The ubiquity of the cloud has fundamentally changed the way enterprises consume computing resources. However, cloud consumption models are themselves evolving to incorporate an increasingly disparate blend of private, public, hybrid, colocation, and edge environments.
Today, 92% of enterprises already have a multi-cloud strategy, yet infrastructure challenges remain. Despite the major advantages of embracing a distributed-cloud strategy, management complexity and the need for better governance and interoperability remain problematic. Many workloads remain siloed, a problem that often begins at the infrastructure level.
The rise of distributed cloud architectures
Each enterprise is at a different stage of its cloud journey, and no two strategies look the same. Decision-making is further complicated by the fact there are different deployment models and infrastructure types, many of which are commonly confused with one another. To understand how cloud consumption models impact infrastructure decisions, we must first understand how they have evolved in recent years.
In the earlier days of cloud computing, the public cloud was often hailed as the gold standard, largely due to its near limitless scalability. However, as the need for improved control, security, and digital sovereignty increased, many enterprises started moving to a hybrid cloud, which combines on-premises computing with private and public cloud computing. This provides the flexibility that enterprises need to run workloads wherever they want while enabling centralized management of the underlying infrastructure.
Distributed cloud architectures are a recent evolution of hybrid and multi-cloud architectures. This new consumption model promises to reduce latency by facilitating edge computing, boost security and compliance through enhanced virtualization techniques, and use a single control pane to simplify management and ensure consistency. While a distributed cloud sits on top of existing cloud infrastructures, it gives enterprises more control over where their data lives and what policies are put in place to protect it.
What does this mean for physical infrastructure design?
Gartner has hailed the distributed cloud as the new era of enterprise cloud computing, and for good reason. However, the inherent complexity and disparity of the underlying infrastructure also create challenges for teams responsible for optimizing, managing, and protecting these environments.
There are more connected devices than ever before, especially given the rapid rise of remote work, the Internet of Things, and edge computing. Underlying infrastructures now span huge physical areas managed by different vendors. At the same time, latency-sensitive data is processed as physically close to its source as possible, while the intelligence of the overall infrastructure continues to reside in the cloud. This reduces latency and bandwidth requirements, while also increasing the need for compute power at the edge. It also presents some unique infrastructure challenges, necessitating decisions that prioritize the following:
In a distributed cloud architecture, vital data processing workloads are handled closer to end-users, negating the need to transmit data back to the public cloud. However, to deliver the expected improvement to end-user experiences, the infrastructure must accommodate high throughput and low latency. Thus, optimized cabling and high-density rack servers and switches are essential.
Distributed computing models require more connectivity, which in turn creates greater management complexity. There will be more computers, embedded devices, sensors, and networking components, all of which will need to be effectively managed. Keeping complexity in check requires a system that can render hierarchical diagrams visualizing the underlying architecture, its various components, and their dependencies.
Deploying a distributed cloud architecture takes time, which is why it is vital to prioritize, especially for enterprises that are used to working with large, centralized, and entirely cloud-based environments. This is why infrastructure decisions should be made with scalability and flexibility in mind. Converged infrastructure solutions can streamline the process of deploying new systems and devices and managing them at scale.
- Safety and security
Distributed cloud architectures are typically scattered across multiple large geographic locations, such as server colocation facilities, server rooms, and offices. Implementing a unified means of addressing safety and security measures at the infrastructure level is therefore essential since this will help you build an environment with electrically safe structured cabling and data center architecture.
The distributed cloud means that computation more often happens closer to the source of the data, thus reducing the amount of traffic sent over the web. At the scale of today’s computing environments, this can significantly reduce energy use. However, to deliver on the sustainability promise, you need an infrastructure that achieves a good balance between server density and cooling.
By partnering with Panduit, organizations can scale distributed cloud infrastructures globally, rapidly, safely, and consistently with less environmental impact. Our physical infrastructure solutions include racks with toolless adjustable rails and flexible cable management that optimize the use of space, energy, and cooling resources.
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