Cost and Complexity Drive Multicloud Networking

Traditional networking is boring. But multicloud networking is hot, according to the more than 1,000 global IT leaders surveyed for F5’s 2023 State of Application Strategy report.

When asked to identify the most exciting technologies of 2023, multicloud networking was cited by 42% of survey respondents. That’s higher than trendy topics like AIOps and edge computing, and a close third to Zero Trust and IT/OT convergence, which each came in at 44%.

With 85% of organizations operating multiple application architectures, multicloud networking has become a priority. Organizations recognize they need to get a better handle on an IT stack that extends across the network core, the cloud, and the edge.

Multicloud networking challenges

When asked to list the challenges associated with deploying applications in multiple clouds, the top concerns were managing the complexity of multiple tools and APIs (39%), applying consistent security policies (36%), optimizing application performance (36%), and determining the most cost-efficient cloud for the app (35%).

F5 Distinguished Engineer Lori MacVittie explains, “When most people think networking, they think Layer 2/Layer 3 switches and routers. That’s easy. There are lots of standards. We know how to connect all that together. We’ve been doing VPNs and MPLS forever. But what about all of the app delivery and security that goes with those applications? That’s not standardized. With hybrid IT there are multiple clouds, multiple apps, multiple services. How do you get a secure connection at that layer to make sure that you’re protecting your apps, protecting your APIs?”

Multicloud networking delivers secure connectivity and consistent network services for distributed workloads across multiple public and private clouds.

“I think practitioners are especially excited because it’s going to reduce friction and make their jobs easier. And I think technology leaders and business leaders are excited because they recognize that there are challenges getting these things connected securely. They want to hear that it’s easier, it’s cheaper and it’s secure,” she adds.

How does Zero Trust play into multicloud networking?

Zero Trust is a mindset and an approach to security based on the premise that users and devices are untrusted by default and must be properly – and continuously – authenticated before being allowed to access digital assets.

Zero Trust leads to the use of tools and techniques such as network segmentation, two-factor authentication, and granular access controls. MacVittie adds, “If you’re not addressing the next layer of connectivity at the application delivery and security layers, then you’re not doing Zero Trust. You’re just doing Zero Trust Network Access, which is fine. But you should be doing the whole thing. Why would you lock down and secure your network with Zero Trust and then not care about access to the applications or the APIs?”

Most companies don’t have the internal expertise to tackle multicloud networking on their own, but there are technology partners who can help organizations reduce complexity, while providing comprehensive protection and consistent performance across hybrid IT stacks.

Solutions to the challenges of mutlicloud networking exist, check out the State of Application Strategy Report to find out more.

Multi Cloud, Networking