Amazing federated multicloud apps | InfoWorld

These days I hear a lot about the goal to run federated applications across cloud providers. We want to build these multicloud applications for many reasons, including:

  • To optimize the underlying cloud resources for the application components. For instance, a CPU-intensive portion of the application can run on a portion of a cloud service that provides the fastest processing at the lowest cost for usage.
  • To gain the ultimate resiliency, considering that outages typically don’t span cloud providers. Thus, we’re spreading the risk over more than a single provider.
  • To avoid lock-in. Now we can put our eggs in many different baskets with a focus on the higher-level abstracted platforms versus the walled gardens of public cloud providers.

How to run federated applications

Although there are many ways to do federated deployment of applications, let’s focus on the most popular: Kubernetes. You typically set up a Kubernetes container cluster that spans multiple cloud providers. This creates several choices.

You can use Kubernetes Federation to manage multiple Kubernetes clusters across different clouds as a single logical cluster. This approach requires configuring and connecting each cloud-specific Kubernetes cluster to the federation control plane. The control plane is designed to manage the federated clusters and provide access to common interfaces.

Some cloud providers offer managed Kubernetes services, such as Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), or Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). You provision Kubernetes clusters in each cloud provider and establish connectivity between them. You can run these on premises, but that’s typically not the cheapest and easiest path.

It’s also advisable to explore cross-cloud Kubernetes solutions (like Rancher) which allow you to manage clusters across different cloud providers from a unified interface. Of course, there are other equally viable ways to pull this off; Rancher is just one.

Are federated deployments a good idea?

It’s not a question of if you can do it. You can. The better question is should you do it? We covered the benefits, now let’s look at some potential downsides.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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