As 2021 begins to appear on the horizon, most people will be happy to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. Despite the pandemic and all its chaos and uncertainties, 2020 was the year of the cloud. Pandemic-weary enterprises rushed to the cloud for safety, scalability, and agility.

We still have some architectural obstacles to overcome. There’s no time like the present to review the two architectural problems on the top of my list.

First would be the edge data and knowledge tiering problem. When a tiered architecture includes an edge device, we need best practices and processes to figure out where to place data and knowledge bases and the back-end hyperscalers.

This seems like an easy problem to solve: Simply understand the workload requirements and then determine the proper tiering. Then the number of edge devices grows exponentially, the organic growth of data saturates the edge devices, and the requirements become quicksand.

We need a dynamic approach that uses automation to migrate the data and the knowledge bases as needed. But even that approach can be problematic through the negative effects of over-engineering. I’m working on this aspect of the solution right now.

The second problem is true federated multicloud security. You will probably point to IAM (identity and access management) solutions that span clouds, but I find that most are not yet ready for prime time.

Cloud security architects are forced to use whatever cloud-native security is available for each cloud brand, which makes this solution more complex and more difficult to operate by the secops team. The outcome is a higher risk of being compromised. Also, the integration of the native directory services of each cloud often leads to manually restarting the integration processes because right now they seem to just jam up.

I think IAM providers will solve this security problem now that they recognize that multicloud is their future, and that the market demands the ability to provide all patterns of security to span clouds. We know what the solution to the security problem is; we just need to build one that consistently works.

I’m tracking dozens of cloud implementation problems that I see over and over again in my consulting practice. Many people believe there are limitations right now that can’t be overcome. Just watch me.

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