Cloud computing is now the de facto standard for most businesses, and few companies are settling for just one or two public and private cloud solutions. Hybrid cloud computing has reached a tipping point for mainstream adoption, due to technology advancements that offer flexible cloud management capabilities.
Comparing cloud providers is extremely complicated. There are frequent price variations and regular introductions of new instance types and service offerings. When taking into account application performance, it gets even more confusing. Applications run differently on different clouds due to variations in infrastructure, geography, certifications, security levels, performance levels and price points. A cloud strategy that makes sense now might no longer make sense as conditions change. Enterprises are looking for a better way to make sense of the change and future-proof their cloud strategies.
A hybrid cloud approach is the best way to match business needs with changing technology landscape. With hybrid cloud, the focus isn’t on any one cloud, but rather which cloud can deliver the best job for any application. Why settle for one cloud when you can use them all?
Three key trends that have recently converged show how hybrid clouds have gained mainstream adoption:
Public vs. private becomes public plus private
In 2014, public-versus-private-cloud debates were replaced with discussions about how to manage both. Hybrid cloud computing will become the norm driven by the following factors:
- IT’s increased understanding and experience with multiple cloud forms;
- Industry-wide recognition that the best cloud venues for applications, use cases and release cycles will vary greatly based on price and performance objectives, geography, data governance and regulatory needs and requirements;
- Availability of new, purpose-built, hybrid cloud management tools that are easy to deploy, have fast time to value and fit a wide range of use cases.
Application-based Cloud Management
For hybrid cloud to work, the infrastructure must serve the application, rather than the application fitting into the infrastructure.
There are simple and complex hybrid cloud environments, and their diversity will continue to become more complex as cloud service providers add unique infrastructure and service capabilities to differentiate themselves from others. This trend shows how difficult it is to migrate, move and manage applications to and between these different physical, private and public cloud environments.
For hybrid cloud computing to scale, there must be application portability and manageability. While seemingly overly simplistic, most approaches to cloud migration and management have, so far, forced an inconvenient choice of one attribute at the expense of the other.
Application-based cloud management platforms decouple an application – including its topology, requirements and dependencies – away from the underlying cloud. Rather than forcing an application code or provisioning scripts to conform to each cloud, application-centric tools dynamically provision cloud resources based on the application’s needs, laying down the app natively on each cloud.
This focus on the application – not infrastructure – provides insights into determining the best cloud venue for different workloads and will be crucial in enabling a truly efficient hybrid cloud computing model.
Hype Becomes Reality
Sophisticated hybrid cloud management platforms expose the hybrid hype by many cloud service providers (CSPs), causing them to truly shift to hybrid.
Most CSPs have come forward with messaging about their hybrid cloud capacities. The realities of CSP (News - Alert) capabilities, however, have fallen far short of the hype, and many providers are just spinning up a VM on some other cloud rather than truly managing applications fluidly between diverse physical, private and public clouds.
We expect CSPs will be disrupted by customers that fulfill their hybrid cloud strategies on their own by using hybrid cloud management platforms. CSPs will need to get aggressive about offering hybrid cloud solutions, or they risk losing market share.
David Cope is executive vice president of corporate development at CliQr. With more than 25 years of executive leadership and marketing experience in fast-growth technology businesses, he is responsible for business development, strategic alliances, brand management and integrated marketing communications. Previously, he held executive positions at companies from startups to corporations, such as IBM (News - Alert). He received numerous marketing and technology-related awards and is an inventor on multiple technology patents.
Edited by Maurice Nagle