Imagine an orchestra playing without a conductor. World-class musicians ready to create a beautiful symphony of sounds in which each instrument complements the others. But, without a way to organize all that talent, the result could be pure cacophony.

Organizations face a similar situation when navigating the cloud complexity today. Cloud is no longer just a single, static destination, but an operating model for innovation across the whole of the Cloud Continuum. To keep pace with the innovation opportunities, distributed infrastructure environments, and applications and data that live everywhere a new approach for orchestrating this complex environment is needed for organizations to get the most out of the cloud.

Meet the Continuum Control Plane

How do we solve this complex puzzle and keep pace with a rapidly evolving Cloud Continuum? A “control plane” for the Continuum.

A Continuum Control Plane is a holistic approach to managing the cloud continuum, orchestrating change and driving innovation (including hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, applications, data, network, people and processes). It allows developers and operators to automate common tasks and workflow, at scale, regardless of location, by bringing together new processes and a better integrated set of tools, enabled through new platforms and automation.

A Continuum Control Plane isn’t a single tool or platform, but an amalgamation of new processes and integrated technologies conducted in such a way that IT runs more efficiently, with more agility, security and predictability.

A new day for IT environments

Infrastructure functions are shifting from managing physical assets to orchestrating and optimizing services across different technology providers. Applications and Infrastructure are now intrinsically linked – Infrastructure is now code, and the lines are blurring between building and operating technology.

Today’s IT environment consists of new technology, tools, dependencies and smaller, discrete workloads running across a highly distributed ecosystem. Consider smart factories that involve thousands of sensors and devices that must be monitored, managed and secured in addition to the network requirements for vastly increased amounts of data involved.

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For both stability and agility, you need a Continuum Control Plane.

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All this adds up to a lot of new instruments in the band creating new opportunities for value—and more complexity to manage.

The Continuum Control Plane enables you to unlock the value while mitigating risk. It allows you to govern complexity while still enabling innovation in an agile, independent way. It provides a way to intelligently orchestrate and harness hybrid, multi-cloud infrastructure, on-premise data centers, private clouds, edge computing devices and software-defined and 5G networks toward business goals and adapt as requirements evolve.

Why do you need a control plane?

How is a Continuum Control Plane different from traditional cloud management platforms? In a multi- and hybrid-cloud world, most enterprises will take advantage of native management and governance capabilities from multiple providers.  Although the hyperscalers do offer a degree of cross-platform integration, most companies will need a fully unified, agnostic approach to handle their technology investments—including the unique industry and country compliance requirements they need to enforce—and deliver a truly seamless Continuum-ready IT environment.

As you introduce more components into your IT landscape, you need a unified orchestration layer. You’ve got your own data centers, maybe a private cloud as well as one or more public clouds – with applications now operating across the entire continuum. It’s like continually adding new instruments and players to the orchestra that is your IT estate, you need a conductor to bring harmony to the organizational dissonance that cloud complexity can create. You need something that sits above and manages and enables the broader continuum, inclusive of Edge, network, cloud and on-prem data centers if you’re to fully capture the value available.

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An expanding IT landscape increases the need for a unified orchestration layer.

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A Continuum Control Plane integrates and orchestrates new cloud native tools as well as third-party platforms, which, when embraced at scale, forces new ways of working, eliminating manual intervention (for example, submitting a ticket to provision an environment). It drives new value by connecting capabilities and automating processes (for example, ensuring provisioned environments align with security and compliance requirements). And it shifts IT spend from operations-centric to engineering-centric outcomes, which is critical to ensuring the IT estate remains aligned to ever-changing business needs. It is differentiated by its extensive use of automation and self-service, radically simplifying how organizations build, manage and consume services across the full range of the Continuum.

In short, to exploit the opportunities of the Cloud Continuum, you need the means to counter the complexity of integrating, managing, and enabling an increasingly large number of distributed platforms, tools, and devices. The control plane is how you sync all this up to make beautiful music.

Orchestration unlocks value

A Continuum Control Plane helps organizations embrace new practices—giving them the means and discipline to rapidly innovate and support a culture of continuous reinvention across the Cloud Continuum. It enables organizations to balance their need for operational and financial stability with their need for rapid innovation and agility. For example, you need standardization and a defined set of rules to control risks such as data breaches, regulatory compliance, security and cost. Yet at the same time, you need the flexibility to rapidly provision new capabilities and services that allow you to exploit new opportunities, new revenue streams across the Continuum.

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The control plane is how you sync all this up to make beautiful music.

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The control plane addresses both of these requirements. It embraces automation and self-service to holistically secure, operate and govern a hybrid, multi-cloud estate (stabilize) and to optimize and continuously harness innovation across multiple private and public cloud providers (agility). When organizations have a Continuum Control Plane in place, they are better equipped to quickly adjust and adapt in today’s turbulent market—they are able to realize their cloud ambitions with greater speed and certainty while simultaneously mitigating risk.

Today, if you’re not thinking about orchestrating new ways of working in the Cloud Continuum, a single lens through which you can see and manage your entire IT estate, you will eventually hit a wall. To have both stability and agility—covering infrastructure, applications, data, networking, people and processes, you need a Continuum Control Plane.

David Wood

Managing Director, Growth & Strategy Lead – Cloud First


Karthik Narain

Lead – Accenture Cloud First


Michael Heyen

Managing Director – Global Practice Lead Hybrid Cloud

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