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Cloud optimisation helps businesses create agility and boost resilience

Cloud optimisation helps businesses create agility and boost resilience

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The top-line initiative for businesses using cloud computing in 2021 is cloud optimisation. By doing this, tech leaders can reallocate wasted spend and achieve more success within their set budgets. J.J. Kardwell, CEO of bootstrapped cloud computing company, Constant, believes optimising cloud computing has become the preferred model for most businesses to modernise IT portfolios and create agility within the company. He explains how consumption of cloud services has continued to increase and how it has improved business resiliency.

Why do you think optimising cloud computing has become the preferred model for most businesses to modernise IT portfolios? How does optimising cloud computing create agility within a company?

The original promise of the cloud was attractive to businesses because of the security, flexibility and agility of the cloud infrastructure model and the cost benefits of converting capital expenses to operating expenses. The pace of cloud adoption accelerated because of the drive toward Digital Transformation, and cloud adoption picked up again due to the pandemic.

What’s interesting about the cloud space today is that in an environment where a handful of hyperscale cloud providers dominate the sector, there’s emerging demand for independent, enterprise-grade cloud options. That demand is being met by independent cloud providers. Independent cloud providers can offer a value proposition that’s similar to what the hyperscale providers offer but with a simpler interface, lower adoption requirements and a more attractive price.

How do cloud services improve business resiliency?

As an Infrastructure-as-a-Service vendor, Constant offers Vultr, our flagship product, which is built to be fault tolerant and to empower users to better prepare for traffic spikes, disasters and business and product evolution. As an example of how our cloud services improve resilience, Vultr’s object storage replicates application data three times to ensure high availability and data durability. Vultr’s load balancer makes it easy to distribute traffic across nodes, and thanks to the cloud’s elasticity, users can add more nodes behind a load balancer in just minutes, instead of having to procure and provision new systems. To prepare for disaster, users can automate backups of VMs and their data. Newer practices like infrastructure as code make it much easier to evolve or completely recreate infrastructure environments as business needs change.

What are the benefits of containerisation?

Some of the biggest benefits include features like portability, reproducibility and resource utilisation. Containers package an application along with its dependencies, and this allows them to run consistently across environments, whether they are on public or private cloud, or even on a developer’s personal computer. The fact that containers run in isolated workspaces within a machine’s OS (instead of requiring a whole new virtual machine on top of an existing machine) makes them a much more resource-efficient option.

Constant has expanded Vultr’s driver support and added new tooling for Kubernetes, a self-healing, load-balanced, automated orchestration platform that manages containers, storage, DNS and scales infrastructure to meet changing loads. Standardised software containers and orchestration platforms like Kubernetes are replacing manual configuration methods to help users streamline their operations.

Our Vultr Kubernetes Engine can run users’ container workloads in a cluster that’s integrated with Vultr’s DNS, block storage and load balancers. Vultr manages the control plane and worker nodes so users can focus on scaling applications seamlessly based on storage required or public traffic. This eliminates the complexity of managing Kubernetes.

What’s the best way for companies to decide whether to adopt a public, private or multi-cloud?

Public cloud has exploded over the past decade because it’s going to be the ‘right’ solution for most organisations, at least in many situations. The main difference between public and private cloud is that a public cloud allows different organisations to use the same underlying infrastructure, whereas a private cloud implies that a business customer is the single tenant. The advantages of public cloud are primarily related to improving overall resource utilisation, which lowers the cost. The advantages of a private cloud are primarily control, the most consistent performance and the ability to comply with regulatory or security requirements.

Multi-cloud is a strategy that enables organisations to mix and match technologies from different cloud vendors. In some cases, that might mean using services that are best on one platform, and in other scenarios, it might mean using a particular vendor because it delivers superior price-performance for certain workloads. Multi-cloud can also help organisations be prepared should a specific vendor suffer an outage or otherwise fail to meet expectations.

For most businesses, price, ease of use and performance are the top priorities, and they can optimise all three with an independent cloud provider. Multi-cloud services through an independent platform can dramatically lower costs, deliver simplicity in the user interface and enhance performance, thereby enabling the business to achieve superior cloud optimisation.

Thirty percent of companies are using three or more clouds. Why would a company choose to use three or more?

The best reason to use multiple clouds is that you can then take advantage of the strengths of different vendors. The hyperscale clouds offer hundreds of products, of course, and they continue to introduce new ones at a very rapid pace. Some of these newer services might be worth using from time to time, even if many of them end up having niche appeal for very targeted use cases.

Independent cloud products are focused almost exclusively on the fundamental value of the cloud- the infrastructure layer of compute, storage and network. Vultr’s focus on the fundamentals has led to a streamlined user interface and API that are much easier for developers to learn and use. This, of course, helps developers and businesses move faster and realise value from their cloud investments more quickly. As an example, a customer might use an independent cloud provider for particular applications so they can stand the applications up more easily and experience lower operating costs over time.

Independent clouds also offer better value than the big three hyperscale providers. Cloud infrastructure truly doesn’t have to be as expensive as the largest cloud vendors make it, primarily with charges for services that many users don’t need. Another pain point for businesses is that hyperscale providers present unpredictable, complex bills, whereas independent cloud providers can provide greater flexibility. This often impacts users in the form of unexpected overage charges for compute and network usage, all of which can be contained and made more predictable through an independent cloud provider.

Why do companies decide to use a cloud managed service and what are the benefits?

The general benefit of using a managed service, e.g., to operate open source software, is that an organisation need not staff manual operation of a cloud service (or otherwise reinvent an automated way of managing that service). Managed services customers can therefore focus on their core business.

Managed services often allow their customers to automatically upgrade software, so they might take advantage of new features in the base open source technology, and this also often helps users keep their systems more current on security updates. Managed services can sometimes come with additional features, e.g., user interface and administration, that are not part of the open source software or a managed database offering, like a relational database.

What are the benefits of a public cloud PaaS?

Using a public cloud PaaS might make sense for a small percentage of users, but most prefer a wider range of choices and flexibility, which PaaS doesn’t provide. PaaS providers lock users into a connected set of features that make it more difficult to extricate their business from when it needs change. A developer-centric cloud computing platform that allows users to build and scale applications efficiently tends to be a better and more flexible solution for most businesses. Particularly given how easily most technologies can be integrated, most users prefer to choose a best-of-breed solution by category or optimise their selection of platform services based on their specific needs by use case. This is at odds with the typical PaaS approach, where a PaaS vendor wants users to embrace just their offerings.

What are the barriers facing companies with regards to multi-cloud?

The primary barrier is that using multiple clouds introduces complexity, and that each cloud is to a certain extent an island with its own private networking. Consequently, transferring data between clouds can be more expensive and slower than keeping data within a single cloud. There are ways to mitigate these issues with interconnection, but there is still complexity and costs associated with this.

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