Making hay with hybrid cloud

DQI Bureau
New Update

The findings of the second edition of an annual survey on cloud adoption hinted that the public cloud was coming of age. In 2012, 25% of the 250 survey participants confirmed using public cloud infrastructure, a smart jump up from only 15% who did so the year before. In addition, 29% of respondents said they used a hybrid of public and private cloud. The company that did the research said this was a proof that efforts to allay concerns about cloud security were working.


Cut to March 2013, the public cloud got another shot in the arm when the UK's cabinet office announced that it would present her majesty's government with a ‘public cloud first' policy that would make it mandatory for government departments to route most of their tech spending through that channel.


An IDC study of over 300 large companies in the US and Europe concluded that ‘Private cloud is current flavor but hybrid cloud is fast becoming a reality', it didn't really come as a surprise. This is as it should be, because it is the hybrid model that realizes cloud's potential to the fullest, enabling enterprises to fulfill their ambitions-from cost efficiency, scalability, productivity, and ‘on demand' to strategic business priorities like innovation, market expansion, and business model reinvention.


The flip side of the hybrid cloud is its complexity-the complexity of integrating a snarl of cloud applications; of dealing with a veritable landscape of cloud vendors; of securely orchestrating data across multiple environments; and above all, of acquiring a unified view of resource availability and demand across the cloud eco-system. A poorly managed environment can erase nearly all the gains from the hybrid cloud, and worse, create cost overruns and a governance nightmare. But, the good news is enterprises have found a way to hurdle these challenges. The IDC survey referred to earlier, explains how-it mentions that roughly one in two respondents believe that it is extremely important that an expert service partner, help them achieve automated orchestration between the private cloud, public cloud, and their on-premise infrastructure, as well as identify the best cloud vendors for their various needs. While organizations may set out on the cloud journey on their own, they need expert guidance to navigate a variegated read hybrid cloud environment.


A seasoned cloud partner can help with this introspection and enable businesses to fully appreciate how the power of cloud does not lie solely in the ability to bring about operational improvement but to actually revolutionize the business. The partner can resolve all those questions that are typically top-of-CIO-mind-how to provision and deploy services seamlessly across a hybrid cloud, how to zero in on the right option for a given workload, how to fulfill both IT policy and security needs, and most importantly, how to govern this intricate eco-system.


So, the partner's capabilities would straddle the spectrum of professional services, from developing a cloud strategy and roadmap, to enabling secure private, hybrid and service provider clouds, ‘brokering' different cloud options, migrating services on to the cloud, and ensuring cloud applications' security and quality. Enterprises, would still need to find a way to build, manage, and govern their unified hybrid cloud environment.


That's why, a cloud ecosystem hub-operating like a nucleus of sorts to bring cohesion into the disjointed cloud environment and create a single-window enterprise view of the cloud eco-system-is indispensible. This will then ease most CIOs pain points concerning cloud governance, risk mitigation, and optimization. The hub will enable both the CIO and the business users to know how and where cloud resources are being consumed, so these may then be charged back fairly. In hard terms, this translates to a time to market for cloud services that are shorter by up to 40%, productivity gains of up to 20%, and cost saving to the tune of 30%.


And, most importantly, the hub puts the technology organization the center of the innovation agenda. Here's how-by opening a single window of truth into the enterprise cloud, the hub presents the CIO valuable insights into cloud performance both at the aggregate and individual user levels. Armed with this knowledge, the CIO can support innovation initiatives with the best cloud based course of action.

It's easy to see how this ‘unified cloud' has the potential to take alignment between technology and business to a new level by enabling value to flow between both sides. When this hub is further augmented with a self-service catalog featuring a menu of service vendors from multiple environments, business users can use this feature to cherry-pick cloud applications, services, or processes at will. This is nothing short of a transformational evolution within the enterprise as the concept is premised on seamless value creation between providers on the IT side and consumers at the business end.

Finding a partner and a cloud eco-system hub measuring up to these expectations is not easy. A thorough investigation of potential partners' track records and asking to see tangible evidences of their past successes is a good starting point. Then, once allied with an experienced cloud partner, enterprises have a real chance of making it on the cloud.