How multicloud changes devops

Devops or devsecops (I’ll use devops for this post) is more than just a fast way to build and deploy software within the cloud and on traditional systems. It’s now a solid standard, with best practices, processes, and widely accepted tools.

However, as multicloud becomes the new path to cloud computing, I’m asked how it will impact existing devops programs. Specifically, how development may change and what problems need to be addressed before and after moving to devops to leverage multicloud platform targets. 

First, let’s talk about the changes and the challenges. 

First: complexity. Yes, if it’s a multicloud, complexity will need to be managed, including devops. Managing multiple cloud platforms and technologies can be complex, especially if they each have different tools, processes, and security requirements. This can make it difficult for devops teams to effectively manage and automate their IT environment. 

This translates into additional cost and training. If you look at most of the challenges with multicloud complexity in terms of operations, devops plus multicloud basically mirrors those challenges.

Second: integration. Integrating different cloud platforms, applications, data, and other technologies can be tricky and costly, especially if they have different APIs and data formats. The goal is to create a seamless multicloud environment that supports the specific needs of application development, deployment, and operations.

Integration really falls under the complexity umbrella, but it’s a specific need that devops engineers need to address. Deploying to a single cloud is hard enough; however, integration intra-cloud is not as hard as inter-cloud integration occurring within a multicloud deployment.

While most of the application and data sets deployed are not tightly coupled, data and processes still need to be exchanged between plural clouds that are the target platforms for the deployed applications. Also, devops processes and toolchains need to test these integrations, as well as address security and performance.

Are you sensing a pattern here? There is just more work to do when using devops with multicloud.

Third: security and compliance. Ensuring security and compliance across multiple cloud platforms and technologies can be a huge pain, especially if each platform has different security and compliance requirements, which they typically do. Devops teams need to ensure that their multicloud target environment meets the requirements and data is protected from threats, including legal ones.

Fourth: cost. This is another complexity-related issue. Running multiple cloud platforms and technologies is expensive, especially if each platform has different pricing models and cost structures. Devops teams need to consider the cost implications of a multicloud environment and find ways to optimize costs while still ensuring that their cloud environments meet their needs and the needs of the workloads.

This is where finops comes in. Finops should be built into a devops toolchain and processes to address which target cloud platforms will be best optimized for fit-to-purpose and cost.

Finally: collaboration. Improving collaboration between different teams can be a huge pain, especially if each team is responsible for a different cloud platform or technology. Devops teams need to find ways to improve collaboration, communication, and automation across their entire IT environment. Otherwise, devops won’t work, which is mostly about people and culture.

Of course, you’ll encounter many other issues related to your specific organization and technology solution. The big thing is dealing with the added complexity. The best advice is to deal with complex cloud deployments (multicloud) on your terms. Not the terms of the complex system deployments.

Employ abstraction and automation to mediate complexity as related to devops. Find cost efficiencies that may not exist for single cloud deployments but are a benefit of multicloud. After all, that’s the reason you’re deploying a multicloud in the first place—to take advantage of cloud services that are best of breed or more cost-effective. It will be part of devops to find the most cost-effective path and solutions.

A multicloud deployment paired with a good devops program, process, toolchain, and culture should pay for itself during its first year of operations. But ultimately, it’s up to you to address these issues I’ve raised. Good luck.

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