Hybrid Clouds

The reality is that hybrid clouds are in your future – like it or not. And, you will WANT to have IaaS resources from multiple providers. In some cases for geographic support, in other cases to have access to different capabilities. Regardless of the motivation, this working across multiple clouds will be the norm for most IT groups.

There are a variety of reasons one might want to use a hybrid cloud.

  • Geographic – For a variety of legal reasons, you may want to utilize IaaS resources that dedicated within a given country’s borders. In this manner, you can be certain that the assets you place in that local STAY in that country.
  • Specialized capabilities – Providers will innovate to fill gaps in the market. They might choose to focus on government, or medical, or building auditable trusted pools, or just simple, low cost compute and storage. Using a combination of these types of specialized providers can allow IT to match requirements to capabilities yield cost effective, impactful services.
  • Access to choice – By using a set of providers with varying capabilities you place yourself in a very strong position to be able to rapidly meet the demands of the business. If the business suddenly needs very low cost compute in a geo, you’ve got it. If they need auditable resources in support of financial transactions, you’ve got it.

Using a set of providers can create challenges however. Some things to consider when using hybrid clouds.

  • Design for hybrid clouds – as you build out your applications and IT processes, start with the assumption that you will have your applications in multiple providers. That forces decisions (and requirements) for which provider to use including criteria for when to move and how to expand. Note that placing the compute in various locations also implies that data is also in those locations – so be sensitive to data location requirements.
  • Monitor – be sure to monitor the performance, availability, security, and cost effectiveness of your providers. Market conditions can change and providers can change as well: introduce new capabilities, lose the recipes for existing services, etc.
  • Use a broker – assume that you will need a software cloud broker. The broker implements the IT policies on where workloads should be placed and provides the common front-end for internal management. Note that a well-designed broker does not hide or normalize the capabilities across providers, but rather makes then accessible in spite of the differences.

One of the newest entrants to the field of brokers is being announced today at Cloud Expo: CompatibleOne, the open source broker. This is worth taking a look if you are in the market for an open source cloud broker. Having the advantage of being able to start from scratch, they have built a clean approach to managing assets, perhaps in a local private cloud to remote assets in a public or partner cloud. There are, of course, other options for cloud brokers. You should always carefully evaluate the options based on your specific requirements.

Hybrid clouds are in your future – get ready now!