Based on a survey from November 2018, 81% of respondents who use the public cloud were currently working with two or more external providers. Further, if you have anything on-prem or at a colo, this means at least 3 networking consoles for configuration, troubleshooting, reporting, analytics, etc.
Enter Multicloud Networking…
Multicloud networking solutions are software-based and provide consistent network policy across multiple cloud providers. They include overlays, management of cloud provider APIs or other mechanisms. These software products (in theory) allow you to create network configurations, security policies, troubleshoot and get consistent analytics and reporting whether your workload is in AWS, Azure, GCE, on-premises etc. Sounds good from a network operator perspective.
Multicloud networking is pretty hot with lots of vendors marketing around this capability (Cisco ACI Anywhere, NSX Everywhere / NSX Cloud, Juniper Contrail Enterprise Multicloud, etc). However, while these solutions simplify the lives of network operators, it may not be in the best interest of the actual cloud workload itself. Thus, we believe it is too early to make strategic selection/investment of the technology. Instead, make a tactical or short-term bet. In other words, don’t pick a winner, don’t give a vendor a pile of cash, and don’t get locked in for a long-time for a large number of workloads. Use multicloud networking to fill gaps or address mission-critical business functionality when the cloud providers’ native networking e capability does not suffice to meet a critical business requirement. If you do look at multicloud networking stacks, then prefer very lightweight stacks. Avoid heavy stacks whereby the network vendor’s stuff is heavily slathered over the cloud provider’s native capabilities. It should be lightweight, not a bull in a china shop. For more information, here’s the published research (paywall):