Although a hybrid cloud offering is the clear preference for the majority of businesses looking to leverage cloud services, this move often brings its own complexity, volatility, and other potential obstacles.
As IT service providers and end users become more accepting of the cloud’s growing role in business, another trend within cloud is emerging, based on the idea that it rarely makes sense for businesses to put all their storage and compute “eggs” in the same cloud basket. The reality is that some IT is better served in a public cloud environment and others are better suited for a private cloud environment. And, now within the cloud explosion is a trend within the trend, which is the hybrid cloud phenomenon. A recent survey by InformationWeek revealed that nearly 47% of companies are developing hybrid cloud systems. Research from Gartner corroborates this finding, predicting that nearly half of all enterprises will adopt hybrid cloud offerings by 2017.
The trend appears to be extending through all industries, too, which makes sense because having the “best of both worlds” is something everybody wants. On the one hand, private cloud promises better security, control, predictability and easy access to large legacy data sets. Public cloud’s appeal, on the other hand, is that it’s convenient, scalable, less expensive, mobile, collaboration friendly, and incorporates multitenant services.
The Search for Hybrid Utopia Comes With Serious Challenges, New Solutions
While it makes good business sense why businesses need to keep some IT local, some in a private cloud, and the rest in a public cloud, implementing and managing this environment can quickly turn into an IT nightmare, requiring multiple tools from multiple vendors to monitor and manage each environment (read: silo), plus multiple calls to multiple parties must be made when problems occur in order to get to the root cause. This, of course, leads to lots of finger-pointing and could easily nullify the benefits of a hybrid computing initiative.
Fortunately, vendors are paying attention to implementation problems, and companies including Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP, IBM, and VMware have made substantial progress simplifying the implementation process and working with cloud service providers to integrate private and public infrastructure.
Most recently, Cisco announced significant momentum around its Intercloud, which is its platform for interoperable cloud services designed to offset or even eliminate the potential pitfalls hybrid cloud deployments face.
Intercloud is based on the OpenStack architecture and can accommodate any workload on any hypervisor and works with any public or private cloud. Cisco also announced that 20 additional partners have joined its Intercloud initiative, dramatically expanding its reach with 250 additional data centers across 50 countries.
What IT service providers selling cloud services will find most important is that Cisco is now offering the Cisco Intercloud Services bundle, a hybrid cloud service that enables customers currently using only public or private cloud services to expand seamlessly to both services.
Cisco is further backing up its claims by earmarking $1 billion in financial aid to Cisco customers and partners involved in deploying Cisco technologies needed to transition to hybrid clouds.
As the hybrid cloud model continues to become the new standard in cloud computing, cloud management platforms will play an increasingly important role in enabling end customers and IT service providers alike to realize the benefits of hybrid cloud without having to relive the data silo nightmares of the past.