A10 Networks (NYSE: ATEN) recently announced the publication of its Polynimbus application services blueprint. The blueprint provides a framework for centralizing the provisioning, management and security of applications in a multi-cloud environment. As A10 and many others have realized, corporate IT is moving many of its most critical IT assets to more than one cloud. However, the process is not going as well as people want it to, and that’s a problem.
Corporate IT is moving many of its most critical IT assets to more than one cloud. However, the process is not going as well as people want it to, and that’s a problem.
According to a survey conducted by Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, in partnership with A10, about two in three enterprises have deployed across two or more public clouds. Eighty-four percent expect to increase their reliance on public or private clouds over the next 24 months. However, only 11 percent of companies covered in the survey believe they had been “highly successful” in realizing the benefits of multi-cloud infrastructures. As BPI Network found, “Security, lack of IT talent, and effectively managing the complexity are understandably listed as top challenges.”
“Companies want the advantages of multi-cloud, but IT staffing is a big challenge here,” said Paul Nicholson, Senior Product Manager at A10. “For instance, an IT organization might bring in an outside consultant to manage the cloud migration. But, once they’re deployed, that resource is gone. Managing and securing critical apps across two or three clouds takes a lot of people, if you’re not using a management solution that automates processes. That’s the problem we solve with Polynimbus.”
A10 has devised the Polynimbus blueprint to address this choke point: a big push for enterprise IT in the cloud, constrained by security and lack of IT talent. The blueprint calls for full software and cloud support, with the availability of services in the most prevalent form factors. The proposed stack delivers cloud-specific services (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Amazon Web Services), containers, bare metal, virtual and hardware.
Polynimbus also comprises a full secure services stack. Multiple application services are needed for security and reliability functions in multi-cloud infrastructure. Each cloud provider tends to have its own way of delivering these functions. Polynimbus brings them together in a unified management toolset. It enables cloud infrastructure managers to control load balancing, web application firewall, authentication access management, malicious traffic and bot mitigation, and integrated DDoS protection. It can also handle real-time threat intelligence, data center firewall, L7 application scripting, global server load balancing, TLS/SSL offload and more.
“Managing and securing critical apps across two or three clouds takes a lot of people, if you’re not using a management solution that automates processes. That’s the problem we solve with Polynimbus.” – Paul Nicholson, Senior Product Manager at A10 Networks
Polynimbus and comparable multi-cloud management and security initiatives are significant because they address two fundamental issues now prevalent in the enterprise IT space. First, it’s all about people. It takes trained personnel to manage multi-cloud infrastructure securely. There are never enough people. As a result, automation and unified management tools are an absolute imperative.
The Polynimbus paradigm also highlights the close connection between security and IT ops. While security teams may establish security policies, it is IT ops that implements them. IT ops does the patching, etc. When a security incident occurs, it is almost always IT ops that does the footwork of mitigating the impact. Polynimbus provides a practical connector for these two groups so they can work together.
As more companies make the cloud the core of the enterprise IT operations, the Polynimbus-type approach will likely become the dominant mode of multi-cloud management. Without such frameworks and toolsets, multi-cloud will remain a high-risk, unreliable proposition for the enterprise.