According to IDC, by 2021, enterprises’ spending on cloud services and cloud-enabling hardware, software, and services will more than double to over $530 billion, leveraging a diversifying cloud environment that is 20% at the edge, more than 15% specialized (non-x86) compute, and more than 90% Multicloud. A high majority of enterprise IT organizations out there want to adopt multicloud now. It is thrilling to see enterprises around the world undertaking the key initiatives necessary to transform and stay ahead of the game in a multicloud era. Let’s examine what it takes to deliver the promise behind these initiatives.

Multicloud Journey – Before the “How”, Consider the “Why” and “What”

Embracing a multicloud world is important to increasing the pace of innovation for every company today. But it can be daunting to even large IT organizations to embark upon the multicloud journey due to seemingly never-ending complexity, fragmented solutions that got implemented over time, and no consistency or data control. IDC found that about 89% of enterprises today do not have an actionable and optimized plan for cloud. Faced with CIO directives and urgent timelines, IT teams today are under extreme pressure to claim progress in adopting multicloud. Before getting into the “how” or even a POC, enterprise IT oranizations should consider the “why” and the “what” for their selected initiatives.

The “why” is about aligning the selected initiatives to needed business outcomes. For example, is IT management looking for cost reduction, agility, much-needed application technology enhancements, or on-demand and efficient scaling of IT, a competitive differentiator, or expanding the business?

The “what” is about capturing your multicloud requirements, prioritizing them, identifying dependencies, and scoping what you want to accomplish and by when. This involves coming up with distinct but connected initiatives that can be phased or accomplished in a complementary fashion.

Cisco’s multicloud approach and Multicloud Portfolio helps enterprise IT teams that are trying to take on a multicloud journey to determine the “why” and “what” and produce definitive multicloud requirements and an actionable plan.  Cisco Multicloud Approach
Here are key multicloud initiatives that enterprises around the world are considering. All these initiatives may not apply to every enterprise, and, in general, an enterprise may require additional initiatives based on their cloud adoption maturity and specific application needs.

1. Connect DC/Campus, CoLo, and Cloud

When enterprise IT organizations decide to a public cloud as part of their IT technology mix, this initiative becomes important. It involves connecting data centers or campuses directly to the cloud or via a colocation option. Secure connectivity to a public cloud includes considering having a CoLo in between DCs and the cloud for various reasons like backup, data sovereignty, and a high-speed connection to cloud infrastructure on the backend.

2. Connect Branches Direct-to-Cloud

When enterprise IT organizations with branches decide to have significant numbers of applications migrate to a public cloud or subscribe to SaaS offers, the branch’s connectivity direct to the cloud becomes important in delivering the best application user experience. Also, with the increased needs of edge computing and local analytics, it is paramount to have better and direct connectivity to the cloud applications from the edge. It essentially involves connecting branches directly to the public cloud application environments (including SaaS applications) using SD-WAN solutions with the high-speed Internet service providers locally available to each branch, as well as DNS security.

3. Build and Manage a Hybrid Cloud

Modernization has been a key driver for IT organizations, with various projects supporting it, including the adoption of a public cloud in the IT mix and transforming the consumption of IT on-premises into a cloud-like experience. According to a recent IDC survey, 87% of enterprises that are using the cloud are taking steps towards creating and managing a hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud is essentially an application infrastructure configuration that has both an on-premises private cloud and a public cloud for deploying applications in a hybrid model. An example is when the data tier is running on-premises with the web and app tier running on the public cloud.

4. Migrate and Manage Applications to Public Cloud

This is the most common initiative that enterprise IT management is asking their IT engineering and LOB engineering teams to tackle, and it has the potential to be the riskiest journey that IT can take. Many enterprises migrated applications to a public cloud and then brought them back on-premises due to various reasons they did not anticipate. This initiative requires careful selection with dependency analysis, meticulous planning, and end-to-end management of the applications to be migrated to a public cloud.

5. Manage Cloud-Native Applications in Public Clouds

With the onset of mature container technology and proliferation of cloud services, enterprise IT organizations and LOBs are driving the creation of new cloud-native applications or re-platforming existing applications to not only run the application better with scale at every microservice that is part of the application but to leverage cloud-native services that the application can use, such as auto-scaling of underlying Kubernetes on-prem as well as on the public cloud, serverless and cloud-agnostic application environments, and much more. Traditionally such capabilities required multiple management tools, but now auto-scaling is an attractive way to run the applications. This initiative requires bringing together networking, security, analytics and management for the cloud-native apps to span both on-premises and public cloud.

6. Burst Applications Into Public Cloud

Enterprise IT organizations are familiar with this strategy of extending on-premise capacity (aka bursting) for certain applications from the data center or private cloud to a public cloud infrastructure on-demand for application runtime needs. A good example of this can be found with retailers that have on premise ecommerce processing applications, but due to seasonal demands, that application footprint and sale is not enough to manage the ecommerce demand. This initiative also is becoming common among the emerging artificial intelligence (AI) applications that burst into the designated public cloud compute infrastructure, especially for analyzing the “hot” data at the edge along and expanding compute-crunching needs.

7. Optimize SaaS Application Connectivity and Security

Along with public cloud infrastructure adoption, software-as-a-service (SaaS) offers the enterprise a tremendous opportunity to realize an application’s business benefits by “renting” the application use vs. stretching to handle the management responsibilities of running it, updating it, etc. themselves.

Over the last 5+ years, SaaS delivery models for applications have demonstrated their ease of use, breadth, and affordability of packaged applications in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost of traditional models. But SaaS also changes the role of IT. Enterprise IT organizations can no longer guarantee that SaaS providers will meet IT’s compliance standards or use any leverage to negotiate better terms and conditions. Also, IT can do little to ensure the performance of SaaS offers from various enterprise offices, which rely on local Internet service providers – and the unpredictable internet access networks—who can impact the consistency of SaaS delivery, even in regions with highly developed Internet infrastructure. This initiative uses SD-WAN capability to optimize the network path and keep it optimized.

Below is an example of how Cisco’s multicloud approach addresses the “how” in order to deliver on the promise of multicloud when it comes to an organization’s initiative to migrate applications to a public cloud.

Migrate to the public cloud

By offering a simplified approach to answering “how,” our multicloud approach helps organizations understand the capabilities needed for their chosen initiatives in order to easily and confidently select the foundational products needed for the design and implementation stages of their multicloud initiatives.

Learn more about the multicloud initiatives and Cisco’s Multicloud Portfolio.




Lax Sakalkale

Director, Product Management

Multicloud Integration & Solutions