Our world today runs on software. Organisations in every industry are reinventing themselves as software businesses—and they are accelerating innovation by developing and delivering applications using containers and Kubernetes. To successfully transform, they must also leverage multiple clouds—including public, private and hybrid clouds—as well as edge environments.

 

A multi-cloud strategy enables businesses to

  • Quickly exploit innovations from multiple cloud vendors – As cloud vendors work to differentiate their services, businesses with a multi-cloud strategy can take advantage of these innovations as soon as they’re released.
  • Comply with new regulations – Multi-cloud businesses can quickly shift data anywhere in the world to comply with new data protection regulations right as they go into effect. 
  • Better control costs – With a multi-cloud strategy, businesses can quickly move workloads to the least-expensive cloud option on a workload-by-workload basis.
  • Enhance flexibility and agility – Businesses might need to shift workloads back and forth between public and private clouds for a variety of reasons. For example, a multi-cloud strategy helps businesses more easily conduct planned temporary deployments as part of a merger or acquisition. And they can migrate workloads to enhance security or performance. 
  • Capitalise on emerging technologies – Businesses with multi-cloud strategies are better positioned to explore artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and other emerging technologies. With multiple clouds, businesses can ingest large data volumes, access the massive compute power needed for AI/ML, and engage with users. Similarly, businesses can support new edge and IoT initiatives through multi-cloud environments that process data closer to end devices. 

Migrating critical applications to the cloud

Despite the advantages of multi-cloud strategies, many businesses were slow to make large-scale transitions to the cloud until fairly recently. A decade ago, it was unusual to see an enterprise moving key applications to the cloud. 

Today, more businesses are moving applications to the cloud. According to a 2019 Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) report, nearly 70 percent of organisations are migrating data for enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications to the cloud. And nearly 90 percent of those organisations consider these applications to be business critical.   

 

Why are more companies migrating key applications today? According to the CSA report, they want to capitalise on scalability for new technologies, reduce the cost of ownership, and leave security patching and updating to a cloud provider.  

 

Nonetheless, organisations are concerned about the same issues that prevented many from moving to the cloud a decade ago. Respondents to the CSA report listed concerns about moving sensitive data, maintaining security and sustaining compliance as top barriers to migration. 

 

Managing multiple clouds can amplify these concerns. “Setting up and operating a private cloud can be challenging, involving many complex decisions around automation of critical services; management, optimisation and scaling of infrastructure and services; as well as maintaining consistent SLAs and security,” says Purnima Padmanabhan, vice president of product management in the Cloud Management business unit of VMware. “This complexity is further compounded with the addition of public and managed clouds—requiring organisations to also secure, optimise and broker services across clouds.” 

 

VMware offers an array of solutions that can help businesses power modern app development while controlling the complexities of multi-cloud management. These solutions enable centralised, automated management of multiple clouds and help businesses adopt important new container and Kubernetes technologies. 

 

Enhancing agility and streamlining multi-cloud management

How can you give developers the agility they need to respond to quickly shifting requirements? Consistency is key. By employing a consistent infrastructure across clouds, and providing consistent tools and processes, developers gain the flexibility to use whatever cloud resources they need to be most productive. 

VMware solutions enable businesses to establish that consistency and increase developer agility without sacrificing control over multi-cloud environments. The VMware Cloud Management Platform automates key operations and gives customers a single “pane of glass” through which they can view activity across multiple clouds—both private and public. The platform includes

  • VMware vRealize Suite – An enterprise-ready multi-cloud management platform
  • VMware Cloud Foundation – A cloud infrastructure platform that spans compute, storage and network visualisation
  • VMware vCloud Suite – An enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure and management solution that combines the vRealize Suite and VMware vSphere server virtualisation platforms

A single view of all clouds can help enhance flexibility. “Ultimately, customers choose to combine public and private clouds not because they care about the cloud per se—that’s just a means to an end—but because this hybrid solution meets their application needs,” says Padmanabhan. “Our mission is to deliver a cloud management system that allows customers to work in whatever combination of cloud environments they choose.” 

 

Moreover, automation helps reduce the overhead for supporting developer flexibility. Organisations can automate key management tasks so that applications and workloads can run independently over any cloud without the need for hands-on supervision. By reducing administrative burdens, organisations can stay focused on developing modern apps instead of managing clouds. 

 

In fact, this type of automation enables development teams to release new code daily because they don’t have to think about how or where the software is deployed. “The developers just write the code, build good apps and check in the code,” explains Padmanabhan. “And then management software picks it up, deploys it onto a cloud, ensures it’s within appropriate security boundaries and makes sure it can self-recover in case of failure.” (Check out the sidebar “Empowering Developers Through Automation and Cloud” to see how VMware customers leverage automation.)

 

Implementing container and Kubernetes management across clouds

Increasing adoption of containers and Kubernetes in cloud environments is driving the need for new cloud management capabilities. Championed by developers, container technology can drastically reduce the time to develop and deliver cloud-based and cloud-native applications. Kubernetes is an open-source orchestration system that manages containerised applications in distributed clusters. It accelerates and scales application development by managing and automating resource utilisation, failure handling, availability, configuration and scalability.  

Although Kubernetes makes it possible to run large-scale applications across multiple clouds, it can add complexity as enterprises deal with fragmented Kubernetes environments and inconsistency in how Kubernetes is delivered across clouds. VMware is helping to address that complexity with the VMware Tanzu Mission Control centralised management platform. 

 

VMware Tanzu Mission Control enables IT operators to take command of every Kubernetes cluster across cloud and edge environments—all from one control point. Architects can enforce policies across environments to help secure and harden a company’s entire Kubernetes footprint. Meanwhile, developers retain their independence with self-service access to the resources they need to deploy their applications in multiple clouds.

 

Supporting transformation with scalable multi-cloud management

Ten years ago, many businesses were hesitant to move mission-critical software to the cloud. Today, migrating applications to multiple clouds is a business imperative. Adopting a scalable multi-cloud management platform that empowers developers while enabling IT operations teams to retain control is crucial for achieving transformation goals. ▪

Multi-Cloud Operations: Visibility & Control

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VMware Cloud Management Platform

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Empowering Developers Through Automation and Cloud

VMware cloud management technology helps speed the delivery of IT services through automation, boosting developer agility while maintaining governance and control. Read how these companies are leveraging automation and the cloud.

 

Going from months to minutes for a large pharmaceutical company

A large pharmaceutical company needed more agility to speed its software development cycles. Because of strict security protocols, it was taking up to six weeks to deploy a single virtual machine in the cloud. The company’s security team had to perform a security audit, and the networking team had to ensure firewall boundaries were set correctly. 

 

With help from VMware, the company automated security and networking tasks in a consistent and reliable process using cloud management software. As a result, it was able to cut the timeline for this 48-step process from six weeks to six minutes—while conforming to the same security standards and approval guidelines. The company’s IT team can now turn around requests from software developers much more quickly while also helping the company become more agile and innovative.

 

Modernising infrastructure for a large telecom company

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Bharti Airtel ranks amongst the top three mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. The company is modernising its infrastructure to better compete in the market and win in the race for 5G leadership. As part of an ambitious IT transformation initiative, Airtel implemented VMware infrastructure software solutions in its data centres and hybrid cloud. Every component of the company’s network can be managed virtually from a single console, allowing engineers to make changes in minutes instead of months. 

 

In addition, the solutions offer developers highly agile and secure development environments. Automation through VMware vRealize enables Airtel developers to quickly build applications in any cloud with secure and consistent operations. Through a self-service portal, they can now provision their own IT resources, speeding up app development and deployment.