Why Are Organizations Moving to Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid cloud is the ideal architecture for most enterprise business’ needs, enabling organizations to deploy and scale new applications and services in the public cloud nearly instantly at a low cost, while also keeping other applications, application components and information in the private cloud or enterprise datacenter for privacy, security or performance.
Load Balancing for the Hybrid Cloud
Load balancers, otherwise referred to as application delivery controllers (ADCs), are a vital part of network and application infrastructure. Load balancers, in short, distribute application traffic across a pool of resources — often application servers — so that individual resources are not overburdened by traffic and that applications and transactions are processed efficiently, resulting in a high-performing user experience.
In a hybrid cloud environment, internal on-premises devices and cloud services are both optimized via load balancing, as the diagram below details.
From Data Center to the Cloud
These new demands cannot be satisfied with a piecemeal load balancing approach. Instead, EMA writes, “organizations should take a unified approach to the technology across their data centers and their public cloud environments.… IT organizations need to modernize and unify their load balancing architecture to meet the demands of hybrid cloud architectures and cloud-native applications.”
IT Organizations Believe Use of Load Balancers Could Be Better
EMA writes, “IT executives are more enthusiastic than infrastructure and operations professionals and developers about success, suggesting a gap in awareness in the CIO suite. Personnel who work more closely with the technology are more pessimistic."
“This gap is a concern because IT leaders may make strategic decisions about infrastructure based on false assumptions about the effectiveness of their strategy.… Members of networking engineering teams, perhaps the group most intimately familiar with traditional data center load balancing, expressed significant concern about their organization’s success with load balancing in the cloud.”
Closing the Gap: Bringing DevOps and NetOps Together
Additionally, EMA discovered, cost-inefficiency and application outages become significant issues. EMA concluded that “one-quarter of companies claimed to have experienced a security breach as a direct result of fractured operations.”
Cloud service providers don’t just offer application, infrastructure and network services, they also sell dedicated load balancing tools. Often, IT and DevOps adopt these native load balancing solutions. EMA research found that 71% of organizations use cloud provider solutions.
EMA found 22% of organizations complained about shortcomings and a lack of feature sets present in solutions from cloud providers. Specifically, EMA highlighted web application firewalls, application acceleration and single sign-on for features present in only dedicated virtual load balancers.
Load Balancers Should Be Part of Your Security Solution
Load balancers and application delivery controllers are often thought of as the same thing. EMA offers a more subtle view: “A key difference between a load balancer and an ADC is security.”
“As application security requirements diversify, vendors consolidate a variety of security functions onto load balancers, rebranding them as ADC platforms, including web application firewalls and DDoS protection.”
EMA’s research found that 89% of IT security teams consider ADCs to be a part of their overall security architecture. Network and DevOps teams, however, may not fully appreciate the importance of ADCs to security, EMA suggests. “As these groups (NetOps and DevOps) work together on a hybrid multi-cloud architecture, they should all embrace the idea of making ADCs an integral component of security,” EMA writes.
You may also like: A Guide To Adding Layered Security to Cloud Applications
EMA has determined in its research that hybrid multi-cloud architectures, as good as they are for the services they provide, at the same time are disruptive to network and security operations. EMA cautions: “Complexity increases, operational processes fragment and security risk rises.”
To smooth operations, IT organizations must transform their load balancer and ADC infrastructure. “By taking a unified approach to load balancers and ADCs across hybrid and multi-cloud networks, organizations can improve their chances of success,” EMA concludes.