Multicloud is becoming the foundation of successful digital transformation initiatives. And IoT, Edge computing, analytics and machine learning, robotics, and manufacturing 4.0 are accelerating the pace of investments in multicloud. IDC forecasts that by 2024 75% of enterprises will leverage modern architectures for most of their business workloads across multicloud environments.
But as enterprises embrace multicloud models, challenges are emerging with a new level of complexity. Ensuring the required compliance and securing and delivering a consistent cloud experience by optimizing workload placement with unified management tools and processes are key concerns for enterprises, as is managing cloud vendor relationships.
Communications service providers (CSPs) have a unique market position to help enterprises manage the multicloud, building and consuming applications with the required agility and resilience. But to succeed against other cloud managed services providers, CSPs need to build the foundations for successful multicloud operations, especially to help traditional enterprises in their digital transformation.
- Deliver consistent management and orchestration with full automation. CSPs must deliver policy-driven, automated management and orchestration solutions that abstract away underlying cloud-specific dependencies. Cloud and networking will be unified in a single control plane powered by AI/ML technologies for API management across private clouds, public clouds, and edge clouds.
- Create real-time application-aware networks. To deliver the requested multicloud experience, CSPs need to modernize their networks from datacenter interconnection to the transport and the access layers. As the number of critical applications increases with different SLA requirements, it is critical to improving network visibility, performance monitoring and troubleshooting with autonomous driving networks. They will simplify network operations while ensuring that connectivity is workload-centric and policy-based.
- Build on CSP security and Zero Trust. To succeed in the multicloud business, CSPs must enforce strong governance and control mechanisms and improve their capabilities to anticipate, detect, and respond to risks in multicloud environments. They will rely on their cloud-agnostic positioning and on the unique visibility they have on Internet traffic. Additionally, as trusted partners, CSPs are well-positioned to deliver multicloud operations with local and regional sovereignty requirements.
Sitting on these foundations, the multicloud will create new revenue streams for CSPs. The most promising opportunities are secure cloud aggregation, mobile private networks and edge computing, and network data exposure.
- Mobile private networks and edge computing will require multicloud capabilities. They will simplify development, deployment, and management. CSPs will help enterprises using mission-critical applications, vertical software, AI/ML solutions hosted in public, vertical, and telco clouds. With application-aware networks, CSPS will abstract the complexity of the underlying infrastructure such as IoT devices, connectivity modules, gateways, security appliances, and storage and compute infrastructure. They will be able to personalize multicloud solutions with "pay as you go" and business outcome-based models.
- Secure cloud aggregation. CSPs will capture secure cloud aggregation market shares with multiple services starting with cloud architecture assessment, which needs regular updates due to frequent releases in cloud solutions. CSPs will also deliver visibility, assurance and compliance services to reduce risks and remediate misconfigurations. In addition, the native security attributes of application-aware networks such as micro-segmentation and network slicing will represent new revenue opportunities.
- Network data exposure. 5G will deliver network exposure data to third parties such as developers, enterprises, and ecosystem partners. This data will be delivered and processed in multiple clouds and in some instances third parties will send back information to the cloud and the network, requiring agile real-time control and security capabilities. CSPs can enhance their current connectivity portfolio with network data and create new services that software developers and ecosystem partners will consume on connected cloud platforms.
Putting a multicloud strategy at the heart of CSP enterprise business is crucial. It serves as a foundation for delivering greater innovation and new revenue streams in the short- and long-term with mobile private networks and edge computing, secure cloud, and network data exposure. To position themselves at the forefront of multicloud, CSPs need to define their path to orchestration, application-ware networks, and security and trust.
Guest IDC Blogger: Bruno Teyton
Date: May 2021