December 5, 2013 10:57 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
Hybrid cloud can be particularly effective as a means to transition enterprise IT to a cloud-based model or as part of a new model for an outsourced data center. Enterprises looking at hybrid cloud for these use cases are typically facing similar challenges:
- Growth in infrastructure that is demanding corresponding growth in the amount of physical space required for the data center.
- Cost uncertainty fueled by applications and use cases, such as e-commerce and OLTP, which can have highly variable resource requirements.
- Performance issues in certain mission-critical applications that are currently being addressed by the over-provisioning of IT resources, negatively impacting optimization, utilization and total cost of ownership.
- Lack of agility and speed in developing and deploying new applications and business services.
- Personnel challenges in finding and retaining talent with the requisite skills for today’s modern data center.
A business case for using hybrid cloud for enterprise IT or for an outsourced data center often centers on some of these key themes:
- Using cloud solutions as part of a larger strategy to meet the need for more capacity and elastic scalability, without incurring incremental capital expenditures.
- Expanding data center performance and functionality without having to go through all of the costs and time involved in physically building a new data center.
- Transitioning IT from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model.
- Enabling IT to be more agile and responsive to the needs of the business. For example, using self-service capabilities in hybrid cloud to accelerate the creation of new business services, while allowing the IT organization to maintain control and centralized governance of IT services and resources.
- Supporting mission-critical applications in public cloud environments, while ensuring the highest levels of security, compliance, performance and availability.
In evaluating hybrid cloud solutions for enterprise IT or outsourced data center you want to choose a solution that can seamlessly extend your onsite data center to the cloud. The solution should enable the simple migration of existing applications to the cloud, while enabling you to move applications between onsite and offsite environments. Among the characteristics to expect from an Infrastructure-as-a Service (IaaS) solution for hybrid cloud are:
- On-demand capacity and scalability to react quickly to changing requirements for critical IT resources.
- Ability to allocate and provision resources where and when you need them, with elastic scalability to cover peak periods.
- A common unified management platform that enables IT to administer the entire hybrid cloud infrastructure from a single pain of glass. This includes onsite data centers, private clouds and public clouds.
- A common IaaS platform among on-premises data centers and cloud solutions.
Are you considering hybrid cloud for enterprise IT and/or as a solution for an outsourced data center? Why? What are the biggest challenges for your organization? What are your goals? Please feel free to comment and share your experiences with us here at Hybrid Cloud Trender.
December 2, 2013 5:23 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
IT leaders and business decision-makers are increasingly turning to hybrid cloud solutions and infrastructure-as-a-service platforms as the preferred options for addressing their most pressing concerns about moving key workloads and applications to the cloud.
More than three quarters of respondents to this year’s third annual Future of Cloud Computing survey said they expect hybrid clouds to be the core of their cloud strategies within the next five years, overtaking both public and private clouds. IaaS is the fastest growing form of cloud service, according to the survey, with usage rising from 35% to 45% year to year, representing a 29% increase over the prior year.
The majority of respondents said they see the emergence of hybrid cloud and hybrid cloud providers as a response to the factors that are potentially inhibiting their adoption of cloud. These top inhibitors include:
- Security; although security is still viewed as the number one inhibitor to cloud deployments, concerns about security are declining, from 55% of respondents in 2012 to 45% of respondents this year.
- Compliance; cited by 30% of respondents
- Privacy; 26%
- Costs; 28%
- Reliability; 22.3%
- Complexity; 21%
These findings echo some other recent research we’ve seen. In InformationWeek’s 2013 State of Cloud Computing, just over 50% of respondents cited security as the top cloud risk, and more than 40% also cited concerns around compliance and privacy. Another survey shows that 60% of decision-makers see the hybrid cloud as the culmination of their cloud journey, rather than just a steppingstone.
If hybrid cloud is to provide the answer to concerns about security, compliance and privacy, what are some of the key characteristics IT decision-makers should be looking for in hybrid cloud solutions? Here are a few to start with:
- World-Class Protection: Make sure your service provider is able to provide comprehensive security protections for hosts, networks, virtual machines, applications and data. Any solution should have a rich set of sophisticated firewall and gateway security services.
- Consistent Application: It is essential that security features and compliance policies are applied and enforced consistently across public and private clouds.
- Flexibility: You want to be able to segment your cloud environment so that you can apply security policies in different ways to different user populations and data types.
- Visibility: Your solution should be able to automatically identify regulatory violations, with management and reporting capabilities that give you operational visibility to verify compliance.
