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James Clardy
May 29, 2017
MultiCloud Meets Microservices: New Connectivity Models Are a Must

As compute and communications Infrastructure-as-a-Service continues to attract enterprises and organizations for all the obvious benefits, IT teams are grappling with a different kind of complexity with the growth of different flavors of clouds (private, public, hybrid, application specific, and more) and the proliferation of creative new services made possible through virtualization.

MultiCloud environments are overtaking the challenges of hybrid cloud even as the tech industry has only just begun to solve for the integration of public and private cloud management systems, enabling a logical approach to standing up, managing and connecting different applications on different clouds.

When it comes to microservices, managing more and more productivity, workflow, business process and compliance solutions becomes exponentially more challenging. While there is no reason to limit the creativity and efficiency of microservices, IT teams and their DevOps partners are wise to take a step back and look at the entire environment they have today and will add onto, particularly when it comes to networking, connectivity, security, maintenance and economics before they find themselves locked into inflexible contracts, expensive monthly fees, and business risk.

Enterprises, governments and organizations doing anything at scale in big data, analytics, IoT, cloud communications, and application development for the web and mobile web, are naturally looking at events process and real time events processing models, especially when they are running real time businesses with a need for speed and agility.

The Latest Buzzword or Incredibly Significant Shift: Serverless Computing

“Serverless Computing” –  also known as function as a service (FaaS) – “is a cloud computing code execution model in which the cloud provider fully manages starting and stopping of a function’s container platform as a service (PaaS) as necessary to serve requests, and requests are billed by an abstract measure of the resources required to satisfy the request, rather than per virtual machine, per hour,” according to Ron Miller, writer at TechCrunch.

Amazon Web Services View

Naturally, servers are crucial to any digital business application; the “serverless” term arose in an attempt to define a scenario where the business that controls the system does not have to own, purchase, rent or manage servers or VMs for the code to run on.

Janakiram MSV is an analyst, advisor and an architect at Janakiram & Associates, wrote in Forbes that “serverless code can be used in conjunction with code written in traditional server style, such as microservices. For example, part of a web application could be written as microservices and another part could be written as serverless code. Alternatively, an application could be written that uses no provisioned servers at all, being completely serverless.”

Serverless code can either be triggered by specific events (such as user registration with Amazon Cognito), or be configured to run behind an API management platform to expose it as a REST API endpoint.

Comparing to traditional SOA based architectures, which rose up at the turn of the century, microservices and FaaS are lighter, faster and more scalable. Platforms are feeding the growth of microservices (examples include IBM’s WebSphere and Tibco’s ActiveMatrix) which have become popular because:

  • Developers are abstracted and do not have to wonder about configuring and provisioning infrastructure
  • Services are built and deployed at the single function level and not at the VM, container and application level, which is useful in development, prototyping and beta – extending in to GA
  • FaaS and microservices can be spun up and down very quickly and work with a variety of common programming languages

Why Not Spin Up Your Network as Easily as Microservices are Spun Up, Within a MultiCloud Environment?

At NetFoundry, we have developed easy-to-use connectivity services, which can be spun up and down, can be purchased on a usage basis, help enterprises more easily and cost-efficiently connect to any number of clouds (link to MCC page), and more logically support microservices and FaaS than old school networking (MPLS, VPN, and other private network solutions built over the last few decades).

The customers we are working with recognize the alignment of IaaS and Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) and get the value of being able to manage all their connectivity – to any number of clouds – for any number of applications – and any number of microservices – on a common, unified platform with an intuitive, familiar management console user experience.

Why delay innovation when there is now a much better, much easier and much more cost efficient way to participate in the “MultiFacted” world of Everything as a Service by modernizing connectivity to support applications, to ensure security, to contribute to agility, and generally transform business to a richly digital state?

Serverless? There are servers – enterprises just don’t have to buy them, maintain them, and manage them (including on your financial statements).

Networkless? There is a network – it’s NetFoundry’s – but enterprises don’t need to buy it in the same old fashioned way.

Aligning the new era of virtualization, including your computing, communications and connectivity makes sense when considered holistically and in the moment. Connectivity is no longer an “afterthought” – it can be built into applications, systems and IT budgets in 2018 and beyond.

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