• 08/22/2014
    7:00 AM
  • Rating: 
    0 votes
    Vote up!
    Vote down!

3 Ways Hybrid Cloud Is Going Mainstream

Here's a look at three trends that are making it easier for organizations to migrate to a hybrid cloud platform.

We’re seeing a change in the way the modern organization computes. Driven by end-user and market demands, companies have found the need to extend beyond their own data centers. Even though new external cloud resources offer ways for organizations to extend themselves and become more agile, there is almost always a connection to some kind of private data center.

The overarching, dominant cloud model is quickly becoming the hybrid cloud. Think about it: Any company extending its private data center capabilities into the cloud (backup, replication, email, productivity, desktops, and applications) is using some element of a hybrid cloud architecture.

A report conducted by Forrester Consulting for Cisco highlights many of the business drivers for hybrid cloud adoption. “A real hybrid cloud strategy can provide on-demand flexibility for where applications are hosted, and can help optimize cloud infrastructure costs beyond a purely private or public cloud strategy," according to Forrester.

The report showed that more than three quarters of survey respondents planning or using IaaS were looking for a tightly coupled hybrid cloud strategy, or were currently implementing one. InformationWeek’s State of Cloud Computing Survey also indicated the trend toward hybrid cloud: 79% of organizations that use cloud services employ multiple providers.

Today, it's quickly becoming easier to migrate to a hybrid cloud platform. Here's why:

1. Open-source technologies. Technologies like OpenStack and CloudStack are helping pave the way for optimized hybrid cloud interconnectivity. Vendors like Dell, IBM, and HP already offer ways to interconnect with OpenStack. This gives organizations the chance to extend their data centers and allows for more application, workload, and user flexibility. This can involve something as small as a single app that requires frequent user-load bursting or an entire email and communications platform.

2. Software-defined data centers. We now have the capability to abstract almost every physical resource into the logical layer. Network, storage, and even the entire data center can fall into the software-defined definition. Because we can pool almost all of the required hardware resource into the virtual layer, we begin to see the emergence of a software-defined data center (SDDC). Software and logical controls make it much easier for organizations to scale private resources into the cloud.

For example, VMware has an entire initiative to help abstract and manage every aspect of the software-defined data center. VMware's SDDC strategy combines compute, network, storage, and even management. Your capability to interact with that software-defined layer is even more powerful. Now, you can use APIs to connect with OpenStack or use VMware vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) for advanced cloud automation.

3. The mobile user. The way users connect into your environment is changing quite a bit. Their devices are no longer storing as much data, and the requirement falls heavily around constant connectivity. This means seamless connectivity between both private and public cloud resources. However, does it really matter to users where they’re connecting, just as long as they have their apps and data? Hybrid cloud provides user flexibility by making it easier for mobile users to consume rich data and content from all over the world.

New technologies are making it much easier to connect private data center resources with a variety of cloud platforms. Soon, there will be more kinds of devices and endpoints connecting into the cloud. Remember, when working with your own data center and the resources that it houses, always keep in mind the elasticity of cloud computing and how a hybrid model can ultimately allow your organization to scale. 



Bill, thanks for all of this data -- it's amazing how quickly cloud is being adopted across the board. I have read several artiles, however, that say that companies are mischarachterizing thie use of "hybrid" cloud because they say they are using hybrid when they are really just running virtualization in their data center alongside some public cloud services or SaaS. They may not have a private cloud, or if they do, they haven't integrated that with the public services at all. Do you have an opinion on that?

Re: Overestimating?

That's a good point Sue. Virtualization does not equal cloud, which requires attributes like self-service, automation and elasticity.

Re: Overestimating?

@Sue - Excellent point! Virtualization certainly does not mean hybrid cloud. It DOES, however, give you the capability to extend into a hybrid cloud.

