider.
In practice, the cloud did offer many of those things—for some workloads.
Those applications that moved data frequently, had specific security requirements, or didn’t fit the image of modern-day workloads (sorry AS/400) ended up being high-cost, non-compliant, or just didn’t work. This led to cloud repatriation (or as I like to call it, “raining”), where workloads started coming back on-premises from the cloud…but that just puts us back to where we were—or does it?
The cloud was still extremely appealing for organizations in concept, so further analysis was done. It was found that certain cloud providers were better for certain workloads and didn’t perform well for others. This brought forth the concept of multi-cloud to the enterprise, where workloads are scattered across numerous clouds, and some were found to be best suited by staying on-premises.
The question posed by this situation is: If our applications and data are in numerous locations, what is the best way for them to communicate?
Commonly, a public cloud provider will recommend its version of a Direct Connect or Express Route, private paths to the data managed by the cloud provider. This approach has challenges because cloud providers do not have the same expertise in this area as network providers. The processes to go through this product’s initial configuration are complicated and require a significant time investment. According to Gartner, the average company uses seven different public clouds (Azure, Oracle, Amazon, Google, etc.). This provides a challenge because cloud providers are not known to offer products to help work with their competition more effectively. Having your cloud provider also be your network provider creates lock-in and a lack of accountability.
There is also the use of public internet or VPN to connect to/between public cloud environments and on-premises infrastructure. These technologies are not reliable or scalable and can be limited by performance issues. As data moves to and from the public cloud on these solutions, there are also the costs of ingress/egress that can significantly impact the monthly bill.
These options have led organizations to look at different approaches and design what is now called a new hybrid. By utilizing a connectivity vendor that can be the middleman between carriers and cloud providers, the headache of integrations can be outsourced.
One of the most effective methods of doing this is to take advantage of a data center provider who can act as a cloud and internet exchange point. By extending your digital edge or co-locating your on-premises hardware in one of their data centers, your environment becomes cloud adjacent. With this methodology, organizations can assess which workloads are best for each scenario—public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises—and deploy those workloads to the desired location, but connect them in a manner that performs as if they are all in the same room. This also greatly decreases ingress/egress charges as connectivity bypasses the public internet.
One of the anchors in our portfolio is Equinix: the world’s digital infrastructure company. Equinix runs large data centers and peering points around the world. They have created an ecosystem where all the places, partners, and possibilities a business would want to connect to can come together and provide the best performance available.
By using an internet exchange point, like Equinix, organizations can mix and match cloud providers, have both cloud and on-premises workloads, and have the type of performance they remember from when their applications were all in a closet down the hall.
In so many instances, we focus on what our customer is asking for instead of the art of the possible. As trusted advisors, we need to bring the bigger picture to the table and encourage innovation at every opportunity.
If your clients are looking at digital transformation or have cloud initiatives, be sure that Equinix is part of the discussion. They will thank you for it!