Leveraging Locality & Distribution For A Better Cloud


The Times They Are a-Changin’

We know that organizations that invest in technological readiness are in a better position to confront the unexpected. It was true during the pandemic (lockdowns, remote work and remote commerce, supply chain disruptions, etc.) and, as we continue down the path of digital transformation, we should expect the unexpected to be the rule and not the exception.

In the world of cloud computing, can anyone really predict the cloud-native applications — for example those that will take advantage of 5G — that will make the world spin in the year 2030?  Building a flexible and agile IT environment that easily adapts to changes requires flexibility to constantly update environments in step with evolving conditions.

No One Size Fits All

As more and more data gets moved to the cloud, enterprises are realizing that no single cloud architecture can offer consistently great application performance to all users.  Many growing companies, with operations and compute workflows in dynamic flux, cannot afford to be dependent on static public cloud infrastructure. They require a scalable cloud infrastructure that can be rapidly adapted to their needs.

There are many reasons why current public cloud infrastructure is not appropriate for some businesses. For some companies, it’s the requirement for absolute separation of their data. For others, it’s the need for extensive customer support which can only be achieved on a local level. For still others, it’s simply related to governance and regulations.

And as we progress to applications with strict requirements for response time — such as autonomous vehicles, drones, telemedicine, and robotics —it’s latency and throughput which become the bottleneck. A growing number of use cases are dependent on the ability to transfer and process data in near real-time, or in a defined area, and cannot be effectively supported by a hyperscaler located many miles away.

Start Asking for What You Really Need in the Cloud!

After more than a decade in which cloud computing was synonymous with hyperscaler infrastructure, many businesses are now discovering that one size does not fit all. The next step in their IT evolution is to figure out how to support legacy applications, cloud migration, and cloud-native applications. They may have a computing strategy which is partially on-premises, partially bare-metal, partially co-located, and fully hybrid across multiple continents. And so they need a cloud provider that offers architectural flexibility to build a cloud customized for their needs.

To address the challenge, a new cloud paradigm has emerged: the Unified Distributed Cloud (UDC), in which workloads are spun up in thousands of locations across the globe. In this architecture, existing local data center and on-premises capacity is transformed into modern PaaS offerings. Data centers with private cloud or virtual data center offerings can easily start to offer modern, cloud-native PaaS services, such as managed Kubernetes, containers, and object storage.

Until now these PaaS services were only available or consumed via the hyperscalers. No longer.  Modern managed services are easily accessed on the Unified Distributed Cloud. Application owners are able to enable desired states to be automatically implemented on physical resources anywhere that they need them to run. All of this is done programmatically and through modern APIs, allowing  business-critical applications — such as databases — to run in specific locations without needing to purchase services from the hyperscalers.

An Alternative to the Public Cloud

A UDC enables computing resources to be as local as they need to be.  A business may seek this out because of the need for proximity, for commercial reasons, or because of data constraints, and in all cases they need it to seamlessly and effortlessly synergize with existing infrastructure. The UDC delivers the best of two worlds: the agility and ease-of-use of the public cloud together with the high performance, high throughput and full data control of localized, private infrastructure.

With VPN and IaaS capabilities, a UDC can also enable full interoperability with any private, hybrid, or multi-cloud architecture. As a result, enterprises can create an optimized cloud computing strategy, taking advantage of available infrastructure in the location — or multiple locations — of their choosing.

The Economies of Locality

While hyperscalers benefit from economies of scale, a UDC takes advantage of the economies of locality and distribution.

As an alternative to the traditional public cloud model, the UDC enables application owners to utilize a global network of service providers instead of relying on the availability of compute resources in a specific location. And by facilitating interoperability with existing infrastructure, it empowers enterprises to deploy and infinitely scale applications anywhere they need.

With the growing adoption of cloud-native applications to serve new markets, the Unified Distributed Cloud provides a flexible infrastructure that helps businesses adapt to change, facilitate expansion, and be prepared for the unexpected.

Author: Jonathan Seelig Co-Founder & CEO, Ridge
Bio: Jonathan Seelig is co-founder and CEO of Ridge. Jonathan co-founded Akamai Technologies, the leading global Internet content and application delivery services company. At Akamai, he managed global infrastructure development and deployment, international expansion, and business development in a fast-growth environment.

To hear more about cloud native topics, join the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and cloud native community at KubeCon+CloudNativeCon North America 2021 – October 11-15, 2021
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