Under The Hood

Leading Continuous Digital Transformation

Agile, Cloud, Digital Agenda, Operating Model

Silicon Valley goes multi-cloud

Silicon Valley’s journey to being the current centre of high technology has been based upon incremental changes during its history. Its foundations were laid through the joint efforts of Stanford university and military investments at the beginning of 20th century  [*]. Over time the area’s engineers started to work more and more with Stanford University, which made both the university and the companies in its surrounding areas stronger.

According to Wikipedia, the element ‘Silicon’ in the Silicon Valley name, comes from the time when several innovators and manufacturers in the area were specialising in MOS transistors and integrated circuit chips using silicon. Even today, many large companies rely on Silicon Valley to provide highly qualified experts in the area. Having so much expertise all in the same place encourages the large number of start-ups that the valley enjoys. 

In September 2019, I attended Cloud Field Tech Day in Silicon Valley.  During this visit, I met several cloud infrastructure companies and throughout the event, I recognised two recurring topics: multi-cloud operations and data security.

From on-premises to public cloud to multi-cloud

Many companies are increasingly shifting to cloud environments, setups that may be even more complex than we realise. According to a recent study by IBM, 85% of companies maintain multiple cloud environments. For companies, what this means is that there needs to be a way to manage these environments.

Companies we visited during the event revealed a picture of ever more complex technology landscapes in which they operate. Their customers were using several cloud environments (AWS, Azure…) simultaneously. The technology stacks that these companies operate on is constantly developing and there are new products and services that need to be supported by this cloud infrastructure. With increasing complexity and demand from business applications, companies are constantly moving ahead with their multi-cloud environments.

Dell have taken their cloud thinking further than ever before, as they revealed in their session. They are no longer just about the public cloud but moving toward an operating model. They were offering VMs from a private cloud. When compared to operating in an on-premises environment, this approach leads to advanced needs for security, networking and integration.

Cloud data challenges solved with new innovations

As a project manager, I coordinate many data intensive projects. For this reason, I was delighted to hear how Hammerspace and LucidLink were solving data challenges in the modern IT environment.

Many companies have problems copying data across sites in their IT environment. LucidLink’s approach was to allow users to access files directly from where they are located with mitigated latency. Hammerspace has created a universal global namespace which could be used in multi-cloud environment. Both these solutions seem to be increasingly useful when working with very large files across sites on many different continents.

Developing and deploying

I was very impressed with the software development of these companies. What surprised me was the level of professionalism and the level of quality that their approaches had attained. I had a few ‘Ahaa’ moments, seeing product demos that detailed just how those companies had solved their problems, and the sheer rate at which they had been able to scale, especially Morpheusdata.

Morpheus has created a multi-cloud management platform for Hybrid IT and DevOps automation.  They have taken their integration capabilities to the next level by creating a configuration tool for quickly developing integration.

Solo.io’s brilliant CEO, Idit Levine, presented her company’s products at the event. Solo.io’s products have been created to work with multiple clouds. One of the topics which resonated with me was this description of a monolith application, compared to a microservice application; and how the data flows between different clouds. Solo.io has developed products that solve these challenges.

To summarise the event, it seems like the cloud infrastructure is developing quickly and solving the challenges that companies are facing with ever more complex multi-cloud environments. As the amount of data in the cloud increases, companies are going to find that they need ever more sophisticated ways to manage their data security in these cloud environments.

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