Sep 19, 2018 | 3 min read

Intro to HashiCorp and the 4 Tiers of Multi-Cloud Management

By: Patrick Emmons

Intro to HashiCorp and the 4 Tiers of Multi-Cloud Management

Just five years ago, enterprises in the cloud were in the minority. Only 27 percent of companies surveyed had tried out AWS, and an equal number didn't even know it existed. The rest of them were vaguely aware of it, but wary of transforming their business processes so dramatically. Cloud options at Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, and others were even less popular.

We live in a completely different business landscape today. In 2018, 96 percent of enterprise survey respondents have moved key business processes into the cloud, and multi-cloud (4.8 on average) is the preferred strategy. In fact, business leaders are now concerned that cloud sprawl within their organization is potentially wasting resources and inhibiting productivity. Finding ways to optimize their cloud environment is a top priority.

With that in mind, we'd like to introduce you to one of our partners that has taken on the challenge of coordinating and optimizing multi-cloud deployments, particularly in the IaaS and PaaS space. Here's an executive brief on the four levels of cloud management for the modern enterprise:

Provisioning with maximum flexibility

The final link in the chain from most modern digital enterprises is the interface between your developers and a constellation of stakeholders. Provisioning can become a time sink when you’re working with a variety of cloud providers plus a range of technology stacks. HashiCorp’s Terraform provides a multi-cloud infrastructure as code solution to free up collaboration and governance processes, so your knowledge workers can concentrate on workflows instead of technologies. Your developers have the latitude to pick the infrastructure best suited to run their application, then provision it on-demand in a predictable, consistent way throughout the development lifecycle.

Running infrastructure-independent apps

The next layer is application deployment. HashiCorp's Nomad automates application placement, scaling, and restarts, so you don't have to worry about downtime. You can also set up application updates with native support for rolling, canary and blue/green release strategies. This cluster scheduler automates the repetitive tasks of application deployment on any infrastructure. It allows you to manage microservices or run high-throughput batch/analytical workloads on a single cluster.

Securing your value proposition

Now let’s talk about securing our applications in the cloud. Vault, HashiCorp's answer to data encryption as a service, is quickly becoming the de facto standard for securing secrets in the cloud. A central repository for all your critical secrets is more defensible, giving your IT teams the power to manage secrets and access at scale across your infrastructure with multi-factor authentication and replication. The cloud demands a new approach to security and the ability to create dynamic secrets per service. These secrets can be short-lived, specific secrets can be revoked in the event of a breach, and all actions are audited per secret. Each service is given access to secrets based on their identity and the policy associated with it.

Connecting the dots

At the most basic level, clouds need to be able to communicate with each other, which sounds much simpler than it is. Three key networking challenges that arise surround connectivity, security, and run-time configuration. HashiCorp addresses these with their Consul platform, which controls service discovery, so it's easier for enterprises to connect disparate services across a distributed infrastructure.

As many businesses today find themselves in a multi-cloud environment, the benefits they experience come hand in hand with a new set of challenges. At the end of the day, understanding the challenges and setting aside time and resources to develop a cloud strategy are imperative steps for business growth and sustainability. For guidance on how to take advantage of Hashicorp’s suite of products and create a dynamic cloud infrastructure, Contact DragonSpears.

About Patrick Emmons

If you can’t appreciate a good sports analogy, movie quote, or military reference, you may not want to work with him, but if you value honesty, integrity, and commitment to improvement, Patrick can certainly help take your business or your career to the next level. “Good enough,” is simply not in his vernacular. Pat’s passion is for relentlessly pushing himself and others to achieve full potential. Patrick Emmons is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Patrick co-founded Adage Technologies in 2001 and in 2015, founded DragonSpears as a spin-off dedicated to developing custom applications that improve speed, compliance and scalability of clients’ internal and customer-facing workflow processes. When he is not learning about new technology, running a better business, or becoming a stronger leader, he can be found coaching his kids’ (FIVE of them) baseball and lacrosse teams and praising his ever-so-patient wife for all her support.