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What Makes a Cloud a Hybrid Cloud?

By: Chris Colotti

This is a repost from Chris Colotti’s blog, chriscolotti.us.

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Something I noticed I was talking about a lot at VMworld was the concept of what makes VMware vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service, really a “hybrid cloud”.  The funny thing is, I asked The Google andTheHostingNews.com has some interesting cloud terms, but I pulled this one quote.

Hybrid Cloud – In some situations, the customer may need both a local server running specific applications and a cloud service that hosts additional applications, files, or databases. In such a situation, the two are often configured for interoperability.

Although this is pretty high level I don’t think it captures in my opinion, the true potential of what the vCloud Hybrid Service can offer for what I think a Hybrid Cloud is.  It covers some of it, but really let me ask a few questions.

  • Is just running servers on premise and off premise a “hybrid”?
  • Is it “Hybrid” if there is no seamless interaction between on and off premise?
  • What defines “configured for interoperability”?

Something I have been thinking about is the question of what makes a Hybrid Car a ‘Hybrid’.  To me it’s not just the fact it is powered by two fuel sources, it is also that those two sources are seamlessly interconnected.  The car switches between the resources without you the driver really knowing it’s happening.  The magic is in the decision-making on which resource to use at the given time.  When I simplify this I end up with two key points that is what makes a Hybrid car something we can use to leverage a Hybrid Cloud definition.

  • Interconnected resources
  • Seamless use of the resources without consumer interaction

The VMware Hybrid Cloud Service Advantage to Enterprise IT

During both VMworld events I asked many people using Amazon EC2 if they were in fact interconnecting their Amazon resources to their on premise data centers.  In most cases, the resounding answer was no.  Most people I talked to said they treat Amazon EC2 as an external entity that is in no way hooked into their data centers.  There was a couple of people doing it, but the majority were not.

This is what really makes VMware vCloud Hybrid Cloud Service something different.  The entire intent is that you first connect your vCHS resources to your on premise data center.  Using either VPN, which I have shown multiple times, or via the newly announced Direct Connect Option.  The whole nature of what VMware sees as a Hybrid is those two bullet points above.  Interconnect and Seamless resources that Enterprise IT can leverage regardless of the consumer.  Both ends are the same technology.  The main difference I have been educating on is the FIRST thing you do is build this connection, and deploy data center infrastructure that will provide services to your cloud based machines.  Providing networking and security via the vCNS Edge Gateway to control all the connectivity you need.

Over and over it seems folks are not wrapping their head around the fact that the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service can be designed and consumed very much like any physical brick and mortar data center.  The difference is simply it is all software designed, and operated by VMware to save you the overhead of managing the underlying physical resources.  At the end of the day you consume it the same as you do with your existing vSphere, and moving workloads and templates requires no modifications.  You get the best of both worlds and you truly get what I consider a ‘Hybrid Cloud’.

Of course provide your own comments below and let’s see if I can get folks to start seeing this concept differently than other so-called hybrid cloud models.

Chris is a Senior Technical Marketing Manager with the vCloud Hybrid Services team with over 10 years of experience working with IT hardware and software solutions. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Information Systems from the Daniel Webster College. Prior to VMware he served a Fortune 1000 company in southern NH as a Systems Architect/Administrator, architecting VMware solutions to support new application deployments. At VMware, in the roles of Consulting Architect, Chris has guided partners as well as customers in establishing a VMware practice and consulted on multiple customer projects ranging from datacenter migrations to long-term residency architecture support. Currently, Chris is working on the newest VMware vCloud Hybrid Service solutions and architectures for vSphere customers wishing to migrate to the VMware Hybrid Cloud Service. Chris is also a VMware Certified Design Expert, (VCDX #37).