Why multi-cloud and edge deployments are hard
|Brittany Hainzinger in IoT Monday, March 9, 2020|
With the rise of IoT and AI, apps and data are becoming increasingly distributed across edge and diverse public cloud environments. Unfortunately, organizations face major infrastructure and security challenges in supporting these new deployments, a new survey from Volterra shows.
Volterra announced the results of a new global survey of more than 400 IT executives showing that organizations face major infrastructure and security challenges in supporting multi-cloud and edge deployments. Conducted by Propeller Insights, the survey reveals that multi-cloud deployments are being driven primarily by a need to maximize availability and reliability for applications, while at the edge IoT is the top use case driving deployments. However, multi-cloud deployments are threatened by security and connectivity problems due to differences between cloud providers, as well as operational challenges in managing workloads across several clouds. Meanwhile, edge deployments suffer from an inability to meet unique infrastructure needs as well as difficulties in managing apps across different edge sites.
“The increasing deployment of technologies including AI, machine learning and IoT are causing apps and data to be increasingly spread across multiple clouds and edge sites. This is leading to a number of serious operational and security challenges for organizations trying to support multi-cloud and edge deployments,” said Ankur Singla, CEO and founder, Volterra. “In this survey, we found 70% of IT leaders think it’s ‘very important’ to have a consistent operational experience between the edge and public and private clouds. But as the data shows, there are tremendous issues preventing this within edge sites and multiple clouds. Volterra was founded with the mission to bridge those gaps and enable organizations to easily deploy, connect, secure and operate apps across a distributed cloud environment.”
Benefits and Barriers in Multi-Cloud Deployments
Ninety-seven percent of IT leaders surveyed indicated that they are planning to distribute workloads across two or more clouds. Respondents identified three key reasons for putting the same workloads at multiple cloud providers:
- Maximizing availability and reliability (63%)
- Meeting regulatory and compliance requirements (47%)
- Leveraging best-of-breed services from each provider (42%)
Multi-cloud deployments yield better availability and reliability by ensuring that if one cloud happens to go down, the app will still be available in another cloud. It’s also advantageous for regulatory and compliance reasons as it allows organizations to keep an app’s data in a specific geographic region if local law mandates it. Finally, multi-cloud enables organizations to leverage the unique advantages of each cloud, such as Google Cloud Platform’s strength in machine learning or Microsoft Azure’s seamless integration with Office 365 databases.
But major issues with security, connectivity reliability and performance, and inconsistent service offerings make it difficult to efficiently deploy and operate multi-cloud deployments. When asked about the biggest challenges in managing workloads across different cloud providers, IT leaders highlighted as the top problems:
- Secure and reliable connectivity between providers (60%)
- Different support and consulting processes (54%)
- Different platform services (53%)
- Furthermore, respondents indicated that their biggest challenges when connecting between cloud providers for a shared workload are security (54%), reliability (44%), and performance (39%).
Edge Cloud Adoption and Challenges
Propeller Insight’s survey data around edge computing shows that organizations are deploying apps at the edge to primarily support IoT (57%), smart manufacturing (52%) and content delivery (46%). Respondents explained that their organizations are putting these workloads at the edge rather than public or private clouds because they need to control and analyze data for these use cases locally (54%) and there’s too much latency when sending edge data to public cloud-based apps (47%).
However, edge deployments also face serious challenges, with managing infrastructure and apps across numerous edge sites posing potential barriers to success. When asked to identify the biggest business concerns about having apps at the edge, IT execs pointed to:
The difficulty in managing apps across multiple edge locations (44%)
An inability to accommodate the IT infrastructure needed to host and operate at the edge (38%)
Furthermore, when asked to describe the more specific technical challenges at the edge, respondents called out the difficulty of integrating cloud-native workflows like automation, CI/CD and performance management (69%) and trouble installing a full set of application infrastructure (compute/storage/network/security) (67%).
The survey also looked at the challenges of managing edge deployments over the longer term, revealing that the two biggest challenges to operating edge apps for their entire lifecycle are:
The lack of resources or time to keep applications and infrastructure up-to-date (37%)
Managing distributed clusters as siloed instances rather than a single resource (26%)
“There are a few key themes that jump out from the data and illustrate why organizations are struggling with multi-cloud and edge deployments,” said Ankur Singla. “For multi-cloud deployments, the biggest challenges are security, connectivity, and operations. There simply isn’t enough visibility across cloud platforms and it’s impossible for organizations to establish consistent policies or a common operational experience. For edge deployments, the biggest challenges are accommodating infrastructure needs and managing apps across different edge sites.”
“These issues reflect the major headaches that come from trying to manage apps distributed across multiple clouds or disparate edge sites with the current tools available. The status quo simply won’t work any longer. Organizations need a way to manage all these components as a single, distributed cloud to effectively leverage multi-cloud and edge deployments and the data within them,” said Singla.