From Silos to Services: Cloud Computing for the Enterprise

Feb 24 2014   8:36PM GMT

What is Hybrid Cloud?

Brian Gracely Brian Gracely Profile: Brian Gracely

Before getting into any technology discussions/definition about Hybrid Cloud, it’s important to understand what value it potentially provides to businesses. In the most basic definition, “hybrid” means multiple things brought together to work as a unified system. For most businesses, this means that every function (Finance, Sales, Marketing, Engineering, etc.) will utilize whatever mix of resources provide them the most efficient combination of agility, cost and risk-management. IT should be not different. In fact, given the popularity of SaaS applications, most IT organizations have already deployed a variation of a “Hybrid Cloud” or at least “Hybrid IT”, where it makes sense for them to utilize outside resources for functionality that might not be core to their business (Core vs. Competency‎). From a business perspective, IT organizations that look for Hybrid Cloud solutions are seeking ways to maximize their ability to deliver technology solutions for their business, utilizing the most appropriate global resources available to them at any given time. IT organizations need this flexibility to be able to align to how the rest of their peer groups within an organization operate.

Evolving Hybrid Cloud Definition

  • The industry needs a definition that isn’t just about Public+Private = Hybrid, but needs a definition where Hybrid is also about Platform2 + Platform3 apps. (Platform2 = Existing, traditional applications;  Platform3 = modern, next-gen, web-scale, mobile, social, big data applications)
  • The industry needs a definition that allows customer to Build+Buy Cloud (CAPEX+OPEX) to deliver the best overall cost (long-term apps = BUILD; short-term, variable apps = BUY)
  • Businesses want to seamlessly manage both Platform 2 and Platform 3 applications, within an integrated framework of SW + HW
  • Businesses want to mix and match HW-defined and SW-defined across clouds to deliver Hybrid Cloud services across any cloud
  • Businesses want toSaaS simplicity with Enterprise security & control.

Hybrid Cloud Use-Cases

There is not one definiton for Hybrid Cloud, hence there is not a single Hybrid Cloud use-case. Any use-case that involves IT leverages multiple cloud resources as part of a workload, or application lifecycle. Here are some examples that would be considered Hybrid. Please add more:

  • From a single management console, deploy workloads into multiple cloud environments (useful for DevTest vs. QA vs Staging vs Produciton)
  • From a single management console, migrate workloads from one cloud to another cloud
  • Backup, replicate, protect workloads running in one cloud to another cloud (eg. Backup-as-a-Service, DR-as-a-Service, HA-in-the-cloud) – note: some public clouds achieve similar protections by using multiple geographic regions or availability zones, but all within the same cloud platform (eg. AWS)
  • Run a workload across multiple clouds (active/passive, active/active) – useful for scenarios where redundancy is required, or traffic variability is expected
  • Leverage a SaaS application (eg. Syncplicity Sync’n’Share) across multiple devices, and leverage storage across multiple clouds (public/private)
  • Create an application that leverages resources from across multiple clouds (eg. Database, Caching, CDN Network, Load-Balancing, Analytics) – most likely a modern, modular application
  • Run a PaaS on multiple clouds and allow application portability between various cloud instances (eg. Cloud Foundry on AWS/vCHS/OpenStack/vCenter)

Technology Requirements

Many technologies can be used to build Hybrid Cloud environments, but there are a few elements that need to be in place to effectively allow multi-cloud provisioning; application migration; cross-cloud linkage for data movement and other commonly requested functions of a Hybrid Cloud environment. Not all of these are needed as separate tools or platforms, as there is overlap, but in many cases the cross-section of functionality is needed as the application has more demands for mobility, security, application integrations, etc.

  • Network Access and Connectivity – If the goal is only to provision into another cloud, then basic Internet/IP connectivity is needed to public address space. But more sophisticated networking is needed if customers require the ability to build Virtual Private Cloud / Virtual Private Network environments where internal and external resources are accessible from either cloud, or a customer wants to migrate existing address space. This is where VPN and or SDN/Overlay technologies are needed.
  • Access to Cloud APIs (or direct Access to the Cloud Management Platform in each cloud)
  • Data Movement Tools – Tools that can be orchestrated to enable the replication, mobility or protection of data between clouds – examples: EMC VPLEX, Recovery Point, Atmos, Zerto
  • Cloud Management Tools/Platforms – Tools that enable visibility and configurability between multiple cloud environments. These could be scripting/recipe tools like Chef/Puppet/Ansible, or Orchestration frameworks – examples: VMware vCloud Director, VMware vCAC, OpenStack Heat
  • Cloud Migration Tools/Platforms – Tools that enable the migration, translation, packaging/containerization of application or workloads and facilitation of their movement – examples: RiverMeadow, Ravello Systems,
  • Cloud Governance Tools/Platforms – Tools that provide policy and monitoring about how and where the workloads are provisioned and the associated characteristics of the workloads (costs, billing codes, group codes, project codes, security keys, passwords,etc.) – examples: Dell Cloud Manager (formerly enStratius), Rightscale
  • Cloud Monitoring Tools/Platforms – Tools that actively and intelligently monitor various workloads across clouds for characteristics such as performance, costs, security, etc. – examples: Cloudability, Cloudyn, Boundry, Datadog, CloudPassage, Newvem

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