As an IT leader, you know that adopting a multicloud strategy is a must-have in today’s digital landscape but selecting the right tools can be a bit of a headache. The “IT Leader’s Guide to Multicloud Readiness” is a practical guide that provides key insights and important factors to consider in your multicloud strategy. In the guide, we speak to effective cloud-agnostic tools to help you achieve your goals.
Today, we’ll take a deeper dive in five of the most popular tools mentioned in the guide – Terraform, Azure DevOps, Ansible Automation Platform, Red Hat OpenShift, and CloudBolt – their use cases, strengths, and weaknesses of these tools to help you determine if they are the right fit for your organization.
Terraform is a popular infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that allows you to run code and deploy infrastructure across multiple cloud platforms. It has gained widespread popularity due to its modern syntax that is easy to read and pick up, even for beginners. Terraform is a powerful tool for provisioning infrastructure, whether it’s in the cloud or on-premises. DevOps teams will love Terraform’s ability to work with CI/CD tools, making infrastructure deployment a breeze. Additionally, Terraform’s cloud-agnostic nature means it can deploy infrastructure across multiple cloud platforms, making it perfect for multi-cloud environments.
- Cloud Agnostic: Terraform’s superpower is that it is cloud agnostic. Whether you’re targeting Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud, Terraform has got you covered. Terraform can also be used on-premises, with VMware.
- Robust Code Base: While native cloud tools such as Azure ARM templates and Bicep offer rudimentary checking to ensure that variables you are referencing are present, Terraform takes it a step further by providing built-in commands and extra packages. It’s like having your own personal code checker.
- Providers: Terraform has collections of code called providers, specific to each target platform. Providers are open-source, and Hashicorp, the makers of Terraform, provides documentation for all their providers. This makes it more usable and friendly for users.
- Community: Terraform has a mature community of online tools that can plug into Terraform, making it even more robust.
- Base Code and Package of Resources: Terraform provides a code base for each provider, and there is a package of resources for each provider that is based on the same underlying language.
- Learning Curve: While Terraform is relatively easy to pick up, having development experience and platform knowledge on Azure, AWS, Google Cloud or the platform you’re targeting would definitely help.
- Limitations: There are always going to be a few things you can’t do with the Terraform code, such as certain settings on certain resources. It’s not 100% complete but Terraform releases a new version every week for the providers they support.
The IT Leader's Guide to Multicloud Readiness
This guide provides practical key insights and important factors to consider to make informed decisions in your multicloud journey.
Azure DevOps is a cloud-based service that provides a comprehensive platform for software development and delivery. It offers a range of tools and services to help teams plan, build, test, and deploy applications with ease. With Azure DevOps, teams can collaborate seamlessly, streamline their workflows, and deliver high-quality software products faster and more reliably. It offers a range of use cases, such as Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD), Agile Project Management, Version Control, and Infrastructure as Code (IaC). With Azure DevOps pipelines, teams can create workflows that integrate with other Microsoft tools such as Visual Studio and many cloud platforms and services, allowing them to spend less time on manual work and more time on coding.
- Integration with Azure: As an Azure SaaS service, Azure DevOps integrates seamlessly with other Azure services, making it easy for developers building Azure-based applications.
- Agile Project Management: With Azure DevOps, you get all the Agile tools you need to manage your projects, from sprints to releases. It’s like having a project manager in the cloud.
- Customizable Pipelines: Azure DevOps allows teams to customize their pipelines to meet their specific needs. You can choose from a variety of pre-built templates or create your own custom workflows if you want to stray from cookie-cutter DevOps!
- Version Control: Azure DevOps offers Git repositories and TFVC, which are widely used in the software development industry. You won’t have to worry about your code disappearing into the void.
- Security: Azure DevOps offers enterprise-grade security and compliance features, including role-based access control, multi-factor authentication, and audit trails. You can sleep soundly knowing your code is safe and sound.
- Learning Curve: Azure DevOps, like any DevOps tool, may have a steep learning curve for teams who are new to the DevOps process.
- Limited Support for On-Premises Deployment: While an Azure DevOps server version is available for on-premises deployment, it may require additional resources or expertise to set up and maintain, and may not provide all the features and benefits of the cloud-based version.
- Cost: Azure DevOps can be expensive for small organizations or teams if you need Test Plans as part of your membership. However, the potential savings in cloud spend and increased efficiency can often justify the investment.
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, formerly known as Ansible Tower, is a popular IT automation tool that allows organizations to manage, automate, and orchestrate their infrastructure from a central location. It provides a web-based interface and REST API that helps users to manage Ansible workflows, job scheduling, and inventory management. Ansible is commonly used in DevOps environments as it enables easy configuration management of infrastructure and applications across multiple environments. With Ansible, users can automate tasks such as deployment, scaling of infrastructure, software updates, security patching, and backups, which saves time and reduces errors.
