Addressing the Challenges of Hybrid & Multi-Cloud Management Through Network Automation

October 22, 2020 | Rich Martin
Addressing the Challenges of Hybrid & Multi-Cloud Management Through Network Automation

Enterprises have adopted a hybrid model of operation, with applications and services hosted in both on-prem data centers and in multiple cloud environments. With more applications and services migrating to cloud and increasing complexity; network teams are faced with key challenges around how quickly they can deploy and manage their networking infrastructure in multiple cloud service providers, while still managing their physical infrastructure.

While the expansion of hybrid and multi-cloud deployments has been occurring for years, it has recently been accelerated by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing enterprises to accelerate their timelines for digital transformation initiatives. This was a prominent theme that was discussed throughout last week’s ONUG Fall digital event and I wanted to share some insight Itential took away from the event to help organizations overcome the challenges they’re currently facing.

The Challenges of Scaling Cloud Networks

With the demand for network consumption constantly increasing in today’s digital-first world, enterprises are challenged with scaling their current infrastructure into cloud networks in order to meet this demand. But network teams are struggling to make this transition at scale because their responsibility has expanded into managing cloud technologies in tandem with their on-prem and data center networking technology.

Cloud brings a new set of network services and a new way of management that is foreign to the way network engineers traditionally manage on-prem infrastructure. Native cloud networking services, while similar in function to physical network infrastructure, are completely different in terms of how organizations provision, manage, and troubleshoot. Cloud devices also require a learning curve as they don’t operate exactly like physical hardware and previous assumptions cannot be applied to the cloud.

Networking teams need a way to manage and automate on-prem and cloud infrastructure together, along with the IT systems that are required to integrate in order to manage modern frameworks. If network teams can’t figure out how to effectively manage network infrastructure across the different domains at scale, their organizations are put at risk of getting left behind by their competitors who can.

The Need for API-First Automation

As network teams are learning to navigate managing cloud infrastructure, they’re also dealing with multiple cloud providers offering unique services or solutions. While a multi-cloud strategy provides more options and flexibility, it also multiplies the challenges teams are facing as there is no consistency in the way each cloud provider is deployed and managed. They need a way to unify their hybrid and multi-cloud environments in order to successfully deploy at scale. The only way to manage both on-prem and cloud infrastructure is with an API-first approach to automation.

By adopting an API-first automation strategy, hybrid and multi-cloud management is dramatically simplified as it allows teams to manage each device type, network domain and vendor in one location, regardless of whether it exist on-prem or in the cloud and agnostic to where it is currently being managed (Red Hat Ansible, Cisco NSO, etc.).

During ONUG Fall, I presented a Proof of Concept that showcased how the Itential Automation Platform utilizes an API-first approach to easily automate the deployment of network infrastructure in both on-prem and cloud environments utilizing multiple network controllers.

The Itential Automation Platform was built with an API-first approach that enables organizations to build and execute end-to-end automations, regardless if it is on-prem or in the cloud. Our low-code environment allows network engineers to quickly create automations to deploy, migrate, and manage the necessary network infrastructure for their applications as they migrate them into any cloud service provider. Itential also offers a variety of Pre-Built Automations for network operation functions ranging from software upgrades and configuration management to Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) management that enable network engineers to simply and accelerate their automation efforts across multi-domain and multi-vendor use cases.

If your organization can benefit from an API-first approach, I would love to speak with you and really dive into the time to value that our automation platform can deliver, no matter where you are on your automation journey. Click here to schedule a demo.

Rich Martin

Senior Technical Marketing Engineer ‐ Itential

Rich Martin is a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer at Itential. Previously, Rich has worked at several networking vendors as a both a Pre-Sales Systems Engineer and Systems Engineering Manager but started his career with a background in software development and Linux. He has a passion for automation in the networking domain, and at Itential he helps networking teams to get started quickly and move forward successfully on their network automation journey.

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