INSIGHT: Is it time to shift from Dev-to-Cloud to Enterprise-to-Cloud?

Why an “attitude and openness to adaptation” is key to getting hybrid cloud configurations right.

The majority of large enterprises are using cloud platforms now but few have shifted this use from their DevOps team over to central IT — but will in the next 1-2 years.

“When you do,” explains James Staten, VP and principal analyst of infrastructure and operations, Forrester Research, “you should quickly get your networking team involved.

“This is because most of the Dev-to-Cloud connections that have been put in place by your developers may not meet your corporate security or WAN performance standards.”

As organisations across New Zealand no doubt know by now, cloud use is not an isolated activity.

“Most applications built in the cloud are native hybrid, meaning they connect to something outside the cloud,” Staten adds.

“Most commonly these applications reach back into your corporate data centre to talk to systems of record, such as databases, CRM or ERP systems or other key corporate resources.

“The connections established most often by these developers are public links secured with SSL or VPN constructs.

“These are easy to establish by the developers but are often set up without the QoS or security controls your networking teams have established for other corporate WAN links.”

So for organisations wanting consistency in WAN policies, Staten believes it’s time to get the networking experts involved.

Public Cloud

Staten says the leading public clouds provide a growing variety of WAN options today including private links, dark fibre connections and MPLS links via the leading network and colocation providers.

“The key is determining which connections make the most sense in what scenarios,” he adds.

“If you want to ensure QoS for your new applications, want the ability to prioritise certain traffic over others, need to ensure tight encryption controls and packet auditing, you will want to take advantage of these new options.

“But not universally. You’ll want to take a measured and multi-option approach that pairs the right WAN investments with the appropriate applications, as a universal dark fibre decision will raise your cloud costs significantly."

Networking teams also need to adapt to the cloud - not the other way around, Staten warns.

“Their skills and knowledge are applicable to the public cloud networking constructs and options provided but you won’t be able to bring your own networking solutions (at least not your hardware),” he cautions.

“And forcing the development teams to wait for the networking team to have a plan won’t work either.”

As a result, Staten recommends bringing in a small team or individual admin from the networking team who is open to new options and approaches and is willing to learn from and accommodate the agility that cloud developers are driving.

“Have them engage with your cloud developers,” he advises, “get to know the options provided by the clouds they are using and build out a plan that will unburden the developers from network configuration, while adapting their networking choices to set ups that work best for the company.”

For Staten, an “attitude and openness to adaptation” is key to getting hybrid cloud configurations right.

“And if you still can’t achieve your corporate needs let your cloud providers know where they fall short,” he adds.

“They want your business and are eager for this feedback. But remember, ‘I want to put my networking equipment in your data centre,’ is likely a nonstarter.”