Ansible is also great for configuration management of infrastructure such as VMs, switches, and load balancers. It allows users to write configurations once and apply them to many different machines, which reduces configuration drift and provides a single source of truth. Additionally, Ansible can integrate with other tools to create more complex workflows and automation, such as triggering another automation job, opening tickets for users who need assistance, or trying a configuration a different way.
- Easy to Learn: You don’t need to be a programming genius to use Ansible. All you need is a basic understanding of YAML, which is a simple language to learn, and you’re good to go.
- Powerful Automation Capabilities: Ansible’s powerful automation capabilities make it a go-to tool for infrastructure management and automation of tasks.
- Single Source of Truth: Ansible’s single change management database (CMDB) provides a single source of truth for infrastructure configurations, making it easy to keep track of changes.
- Integration: Ansible can integrate with other tools to create more complex workflows and automation. It’s like the glue that holds your IT infrastructure together.
- Limited Support for Newer Technologies: Ansible’s lack of support for newer technologies like containers and Kubernetes might make it less useful for automation of ephemeral services.
- Lack of Version Control: Ansible’s limited support for version control might make it challenging to manage large-scale changes to infrastructure configurations.
Red Hat OpenShift is an enterprise-grade, open-source container application platform that simplifies the building, deployment, and management of containerized applications across a variety of environments. Built on top of Kubernetes, it provides robust security, compliance, and monitoring capabilities, as well as features and tools to enhance the development process. With OpenShift, you can automate many aspects of the software development and deployment process, save time and energy, and build, test, and deploy your applications without worrying about managing underlying infrastructure. OpenShift simplifies the process of deploying and managing containerized applications across a wide range of environments, making it an ideal platform for Application deployment and management, DevOps automation, and Platform as a Service (PaaS) scenarios.
- Turnkey Application Platform: OpenShift is a comprehensive application platform that offers a complete set of tools and services for deploying and managing containerized applications.
- Secure and Compliant: OpenShift provides a secure and compliant environment for running applications, with features like image scanning, network isolation, and compliance checks based on industry standards.
- Multicloud Support: OpenShift is designed to run on multiple cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, as well as on-premises data centers. It’s like having a travel adapter for your applications.
- Complexity: OpenShift is a complex platform with many features and capabilities, which can make it difficult for some users to configure and manage.
- Cost: While OpenShift is available in open-source and community editions, the enterprise version requires a subscription and can be costly for some organizations.
- Learning curve: Learning to use OpenShift effectively may require training and experience, particularly for developers and DevOps engineers who are new to containerization and Kubernetes.
CloudBolt is a cloud management platform designed to help organizations manage their cloud infrastructure across different platforms and providers. It allows teams to provision, manage, and optimize resources in the cloud from a single interface. With CloudBolt, organizations can optimize their cloud spend by providing clear visibility, recommendations, and monitoring tools to help them cut costs and maximize ROI. Additionally, managing resources across multiple cloud providers becomes easier, eliminating the need for different tools and portals. CloudBolt also empowers teams to self-provision resources on demand, reducing the burden on central IT teams.
- Flexibility: Whether it’s AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, CloudBolt can work with different cloud platforms, providers, and technologies. It can also be integrated with other tools to enhance functionality.
- Self-Service: CloudBolt’s self-service portal lets users take control of their own workflows and resource management, freeing up IT teams to focus on more important tasks.
- Automation: CloudBolt offers automation capabilities to help optimize resource usage and reduce waste, such as power scheduling, bulk cleanup, and rightsizing.
- Scalability: CloudBolt can scale to meet the needs of any organization, whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise.
- Learning Curve: As with any tool, there may be a learning curve associated with CloudBolt, especially for non-technical users. However, the intuitive interface and user-friendly features can help ease the transition.
- Cost: While CloudBolt may be considered costly by some organizations, the potential savings in cloud spend and increased efficiency can often justify the investment.
The tools we discussed above are crucial for IT leaders who are preparing for multicloud adoption. They provide valuable insights and help organizations streamline workload deployment and management, optimize costs, and maintain critical app and service reliability.
For those seeking a deeper dive into multicloud, the ‘IT Leader’s Guide to Multicloud Readiness’ is an excellent resource that offers practical guidance on developing a multicloud strategy that aligns with business objectives, identifying the right cloud providers and services, and aligning IT teams and stakeholders for successful multicloud adoption. With the right tools and guidance, IT leaders can confidently navigate the challenges of multicloud adoption and unlock the full potential of cloud technology.