There’s a myth about clouds that they are an easy button that magically makes complexity disappear. Sure, business runs better on the cloud and there are huge business and technical benefits to moving workloads and applications to the cloud. But the multi-cloud world is no panacea. In fact, managing the multi-cloud world is tough.

The elasticity and flexibility that the cloud makes possible increases the complexities of operating and supporting clouds. And, multi cloud management complexity increases as the number of clouds and where they run grows. Our most recent Cisco Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report bears this out. According to the survey, organizations are looking to the cloud to increase their business agility and application performance. But those same organizations said that complexity is the number one challenge in their cloud ecosystem.

Complexity is, at its core, an operational issue. To simply add cloud resources and endpoints doesn’t solve the problem. As cloud resources and endpoints scale, it becomes an operational challenge to effectively manage all the moving parts running in multiple locations. Far too often, the management of these resources is as disparate as the number of endpoints. What is needed is an overarching layer that can inform and automate key management decisions across functions and regardless of the underlying infrastructure. This is no easy task.

But it is one that Cisco can help with.

Due to the breadth of our portfolio, we’re uniquely positioned to help you bring simplicity, consistency and security to your cloud operating model. Cisco solutions deliver a consistent experience to all users, connect multiple clouds, support the future of work, secure your cloud workloads, and simplify cloud operations.

In this blog, the last in a series of five, we’ll take a look at the challenge of managing hybrid and multi-cloud operations and how Cisco solves these challenges for customers.

The Keys to Operational Excellence

Cloud operations is too broad a function to be addressed with a single type of solution. Rather it is more effectively managed through key, interconnected and unified capabilities that address key operational challenges. These challenges include cloud-native applications, hosting environments, operational visibility and infrastructure as code.

Consistent, Modern Application Environment

Managing legacy, monolithic applications is relatively easy. Managing cloud native applications—the new standard for multi cloud environments—is a bit more challenging because of their distributed nature. Simplified and consistent operations need to provide simplified Kubernetes container management with both flexibility and consistency.

Cisco Intersight Service provides enterprise-grade Kubernetes management from the cloud in minutes. It is fully upstream compatible and can manage Kubernetes add-ons and extensions.

API management is also critically important for the modern cloud-native application. An incomplete or outdated API can impair performance and introduce security attack points.

Cisco has been one of the driving forces behind the open source APIClarity project, specifically intended to provide greater insights and assist with API management. Through APIClarity, you can analyze your APIs to determine which APIs represent vulnerabilities from a business logic or security standpoint.

Flexible Edge/Hybrid Hosting

Multi-cloud environments typically have hybrid elements, combining public, private and on-premise infrastructure. To maintain operations for the entire environment, it’s key to be able to manage the on-prem and edge-hosted environments.

Cisco Hyperflex and Cisco ACI provide a powerful, consolidated hybrid platform. This integrated solution can host all workload types, including traditional and cloud-native applications. Its modern, software-driven architecture provides a consistent operational experience for workloads at both the core and edge.

Cloud Operations Everywhere

The act of simplification is about minimizing the number of operational touchpoints—not adding to them. This principle should be at the core of your effort to tame complexity. And this means maximizing the number of cloud services you can manage through a unified management platform. Key operations, especially manual tasks, should be automated through AI-informed insights. And, to be truly everywhere, the solution should be SaaS-based.

Cisco Intersight, including Infrastructure Service, Workload Optimizer, Cloud Orchestrator and Virtualization Service, provide this common platform across multiple public and private clouds. The robust roster of cloud services can manage, orchestrate and optimize data center workloads in any cloud.

Infrastructure as Code

Traditional network operations don’t translate well to cloud operations and, too often, become a bottleneck for cloud and developers of cloud native applications. Through Infrastructure as code (IaC), it’s possible to codify the cloud and network infrastructure through providers such as Hashicorp’s Terraform. The result is an easily defined infrastructure that is resilient and repeatable across multiple functional teams.

Cisco has several solutions that support IaC through integrations with Hashicorp. These solutions include several Cisco Intersight Service for Terraform and Cisco ACI.

The key to taming operational complexity is a more unified approach to management across more of the cloud ecosystem. To this end, no other vendor provides a more comprehensive set of solutions, connecting users and workloads across multiple clouds. So rather than knotting together disparate solutions, you can tap Cisco for a simplified approach. For more information, check out the latest Cisco cloud news.



Link to all blogs in the Cisco Age of Cloud Blog Series

Cisco Study: Your Cloud Adoption Strategy is Highly Dependent on Evolving to a Cloud Operating Model

Cisco 2022 Global Hybrid Trends Report



Daryl Coon

Cisco Customer Solutions Marketing