For many, Black Friday represents an opportunity to get the best shopping deals of the year. For enterprises, like those in retail, financial services, and shipping, it is where IT teams test their mettle.
Applications, infrastructure, and everything in between needs to function flawlessly, scale seamlessly, and provide customers across the globe with an excellent experience. Poor performance or an outage — even if just for a minute — can cost companies millions of pounds.
In years past, IT teams required excess hardware to sit idle all year in their data centre until this fateful weekend. Enterprises would spend a small fortune to have extra servers, routers, firewalls, and load balancers collect dust until they were needed during Black Friday.
Today, much of the data centre has migrated to the cloud. The flexibility, scale, and consumption model have all played part into the adoption—so much so that the question is no longer if enterprises should migrate to the cloud, but how many clouds should enterprises use.
The concept of multi-cloud, leveraging multiple cloud infrastructure in a single heterogeneous environment, is already a leading initiative for many enterprises. Multi-cloud delivers choice and flexibility. Enterprises can choose the cloud and services that are best suited to the company. Cloud A may have proprietary AI and machine learning that can improve the operational efficiency of logistics. Cloud B may provide better performance for customers in Asia, where Cloud A does not exist and Cloud C is a cost-effective contingency plan for Cloud A and B in the event of an outage. This is the dream but it is not the current reality.
Enterprises are adopting multiple clouds, but have not yet achieved multi-cloud. Instead of managing one data centre, IT teams are managing additional cloud silos. Each cloud works different than the next. The value of flexibility and choice are lost in the mire of complexity but it is not the fault of the cloud vendors.
Spinning up compute resources on AWS and Azure is similar and simple enough but deploying applications with the security and high availability required for high-demand usage (like Black Friday) is where the similarity ends. Application services, like load balancing and WAF, are opinionated about infrastructure. They are cumbersome to configure and make delivering applications extremely rigid. Traditional application services divide applications, budgets, and IT teams. Instead of managing just their data centres, enterprises now have to manage their data centres and multiple clouds without consistency.
However, realising multi-cloud is attainable and it does not require a joint Amazon or Microsoft solution or some crazy custom wizardry. All that is needed is a consistency layer of application services that can be deployed across clouds and data centres.
IT teams should not deploy and scale applications through the lens of infrastructure. They should quickly and easily deploy applications wherever it best suits the business. Abstracting away infrastructure specific application services gives enterprises the advantage of multi-cloud and this flexibility is what will transform how IT teams address Black Friday and other demand surges.