The term "hybrid cloud" is already becoming more abstracted. Organizations with private data centers can now extend their environments much faster than ever before. By definition - if a private data center is utilizing some public cloud resoruces and is extending their own infrastructure into some type of cloud - they're create a hybrid cloud architecture.

The cool factor here is that companies can scale faster and use other public cloud providers to do so. It's no longer an Amazon AWS show out there. There are more data centers now offering public cloud services. IO, TelX, Raging Wire, and several others allow shops of all sizes to extend their infrastructure into a hybrid cloud model. 

Re: Overestimating?

Bill, when you say the term is being "abstracted," what does that mean? I don't normally get hung up on definitions, but I think the back-end integration needed to have a true hybrid cloud is pretty important. Just having a private cloud and also using public cloud services isn't that big of a deal if they don't talk to each other or share resources. it's when you can leverage the capabilities between them that it's really powerful.

Re: Overestimating?

@Susan: An interesting, semi-philosophical question: "Does "hybrid" necessarily require/denote a particular degree of integration?"

At the same time, some distinction is perhaps worthwhile to make between those companies that do EVERYTHING (or just shy of everything) in the cloud versus those who do not -- integration or no.

Re: Overestimating?

Joe, from the comments it looks like readers are OK with loosely classifying any combination of cloud services as "hybrid." If you are all favor of that, I can get behind it :)

Your idea of a term for cloud-based (or mostly cloud-based) businesses is great. In fact, I'm surprised marketing departments haven't jumped on it already. What would you suggest? Cloudified? Cloud-powered?

Re: Overestimating?

"Cloud-powered" is ambiguous; companies with the basest of peripheral operations in the cloud might use it as a marketing ploy.

"Fully cloudy," perhaps?  ;)

Are Hybrid Clouds Really Mainstream?

Hello Bill - Thanks for the starting the discussion. It's definitely interesting and given the various hybrid approaches, it can lead to confusion. To be honest, I'm seeing a lot more organizations that are using "hybrid" in the following scenarios: They use a public cloud to do development and test and then they deploy production to a private cloud. Or they choose public cloud or private cloud based on the needs of the applications, and since they have a lot of applications they end up with a "hybrid" of public and private clouds. I don't see that many organizations that have advanced to the point where they have a single application running on a private cloud infrastructure that bursts into the public cloud for peak periods of usage. I do agree that some of the technologies are making this easier to support, and in addition to OpenStack, etc., PaaS vendors that support both private and public cloud implementations are making a hybrid architecture easier to attain. Your point about integration is also key - if organizations want a real hybrid architecture they'll need a data connectivity strategy that works seamlessly across public and private cloud instances - because it's not feasible to have different configurations for application components for an app that spans clouds because they have to do something different to access data depending on where the data resides, or where the application component is executed.

Mark Troester
Progress Software

Re: Are Hybrid Clouds Really Mainstream?
It has been while now that Hybrid cloud is growing faster than ever, i believe cloud computing is about managing application workloads, i often gets confused what makes us to realise the need of hybrid.
VMware hybrid cloud service

VMware recently announced that it changed the name of its vCloud Hybrid Service to vCloud Air. Not really sure how that's supposed to be better. In a VMworld keynote, Bill Fathers, VMware EVP & GM for hybrid cloud, touted the service as helping customers transition to hybrid cloud because it uses the same hypervisor and management tools they use in their private data centers.


Re: VMware hybrid cloud service

@Marcia: "vCloud Air."  That's cute.

"Sky" is another one that I'm sure someone will snap up for their hybrid deployment/solutions.

I'm waiting for someone to call it "Partly Cloudy."


A 4th way: On-premises cloud-in-a-box solutions!

These deployments are largely limited to the healthcare and life sciences industry for the time being -- genomics in particular -- but Intel et al. plan to expand to medical imaging and other deployments in that industry.  These are the most difficult uses for this technology.  Once they have that down, their plan is to expand to manufacturing and the financial services (two other notorious "Big-Data" sectors).