- Control: One of the biggest challenges to compliance is control: If IT is not in control of all of the cloud deployments across the enterprise, the organization is more likely to be at risk for security gaps and compliance violations.
Is your organization facing inhibitors to more widespread cloud deployment? What are they and how are you dealing with them? And what are some of the key characteristics you are looking for from your hybrid cloud solution? Please feel free to comment.
November 27, 2013 10:38 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
, Hybrid Cloud Migrations
Many of the questions that come up early and often in any discussion of cloud deployments center around existing applications, specifically:
- How will we migrate our existing applications for the cloud?
- Will we need to rewrite our existing applications for the cloud?
- How much will it cost to migrate/rewrite our existing applications for the cloud?
- How much time will it take to migrate/rewrite our existing applications for the cloud?
IT decision-makers recognize the importance of simplified and flexible migrations: More than 50% of respondents cited “flexible migration of workloads between private and public clouds” as one of the most critical characteristics of the cloud, according to IDC’s CloudTrack Survey, 2012. As noted by the research firm: “Interoperability and standardization between external and internal cloud environments represent the table stakes for application portability and the foundation for mixed environments that support ease of migration.”
If the organization has to go through a costly and/or time-consuming migration process in moving to the cloud, then this will be seen as a possible gating factor in moving certain applications to hybrid cloud environments.
One of the ways to mitigate the challenges of the migration/rewrite process in hybrid cloud environments is to utilize a solution that is built upon a foundation that you already have in place. For example, VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Service is an infrastructure-as-a-service platform that is built upon vSphere. The use of a common platform allows any applications that are currently being run on vSphere to run in the cloud with no changes required.
In addition to the time and cost savings you will achieve by not having to rewrite your applications, a common platform across your on-premises data center and your IaaS platform provides significant benefits as you develop and deploy new applications. As you develop new applications, you will have the option of deploying them on-premises or in the cloud, depending upon which deployment will deliver the most benefits to your organization
As you evaluate IaaS platforms, there will be several important factors to consider, including:
- Is the solution built on a virtualized network that provides seamless integration between your on-premises data center and the cloud?
- Does the solution offer common management tools and security features across the cloud and on-premises solutions?
- Does the solution provide a choice of service options? For example, vCloud Hybrid Service is available in two service options that can be deployed individually or in any combination. A Dedicated Cloud provides a physically isolated infrastructure, giving organizations their own private cloud instance and the most control over resources. A Virtual Private Cloud provides a logically isolated infrastructure, including fully private networking and resource pools.
Has your organization analyzed the costs of rewriting/migrating applications for the cloud? What are the most important migration considerations for your company? Please take a moment to comment and get the discussion rolling.
November 18, 2013 11:44 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
, Hybrid Cloud TCO
There was an article on Search Cloud Computing the other day with a headline stating that hybrid cloud deployment is the future of the enterprise. The article quotes Forrester Research analyst Dave Bartoletti as stating that more than 50% of enterprises will be prioritizing private clouds in 2013 and 2014, with almost all of these deployments having a public—therefore hybrid—component. In fact, Bartoletti says that “everyone” has plans to extend the private cloud to include public resources, which leads to a cloud that offers infrastructure both on and off premises. “The future is systems-of-record linked to new cloud-style systems-of-record, and that is hybrid cloud,” Bartoletti says.
To a large degree this major platform shift to the cloud is being driven by the need for IT to be more agile, while also keeping costs under control. As we’ve noted in our last two blog posts, hybrid cloud can deliver significant TCO benefits as well as improved agility through elastic scalability and accelerated speed in developing and deploying new applications and services (among other benefits).
As enterprises start the process of moving mission-critical applications to hybrid cloud deployments, however, IT leaders will be asking additional questions beyond those centered on agility and costs. Among the issues that are core to the success of any enterprise IT deployment are performance, high availability, resiliency, reliability, simplified manageability and security.
Here are five questions related to these key areas that you may or may not have thought about asking your potential hybrid cloud service provider:
- Is the solution built on a state-of-the-art storage infrastructure that employs flash storage as part of an architecture that supports automated tiering? The storage platform is critical because many of today’s highly virtualized applications will perform better and faster with the improved IOPS enabled by flash technology for Tier One storage.
- Does the platform support live migration and other features that eliminate downtime and maximize high availability? As virtualization has taken hold in the data center, IT organizations have come to expect that they can keep applications running without interruption due to planned server maintenance or non-planned events. IT is accustomed to automated failover as well as auto-start for virtual machines in the event of failure. IT will demand no less resiliency and availability from applications delivered via their hybrid cloud environments.
