Containers and microservices for multi-cloud applications
“Are cloud technologies worth the investment?”
Five years ago, this was a very common question asked by organizations. A lot has changed since then. We are now fully embedded in the era of the cloud, and today, the popular question asked by organizations has shifted to:
“How do I best manage and optimize my cloud strategy?”
Cloud technology has now become a strategy that needs managing, as many organizations are utilizing several cloud services concurrently and thus operating in a multi-cloud environment.
What is multi-cloud?
The multi-cloud environment emerges when an organization uses more than one cloud provider for various business operations. This may be an intentional plan, where different cloud providers are leveraged strategically depending on which cloud has stronger service for each use case. For example, a development team may choosing to develop, test and deploy in an Azure environment while simultaneously pulling from data stored in AWS. Multi-cloud scenarios can also come into play during the transition time when migrating from one cloud provider to another.
Development in multi-cloud
If an organization is already operating in a multi-cloud environment or quickly heading in that direction, the next crucial step is to figure out how to manage and optimize the multiple cloud environments in order to maximize outcomes. Effectively managing multiple clouds to align certain workloads with the right toolsets is key to producing and operating the most robust and responsive applications. The truth is that some clouds perform certain services better than others, and the multi-cloud model offers an opportunity for leveraging the top performance from each cloud. So, what is the best way to engage with several clouds at once to achieve the highest functioning application without creating a big, convoluted mess? Make sure to use microservices with containers.
Microservices and containers
Microservices and containers are all about isolation of the execution. Microservices is a development architecture where large, monolithic applications are broken down and built in multiple, independent applications which can run independently. Each module performs specific functions, and connects and communicates with other modules using some kind of queue mechanism. Microservices are increasingly being run on containers, which are separate execution environments existing on a single virtual machine. Microservices and containers combined create a faster executing application and a more reliable, cost-effective solution.
There are certain features of microservices and containers that make them well-suited for operating an application across multiple clouds:
Microservices are self-contained and not dependent on other parts of the application to run. Containers are also portable and can run as long as their OS matches the OS of their environment.
Because, microservices are independent, they can be developed to suit any environment and are easily scalable. Containers can be configured to various environments through management tools. Another bonus is that containers already have a built-in connection network, so there is no need to build a separate network.
Because of their portability and flexibility, microservices and containers lend themselves to the streamlined operation of an application across multiple clouds. They make it possible for part of an application to be executed in an Azure environment and communicate with other parts of an application running in an AWS environment. Container orchestration and management systems, such as Kubernetes, automate deployment and management of containerized applications. DevOps teams can leverage these technologies to easily manage and transfer workloads across multiple clouds.
Like anything else, microservices and containers in a multi-cloud environment are not without challenges. In a multi-cloud environment, microservices may need to interact between the different clouds, and the security settings of each cloud might block this interaction. With the right planning and management of configurations by an operations or DevOps team, challenges like this can be easily overcome.
With many organizations already operating in a multi-cloud model and many others headed in that direction, it is important to begin considering how multiple clouds can be strategically leveraged to optimize results. For application development and execution, containerized microservice applications are the key to having the most flexibility, speed and portability in the multi-cloud environment. With a solid multi-cloud strategic plan in place, companies can begin seamlessly orchestrating operations across multiple clouds, not only increasing the velocity of operations, but ultimately improving user experience and paving the way for more innovative technologies.
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