Next Reaction: Making multicloud easier for allNext Reaction: Making multicloud easier for allCloud Developer Advocate

If you’re like me, tracking all the news coming out of Google Cloud Next can be a bit overwhelming at times in a good way. There is just so much exciting stuff happening. So, in order to help us both out a bit I sat down to capture some of the key announcements that were made on the second day of Next, as well as provide some context around why I’m so excited about them. 

One of the overarching themes was how Google Cloud is making it easier for our customers to build and manage hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Coming from years of managing large enterprise environments this is all music to my ears. Developers and practitioners live in a world where they need to run code in a multitude of different environments. And, each of these environments usually comes with its own set of management tools. For years we’ve longed for the mythical “single pane of glass” that would provide us with a centralized place to manage and observe the disparate platforms where our apps were running. After hearing yesterday’s announcements I couldn’t be more excited about the direction Google Cloud is headed with respect to managing workloads everywhere that matters to the enterprise, from other public clouds to bare metal and VMs in their own data centers. 

Let’s jump in and look a bit deeper at what was announced. 

Anthos for VMs

Today, a lot of organizations are looking to standardize on Kubernetes as their target platform for new applications. However, these same companies have hundreds of applications running in virtual machines, usually on VMware vSphere. This means that IT staff have to use one set of tools and processes for containerized workloads and another for VM-based workloads. That’s another pane of glass, if you’re counting.

Anthos for VMs aims to reduce this complexity by allowing operators to centralize the management of VM-based applications with Anthos. You can use Anthos for VMs in a couple of different ways. First, if you have a large investment in VMware vSphere, and you’re not quite ready for a large-scale migration from VMs to containers, you can connect your vSphere instances to the Anthos control plane. This mode of operation doesn’t force you to move your workloads, but you still get a ton of benefits around centralized operational and security policies while also gaining insight into operational health via the Anthos dashboard. These VMs stay in place but are “attached” to your unified Anthos-based control plane.

If your organization wants to migrate VM workloads off an existing virtualization platform to save on licensing costs or reduce complexity, Anthos for VMs can help there as well. Anthos for VMs uses Kubevirt, an open source solution for running VMs on Kubernetes, to allow you to “shift” your workloads from a traditional VM management platform to Kubernetes.  Not only do you get the benefits I just mentioned around security policies and unified observability, but now you have a single set of tools for running and managing both your containerized and virtualized applications. 

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering “What types of workloads should I be focused on migrating?” Anthos for VMs is a great choice for Virtual Network Functions (think virtualized firewalls, routers etc.) as well as monolithic applications. Even with that guidance there might still be a large pool of applications you could consider migrating. To help narrow down which applications are the best fit, you can use our updated fit assessment tool. This tool will examine your workloads and tell you how much effort might be involved in moving them. 

There are a couple things I really love about this announcement. First, this isn’t an all or nothing proposition. You can attach some of your vSphere instances to Anthos, shift another chunk of VMs to directly running on Anthos, and maybe leave some alone. Those decisions will be driven by what makes the most sense for your organization from both an IT as well as a business perspective. 

Making Multi-Cloud Easier With A Unified API

Another big announcement from Next was around multi-cloud. Specifically the new Anthos Multi-cloud API. Anthos is gaining traction today because customers want to have a unified mechanism for deploying and managing workloads across different environments – including different cloud providers. 

Previously you could run Anthos clusters on AWS, and recently we introduced via preview support for Anthos clusters on Azure. With the release of Anthos Multi-cloud API, which is coming in Q4 2021, we’re making that even easier. This new API allows you to easily deploy and manage Anthos clusters across cloud providers with a unified set of tools: whether you use the command line, the API, or Google Cloud Console – you get a unified experience. 

Making Anthos Features Easier To Consume From GKE To Your Data Center

When I talk to customers about Anthos I often hear “I really like a lot of Anthos’s functionality, but I don’t really need everything it has to offer today. It’d be great if we could run just [feature or component X] on my existing GKE clusters.” Over the past year or so we’ve worked hard to address those types of requests. For instance, you can run both Anthos Service Mesh (ASM) and Anthos Config Management (ACM) on both Anthos and GKE clusters, with standalone pricing for ACM and ASM on GKE. And, yesterday we announced that ASM now supports hybrid deployment models – meaning you can have a single mesh spanning your cloud and on-prem resources. Again, another example of simplifying your tooling and processes by allowing you to leverage the same technology across multiple environments and deployment patterns. 

Conclusion

Today’s announcements bring us one step closer to realizing the utopian vision of a single pane of glass. Now with Anthos you can consistently manage containerized workloads running across cloud providers as well as on-prem running on VMware or bare metal. Add into that the ability to manage VMs running on vSphere or on an Anthos cluster and your tool sets and processes have become vastly simplified.

If you’ve not had a chance, be sure to watch yesterday’s announcements or read the blog post to get more details on this week’s launches. After that, head over to the Anthos page to learn how you can start reducing complexity and increasing flexibility with Anthos today.  

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