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Multi-cloud’s new multiculturalism

Tristan Liverpool, systems engineering director with F5 Networks, assesses how multi-cloud can change the app development game and bring previously siloed teams closer together

F5 gives organisations the freedom to deploy any app, in any cloud, with the security and availability it needs.


Over the years, multi-cloud has gone from an experiment to a fundamental component of IT strategies. From developers to security teams, whether you know it or not, employee workloads are migrating to the cloud in one way or another.

Most importantly, cloud adoption has enabled a fundamental shift in how businesses think about the development and delivery of apps. This is particularly evident with SaaS-based cloud models, giving businesses the freedom to pick and choose exactly where cloud operations are deployed, whilst also keeping a closer eye on costs.

There’s no denying that cloud has unlocked more agile and holistic ways of working. Take for example the increasingly widespread adoption of DevOps, NetOps and SecOps in recent years. As app development moves from on-premise to cloud infrastructures, businesses must rethink how its different functions are engaging with these new approaches to software development. All these teams have different requirements and ways of working, so it’s critical that businesses can strike a balance that delivers on these, without compromising that of the others. So how exactly can businesses innovate in the cloud, whilst enabling all these new groups to use the services effectively and to maximise their benefits?

Delighting DevOps

With DevOps, it’s all about velocity and continuous innovation. The key priority is to get products developed and deployed, at speed. The cloud enables developers and DevOps to achieve exactly that by providing a standard and centralised platform for testing, deployment and production in an efficient manner. This allows wiggle room for any rapid, last-minute changes related to continuous integration and delivery.

DevOps teams within an organisation should treat the cloud as the new norm and an extension of their network infrastructure. This means fully embracing public cloud native environments like AWS, Azure and Google, to manage application performance within the cloud, as well as leveraging SaaS models to keep costs low and support scalable innovation. The cloud provides a more fluid application development process that matches the pace at which DevOps can crank out applications, without sacrificing stability, scalability and security.

Keeping NetOps happy

The role of NetOps is changing from teams that own and monitor hardware and software assets, to those focused on building a multi-component network ecosystem to support a variety of business objectives. As more IT workloads move into the cloud, the pressure is building for NetOps teams to evolve rapidly and move from manual tools and slower processes to more efficient systems that support agile DevOps models.

NetOps teams also face pressure to reach automated parity with app development teams. Ultimately, NetOps will become chokepoints to application development if they aren’t able to keep up with continuous application updates.

The problem is eased with SaaS cloud services. NetOps can now address specific areas of the business where legacy networks limit innovation, and subsequently target new agile, digital infrastructures to collaborate better with other teams.

Giving security teams confidence

Historically, migrating to the cloud can make security teams incredibly anxious. IT operations teams have KPIs around security and service levels, which can explain their generally more conservative approaches to technology adoption. Given the choice, security teams would operate with zero-trust networks – and rightly so. In fact, a recent F5 survey discovered that security in the cloud was an ‘afterthought’ for many developers, as they prioritise speed over security and reliability concerns.

It is important to understand that cloud services can work as an extension of security teams, equipping them with the insights and tools required to keep up with the evolving threat landscape. They can also ensure the right governance, ie via dashboards and reports, so they can monitor and balance the needs of innovation and control.

A common goal 

In today’s software-defined era, cloud adoption can only mean great things for business-critical application development. The market not only demands more agile production process, but our application-centric world requires speed and stability of these services. For businesses it is becoming essential to collaborate in the cloud or risk falling behind the innovation curve.

Despite all the differing requirements across the IT department, it’s important to remember that everyone is working towards the same end goal: supporting the continuous delivery of quality applications to market. Collaboration and partnerships are easier to establish when all parties share the platform that delivers the apps and have access to the underlying analytics that can refine and shape business trajectories. Meeting the needs of all teams is possible with the right multi-cloud approach and support. It has to be inclusive and treat infrastructure teams, developers, and business users as equals in driving innovation. It is high time to remove multi-cloud’s cultural barriers once and for all.

Take control of your multi-cloud strategy. Learn more about the new era of unified ops by downloading the State of Network Automation report here