- Can you easily migrate workloads between your private cloud and your public cloud services, utilizing a single management interface that goes across all of your cloud environments, public, private and hybrid? If you choose a hybrid cloud provider that also enables you to migrate your existing applications and run them seamlessly across all of your environments without rewriting them, you will be way ahead of the game.
- Does your solution support a policy-driven approach to provisioning, and what other security features are integrated into the platform? For example, certain solutions embed software-defined security and resource consumption controls so that pre-configured IT policies are enforced automatically, accelerating provisioning without impacting security, compliance or control. Security features should include identity management and role-based access that provide authorized and accountable control over the consumption of cloud resources.
- Does the underlying network infrastructure support the demanding bandwidth requirements of a cloud environment? Can the network forward packets at wire speed, causing little or no impact on network performance or bandwidth? Can you configure the network as if it were in your own data center, extending the corporate network to the cloud without creating new IP domains or adding network management?
As IT leaders begin thinking about moving mission-critical applications to hybrid cloud environments, the issues around resiliency, reliability, performance, high availability and security have to be assessed and addressed. The questions presented here can give you a start. What are some of the other critical questions you should be asking? Please feel free to post your comments.
November 13, 2013 1:46 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
, Hybrid Cloud TCO
For IT leaders and decision-makers, one of the challenges in building a business case for any technology investment is to articulate and, where possible, provide metrics that illuminate how and where the technology lowers total cost of ownership (TCO).
Hybrid cloud is, of course, no exception.
As we’ve seen with virtualization, IT organizations are anxious to embrace technologies that reduce costs, improve efficiencies and accelerate time to value for the business. In many ways, cloud computing represents the next evolutionary step in the virtualization path, and hybrid cloud is an important development in the evolution of the cloud paradigm.
IT and business leaders clearly recognize the enormous potential of hybrid cloud solutions to lower TCO. According to IDC’s 2012 CloudTrack Survey, “cost efficiency” was cited as the most critical characteristic of cloud deployments, with 85% of respondents saying it was critical to their organization’s use of the cloud.
So what are some of the areas for IT to examine as they build their TCO models for hybrid cloud? Here are five to consider:
- Reduce Capital Expenditures: As we’ve seen with virtualization, the positive financial impact of infrastructure consolidation can be dramatic. With hybrid cloud, IT should be able to isolate the costs of incremental hardware and software purchases, versus the costs of using cloud services for specific workloads and use cases. Some of the workloads we discussed in our previous post—such as backup, archiving, disaster recovery and test/development—will provide clear financial benefits of using hybrid clouds to reduce capital expenditures.
- Reduce Operating Expenditures: As you move specific workloads to the hybrid cloud, you have the opportunity to reduce costs for maintenance, upgrading, patching and other day-to-day functions of the IT department. Rather than thinking of hybrid cloud as a way to reduce personnel, IT should be looking at it as a way to deploy personnel more strategically, particularly as businesses look to the cloud to accelerate the creation and delivery of new business services.
- Protect Existing Investments: This is one of the key areas where you have to make sure that you choose the right provider for your hybrid cloud solutions. You want to be able to extend into the cloud all of the investment you’ve already made in infrastructure, virtualization, management, IT expertise and training, for both IT personnel and users.
- Accelerate Time to Value: There are areas where this may be relatively simple to measure: In test and development, for example, you can reduce the time and costs to develop new applications and services. Another area where time to value can make a big impact on cost savings is through critical applications, such as Web hosting or e-commerce, that will have the potential to perform faster and better through a more flexible environment, taking advantage of both premise-based solutions and public cloud services. Applications downtime and performance degradation can severely impact financial performance, particularly with so many aspects of today’s businesses centered on the Internet.
- Isolate, Pay for and Charge Appropriately for Usage: One of the benefits of any cloud environment is the creation of a service model that enables the IT department to pay for the resources it uses, while also charging internal departments for their usage. You don’t have to overprovision to adjust for business cycles; you can just use the resources you need when you need them. With the right hybrid cloud solution you can manage your workloads strategically and cost-efficiently so that you can move workloads between on-site and off-site environments as your requirements change.
These are just five areas in which hybrid cloud can lower TCO and where IT departments can make a strong business case for hybrid cloud deployments. What are some of the areas in your organization where hybrid cloud is impacting TCO? And what are some of the ways in which you apply metrics and measurements to those cost savings? Please let us know and remember to stay tuned for our next post.
