Hybrid clouds are a little like hybrid cars. Hybrid cars have two operating modes that work together seamlessly to get you to a destination, but to the driver it all looks and acts the same. Similarly, hybrid clouds let you deploy applications into an on-premises private cloud or into linked public clouds—whichever best suits business needs—but to the application development team it all looks and acts the same. But just as you wouldn’t buy a hybrid car without looking under the hood, you shouldn’t subscribe to public cloud services without looking under the hood to learn how the offered services assure the performance, security, and cost your business needs.
To make sure you get the most value from your hybrid cloud environment, here are some items to discuss with your public cloud provider.
Security and Compliance
Security is a looming concern for enterprises. Public clouds share servers and networks among many customers, so the attack surface is broad. You need to be sure threats introduced in other customers’ applications or operations can’t affect yours. You not only must ensure your data is protected, you must be able to verify and demonstrate that the protections required by corporate, industry, or government regulations are in place and effective.
Because cloud service providers recognize security as a major concern of their customers, most have implemented extensive protections. Here are some questions you should explore:
- How does the cloud service provider (CSP) ensure your virtual machines (VMs) launch on a trusted platform that hasn’t been compromised by an attack through another customer’s instance?
- Can your data be encrypted—both in place and in transit?
- What kind of intrusion detection and security monitoring is provided?
- Who is responsible for keeping software up to date?
- What security processes and tools are used, and are they compatible with your own incident response systems?
- Does the CSP offer the ability to integrate apps in their cloud to your enterprise systems for identity management, domain name service, and IP address management?
Some of these questions go right to the bottom of the stack—the processor itself. Intel® Xeon® processors, for example, include Intel® Trusted Execution Technology, which ensures operating systems and VMs launch on a trusted platform creating a root of trust for applications. The Intel® Xeon® processor's encryption accelerators enable security at scale.
Performance and Functionality
The processors underlying the service can make a significant difference in performance and functionality. Put simply: The processor matters. Applications for analytics, machine learning, and scientific computing may be optimized for functionality built into Intel® Xeon® processors, so moving the app to another platform will result in loss of performance. And the hardware assisted virtualization support provided by Intel® Virtualization Technology makes live migration of VMs fast and efficient, but systems taking advantage of it will fail if the underlying processor lacks support.
Learn how the CSP will scale with you by offering more horsepower where needed and by scaling out when appropriate. For big data workloads, demand processors optimized for analytics and machine learning. Assess the CSP’s ability to capture the data close to where it originates, and determine if they have the bandwidth to transport it where it needs to go.
Consider whether your CSP provides the robust elasticity and scaling that makes clouds such a powerful computing environment. Are tools available to help you measure and adjust utilization, so you’re not paying for more than you need? Does the pricing structure give you flexibility to match the cost to the application’s needs? And since the power of hybrid clouds is the ability to shift apps from one cloud to another as business needs change, identify features that will lock you in to the service, and be sure you understand what challenges you would encounter moving the app back onsite or to another provider.
Powering the Cloud
The word “Intel” should resonate in the answers you hear to the questions I mention above. Increasingly, Intel® technology powers the cloud—public and private. Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors are a family of scalable processors optimized for the workloads of the future. Storage functions like Intel® Optane™ technology and Intel® Solid State Drives are enabling fast, efficient big data analytics in the cloud. Intel® FPGA enables specialized functions. And network technology like Intel® Silicon Photonics is making cloud data centers—public and private—faster and more powerful
Consistent infrastructure matters—especially in the cloud. Learn more about how Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors power the cloud here.