A recent survey by the Technology Business Review of New Hampshire revealed that nearly 20 percent of the 1600 large enterprise IT decision makers queried are utilizing two or more integrated cloud services to create a hybrid cloud. Despite the popularity of the term, the exact definition of “hybrid cloud” is often shrouded in misconception. Many believe it to be primarily about bursting — running an application in a private cloud with an established threshold at which it will burst into a public cloud to meet demands for greater computing capacity. Gartner vice president and analyst Lydia Leong disagrees with this definition.
It’s about “bi-modal” management, she says, and a system in which a company’s legacy private cloud environment acts as the system of record while a newer, public cloud system is put in place to handle the needs of more rapid deployment. TBR estimates the market for integrating these divergent platforms at roughly $7 billion. It’s an attractive figure for vendors, certainly, but what does it mean for the average enterprise?
“You don’t want your old stuff to slow down your new stuff,” warns Leong. “If you try to blend those two you’ll end up doing neither one well.” While there is a proliferation of integration services designed to assist the consumer in adopting a hybrid model, businesses that choose to go it alone may benefit when considering this basic approach to tailoring a solution that works for their individual needs:
Assess Current Operations and Expand Their Capabilities
An organization’s existing private cloud environment forms the foundation for a successful hybridization. Its level of virtualization and automation, its ability to scale, whether it is equipped with an adequately integrated cloud management platform — all of these factors (and more) must be thoroughly considered and shortcomings addressed as best as possible. Does your security need work? Now’s the time. Have you been meaning to upgrade your monitoring and orchestration? Get to it.
Identify Which Public Cloud Provider is Ideal
A growing demand for public cloud services has resulted in a corresponding growth in the number of service providers, each as individual as the market it serves. To determine which to choose, it’s imperative that you first define your individual needs. Usability, availability, security: What matters most to your business? To your clients? There is no undisputed master-of-all-things-cloud, so it is inevitable that compromises must be made. In what areas are you willing to compromise?
Operationalize Your Hybrid Cloud
After updating your private cloud and identifying your preferred cloud service provider (CSP), you’re ready to make your new hybrid cloud operational. Ideally, your CSP’s infrastructure, platform, and application environments should mirror those of your data center, aiding portability and making it easier to monitor security across the breadth of your operations. This is also the stage at which cloud bursting may be appropriate — but as a well-thought-out part of your hybrid cloud strategy rather than an unplanned necessity.
For more information on operationalizing your hybrid cloud, see our handy checklist to get started. If you need more information on cloud computing, you can find resources here. To continue the conversation on Twitter, please follow us at @IntelITCenter or use #ITCenter.