November 5, 2013 10:26 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
Moving workloads to the cloud should be part of your short- and long-term IT strategy. In fact, the best strategy for IT professionals is to identify those use cases and workloads that will benefit most from a hybrid cloud deployment, delivering incremental value to the business in the quickest time frame. IT leaders and business decision-makers are typically focused on time to value and the impact to the bottom line, so if your hybrid cloud deployments can accelerate time to value, you will be making an important contribution to your organization.
How do you choose the right use cases and workloads? Here are some types of workloads that lend themselves to successful hybrid cloud deployments:
- Workloads that require elastic scalability: Some of the obvious ones are e-commerce environments that may get spikes in demand during certain times of the year, such as during the holiday season; social media networks that are prone to spikes during major events, such as the Super Bowl or a presidential election; gaming sites that also need to satisfy peaks in usage. Hybrid cloud enables you to scale based on your usage requirements.
- Packaged applications: Standard packaged applications, such as those for e-mail and collaboration, pose a challenge to IT departments because they typically require ever-increasing network, storage and server capacity and performance. The key with moving packaged applications to the hybrid cloud is to use a platform that enables you to run your existing applications in the cloud without having to rewrite and/or reconfigure them.
- Backup/archiving/disaster recovery: If you can avoid it, you don’t really want the expense of replicating your production environment at a second site operated by your IT team. With the right hybrid cloud service you should be able to use remote storage to provide a lower-cost backup facility, while taking advantage of automated replication, monitoring and remediation to ensure high availability of all your applications.
- Batch processing: Batch processing workloads also pose the challenge of spikes in demand, along with the need for speed, performance and capacity during those periods. By utilizing a hybrid cloud solution, IT departments can use shared resources to maximize power and performance, while monitoring usage to assess appropriate chargebacks to individual business units.
- Test and development: For IT, applications must be developed much more quickly, they must be easy to use and intuitive and they must be ready for prime time right out of the gate. In moving test and development to the cloud, IT can accomplish all of these objectives. The key is to use the same platform that you already run internally, so you can leverage your existing processes, expertise and infrastructure.
These are some of the workloads and use cases that The Techster has identified. If you want another opinion, check out this short video from Dave Bartoletti of Forrester on Tips When Evaluating What Workloads to Move to the Hybrid Cloud. Here are some of his views:
- If the application needs to respond to scaling customer demands
- If it’s a new mobile or social media application, and demand for the app is uncertain
- If it’s an existing application that could be run more efficiently by being moved to the public cloud
What do you think? What are the workloads that are driving hybrid cloud deployments in your organization? Please comment and get the discussion rolling.
October 30, 2013 1:42 PM
Posted by: TheTechster
Welcome to Hybrid Cloud Trender, The Techster’s new blog on all things hybrid cloud. Why hybrid cloud and why now?
- Hybrid cloud is gaining traction: Do a quick Google search and you can see for yourself. Just a few days ago, Forbes posted an article extolling the virtues of hybrid cloud, describing it as a technology that is “real and live and attracting millions in venture capital funding and being used by thousands of companies right now.” A few weeks ago Gartner issued a report stating that 50% of large enterprises will be using hybrid clouds by the end of 2017. IDC research has shown that 22% of cloud users are already using hybrid clouds.
- Hybrid cloud is important: There’s a reason hybrid cloud is hot: Done right, hybrid cloud is a true enabler of next-generation business agility. With the right solution in place, enterprises can orchestrate applications, business services and compute resources across private and public clouds, ensuring that the organization can optimize and maximize costs, reliability, performance and management frameworks. Hybrid cloud offers the ability to mix and match deployment environments based on specific parameters for performance, security, compliance, speed to market, as well as scale-out and/or scale-up requirements. Hybrid cloud deployments should facilitate the ability of business decision-makers to deploy IT services to drive business opportunities.
- Hybrid cloud can be complicated: There are a lot of ways to get to hybrid cloud and, unfortunately, that means there are a lot of wrong ways to get to the hybrid cloud. As noted by IDC, there’s a lot more to hybrid cloud than just the interconnection and movement of workloads. Hybrid clouds must support existing applications, they must support centralized governance and they must tightly link the enterprise data center with the resources available through public cloud services. Onsite and in-the-cloud systems must be orchestrated to work together as a single system.
Our goal with Hybrid Cloud Trender is to separate the hype from the reality and talk about what it really takes to deploy a hybrid cloud solution. We will look at which applications and environments can reap the most benefits; profile successful use cases; examine market trends, and talk about various technology approaches. The Techster, as always, is here to shed a little light. Stay tuned for our next post and, please, let us know what you think about hybrid clouds.