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The Future of Cloud: All Hybrid?

This is a guest post from vCloud Service Provider Logicworks. Check out their blog, Gathering Clouds.

Nowadays, there is so much being written about the future of cloud computing, especially in terms of the virtues of choosing public or private. Hybrid clouds are too often left out of the conversation.

In 2013, it’s hard to conceive of a business with a simple, streamlined infrastructure. Additionally, many of these companies need to balance scalability with security. Some also have compliance/regulatory concerns. Hybrid cloud deployments are especially effective for organizations seeking to access dynamic cloud architectures to better support ever-changing business requirements.

The truth is that more often than not, IT infrastructure is a patchwork of private, public, legacy, and even bare metal components that function in support of a business’s push to achieve greater agility.

With so much variation in the types of cloud and traditional infrastructures a business can be running at any given point, the push for cloud adoption as the overall IT paradigm is a complex process – dealing with multiple vendors, reconciling internal requirements and migrating existing systems are not simple tasks.

But what is the outcome? Combining the different pieces into a hybrid cloud model presents the opportunity to balance the range of requirements from the different parts of your infrastructure in a way that can unify and improve processes.

So what does a hybrid cloud do for a business?

  • It grants instant Disaster Recovery (DR) for everything in the cloud
  • It balances capacity and cost across your entire IT infrastructure
  • When your business opens a new office or establishes a new vendor relationship, you don’t have to start from scratch to integrate each example into your existing infrastructure (via templates)
  • Everything (compliance, ROI, etc.) is more easily quantified and reported on

Generally hybrid clouds exist so that you can move workloads (VMs or groups of VMs) from one location to another – for example from an internal datacenter into the cloud – and back again.  This is ideal for moving projects, applications, and data between infrastructure instances. However, moving a VM is less than half of the story.  You need to know whether that VM can:

  1. ‘Wake up’ on the other side of the hybrid cloud and start all its services
  2. Find networking rules that allow it to connect with its brother and sisters (VLANs, Databases, other servers, etc.)
  3. Be accessed by its administrators (firewall rules, VPN, Active Directory / LDAP, authentication, etc.)
  4. Function properly in that environment (with adequate CPU resources, I/O, storage capacity, monitoring)

Most people don’t really have hybrid cloud capabilities (for example, they would need current versions of VMware on one side – vCloud Director or vCloud Automation Center, and a service provider, such as Logicworks, with those same tools). For businesses that have run out of capacity in their data center and want to be able to move apps out, there’s no real need to move workloads back.

However, hybrid clouds allow a business to deal with any configuration requirement, because the reality is that with cloud increasingly becoming the standard IT delivery model, workloads will also transition to the cloud. If a workload doesn’t function in the cloud – because it’s very latency dependent or needs superfast performance – that will be immediately apparent. But once that workload is running well in the cloud, chances are it will stay there.