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CloudBolt 2021 Predictions: Integrations Will Become First-Class Citizens in a Hybrid Cloud, Multicloud World

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

Integrations Will Become First-Class Citizens in a Hybrid Cloud, Multicloud World

By Grant Ho, Chief Marketing Officer, CloudBolt

Would you rather travel across the United States in an airplane or a covered wagon?

The answer is obvious today, but once upon a time, a wagon trail would probably have been the most practical solution. Sure, it would be costly, time-consuming and fraught with unpredictable setbacks. But before planes, trains and automobiles, if you wanted to settle new land or strike gold in California, your best bet would have been to load up your wagon, hitch it to your oxen, begin the long, arduous journey and hope for success.

What does this have to do with integrations, hybrid cloud and multicloud? Well, integrations today typically involve a high degree of custom coding. Like traveling cross-country by wagon, custom coding is a tedious endeavor that takes a long time, costs a lot of money, and is fraught with pitfalls you might not anticipate. Despite all this, many still see it as the least worst option. 

To optimize your cloud strategy for digital transformation, robust automation is needed. Core to automation are tools like provisioning, infrastructure-as-code, and cloud management platforms (e.g., scripts, Terraform, VMware vRealize Automation, Kubernetes, etc.) which need to integrate with a vast array of downstream IT endpoints. That could be Solarwinds for IPAM, BlueCat for DNS, F5 for load balancing, the list goes on. Unfortunately, many of today's automation pools simply don't come with deep integration use cases required for the lifecycle of virtual machines, applications and containers. Custom coding is one approach to get that depth, but it's often expensive, painstaking and loaded with technical debt.

If you choose this route, you're stuck with two options. You can either have your own IT people write thousands of lines of code, or outsource the job to third-parties. No matter how much you think it will cost, it will likely be more. In fact, according to the Standish Group, half of all custom-coded projects end up costing about twice their original estimate, and a fifth of them are never even completed.

On top of high costs, custom coding can introduce the risk of human error, misconfigurations, and non-compliant deployments. Even worse, as more automation tools proliferate in the organization, IT teams will find themselves creating silos of duplicate integration services, which only generates more audit headaches and compounds technical debt. Whenever you want to integrate with new IT endpoints, or when existing ones change their APIs, additional coding will have to be done. At least it's possible for the wagon trail to reach its final destination; with custom coding, the journey never ends.

Is there a better way?

Going forward, you won't have to make this choice because the best laid cloud management strategies make solving the integration challenge front and center. In the new world of cloud management, integrations will be first-class citizens, because solving the deep, complex use cases that automation requires-cost-effectively and with good audit trails-will be non-negotiable. Rather than an expensive project in itself, integration will become a core capability. It's just as important as sexier capabilities one usually thinks of in cloud management like self-service IT, cost management and optimization, and security.

Forward-looking IT teams now employ technologies like abstraction and codeless frameworks to solve integration problems for automation and hybrid cloud. This means enterprises will no longer have to write custom code when they want to integrate their provisioning, infrastructure-as-code, or cloud management platforms with downstream IT endpoints. Instead, SMEs from the Solarwinds or BlueCat teams can simply define integration services for universal consumption by automation teams, whether that's folks who work with Terraform, vRealize Automation, Kubernetes or others. To build complex integrations once and use them everywhere will become a key paradigm for cloud management.

Integrations are complex by nature, and integration problems will only intensify in a complex, evolving hybrid cloud, multicloud world. Marry that with the fact that many of today's automation tools simply lack advanced integration use cases and you have a problem on your hands. Getting there with custom coding is one approach-but it's costly, ripe with security gaps, and creates technical debt. The other approach is fast and codeless, enabling you to build your integrations once and use them everywhere, especially as you scale your automation toolsets. Sort of like flying from New York to LA, rather than traveling in a covered wagon. And that's how it should be.


About the Author

grant ho 

Grant Ho joined CloudBolt as Chief Marketing Officer in April 2019. In this role, he leads the company's marketing strategy and execution to drive CloudBolt's category leadership in the cloud management platform market. This includes corporate communications and brand, demand generation, product marketing, field marketing, and channel marketing.

Specializing in cloud computing and B2B technologies, Grant brings over 15 years of experience championing market adoption for high-growth software companies. Most recently, Grant served as Senior Vice President, Global Marketing at NetBrain Technologies, the leader in network automation solutions, where he helped to double company revenue within two years. Previously, he held senior marketing roles at NantHealth, CareCloud, and GE Healthcare and began his career as a strategy consultant at Oliver Wyman advising clients on growth strategy in the wireless and open source software spaces. Grant graduated with his S.B., M.Eng, and MBA degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Published Wednesday, January 06, 2021 7:29 AM by David Marshall
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