A distributed cloud is an architecture where multiple clouds are used to meet compliance needs, performance requirements, or support edge computing while being centrally managed from the public cloud provider.
In essence, a distributed cloud service is a public cloud that runs in multiple locations, including
Although there are multiple locations and geographies involved, all of the cloud services are managed as on from a single control plane that handles the differences and inconsistencies in such a hybrid, multi-cloud environment.
This distribution of services enables an organization to meet very specific requirements for response time and performance, regulatory or governance compliance mandate, or other demand requiring cloud infrastructure to be located anywhere other than the cloud provider’s typical availability zones.
The growth of the internet of things (IoT) and edge computing have been a major driver for distributed cloud deployments. Artificial intelligence (AI) applications that move large amounts of data from edge locations to the cloud require cloud services to be close as possible to edge locations, and moving cloud resources to the edge location itself can greatly increase performance for these applications.
Additionally, the ever-increasing number of government regulations such as the EU’s GDPR can demand that data be located in specific jurisdictions which may or may not be supported by a given public cloud provider, thus making a distributed cloud a necessity.
By bringing cloud services closer to a given user, application, or data, distributed clouds can offer
There are many benefits of a distributed cloud architecture. Gartner points to these as noteworthy:
In a distributed cloud, services are located or ‘distributed’ to specific locations to reduce latency and these services enjoy a single, consistent control place across public and private cloud environments. Gartner states that organizations can see major performance gains by lowering latency and reducing the can deliver major improvements in performance due to the elimination of latency issues, reducing overall risk of outage or control plane inefficiencies.
A distributed cloud takes not just an application but the entire computing stack and distributes it to the locations where it is needed, whether public cloud provider, on-premises, or in third party colocation facility. The consuming cloud customer sees this distributed infrastructure as a single cloud entity, and the cloud provider manages all of the elements of the distributed cloud as a whole from a single control plane.
The public cloud provider continues to be responsible for all cloud operations, including security, availability, updates, and governance of the entire distributed infrastructure. To paraphrase Gartner, distributed cloud fixes what hybrid cloud and multi-cloud breaks.
Distributed clouds offer a broad range of applications, from smart edge computing to simplifying the management of multi-cloud environments and hybrid deployments. Common use cases include:
Distributed cloud and edge computing support everything from simplified multi-cloud management to improved scalability and development velocity to the deployment of state-of-the-art automation and decision support applications and functionality.
Managing an enterprise using a multi-site cloud deployment has its challenges, including: