Co-author: Mike Dilio, Sr. Product Marketing Manager
These days, data could be stored anywhere, in any environment. It’s spread across on-premises and offsite locations, public and private clouds, pure and hybrid installations. Networks have gotten more complex, and management is more siloed. At the same time, IT organizations are expected to maintain everything flawlessly, delivering high availability across globally distributed infrastructure with disparate toolsets. This is the challenge of Hybrid Cloud Networks.
Early adopters have charged ahead with cloud data centers, enthusiastic about taking advantage of their flexibility. Most enterprises are thinking about the cloud, doing a bit of work in the lab, or spinning up a few disks to test out how it works. But while they are willing to experiment, they still want to keep their on-premises environments. At the same time, we know that over the next few years, environments will become even more widespread. IDC forecasts that “by 2023, 55% of enterprises will replace outdated operational models with cloud-centric models that allow for better alignment between IT operations and public cloud operations.”
Hybrid cloud makes everything more complicated
As network operations teams venture into cloud territory, many begin to realize the struggle is real. With data everywhere, hybrid cloud networks are more challenging to manage. But why?
Tools are multiplying
A single operator could handle an on-premises network with homegrown scripting, spreadsheets, and command-line interfaces. But tools start to proliferate with the addition of cloud environments.
NetOps, DevOps, SecOps, and CloudOps teams acquire specialized commercial software, SaaS deployments, custom scripts, and pricey northbound integrations to meet their needs for data engineering and intelligence.
Issues are onerous to pinpoint
Even with all these tools, IT organizations still have difficulty creating simple workflows to respond to tickets raised by users.
When each team only has a narrow window for monitoring their own domain and those separate datasets aren’t correlated, there’s no systematic way to identify root causes for anomalies. It takes specialized expertise to connect and route data across regions using cloud-specific APIs and network services.
There’s a deluge of devices and things getting connected
Now add in IoT sensors, which are growing by the millions (the Cisco Annual Internet Report projects that there will be 14.7 billion IoT or machine-to-machine connections by 2023). Add endpoint devices, including personal devices that users are bringing to the office or working on from home. (ISC)² found that “66% [of enterprise IT security teams surveyed] now have a BYOD [bring your own device] policy in place, up from 41.5% pre-pandemic.”
Provisioning new devices, servers, users, and internet access manually is time consuming, requiring many steps for installing, setting parameters, creating connections, customizing, securing, configuring, auditing, and verifying.
Consider how the number of attack surfaces has multiplied. The Cisco Future of Secure Remote Work report found that 61% of global respondents “experienced a jump of 25% or more in cyber threats or alerts since the start of COVID-19.”
As a result, some IT organizations resort to overprovisioning their firewall services. They bring on more point solutions for protecting workloads, with different tools for security, compliance, forensics, and simulation.
Every app needs a great network
Finally, there are more applications creating and accessing more data, with more application dependencies. Those applications need to be configured and maintained. SaaS tools need optimum bandwidth and latency.
As complexities and expectations escalate, hybrid network management often remains inefficient and subpar, despite all the tools and money and people on the tasks.
The answer to all this complexity? A single command center
Since much of the difficulty with managing hybrid networks lies in their scattered nature, bringing everything together in one place goes a long way to addressing it:
- A single user interface with access to all the required tools
- Orchestration for all interconnected sites
- Unified monitoring and analysis of all relevant data
Organizations need to get hybrid cloud right for their data center networks because hybrid is here to stay. A command center that puts the entire hybrid network at your fingertips, visible through one pane of glass, gives you all the versatility of a diverse, distributed environment and vastly simplified management.
To learn more about how to streamline hybrid network management, read the e-book Designing Your Hybrid Cloud Command Center: The Advantages of Full-Stack Observability and Network Automation.