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In this chapter on Building the Hybrid Cloud, we take a look at some of the practical considerations that organisations embarking on the hybrid cloud journey need to bear in mind.
We also speak to one organisation, charity Action for Children, that has already taken the plunge. And we talk to leading IT expert, VMware’s EMEA CTO Joe Baguley, about the conversations he’s having with customers around hybrid cloud.
Could combining private- and public-cloud resources into a hybrid cloud prove the best recipe for companies looking to achieve the goal of optimal scalability, flexibility and IT efficiency?
First they went public, then they went private. Now, organisations are looking to hybrid cloud deployment as a way to mix both public and private cloud resources to get the maximum benefits of almost limitless scalability, increased flexibility and the most efficient use of IT.
According to a recent Gartner study, nearly half of large enterprises will have deployed a hybrid cloud by the end of 2017. The growth of hybrid cloud computing, say analysts at the firm, will only serve to fuel more general adoption of cloud computing as a model for IT deployment - and they expect this overall cloud spend to account for the bulk of IT spending by 2016.
In the US, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) defines hybrid cloud as a composition of at least one private cloud and at least one public cloud. At most companies, this involves integrating a private-cloud deployment (located on their own premise or hosted on their behalf by a third-party provider) with the resources of a public-cloud provider.
The market itself, then, is a complex mix, largely comprising the major IT vendors that provide companies with data-centre infrastructure; hosting providers; and systems integration firms that help them knit private and public cloud resources together.
That third group is important: while a hybrid approach promises “cost savings and significant gains in IT and business flexibility”, according to a 2013 report from analysts at Forrester Research, “some concerns remain around how to manage and integrate on-premises infrastructure with cloud services in a hybrid cloud architecture.”
In terms of the challenges that IT decision-makers face, Forrester’s survey of over 300 companies in the US and Europe shows that two security challenges are ‘top of mind’ for respondents: ensuring the consistency of security policies between the on-premises environment and the service provider (cited by 46 percent) and securing communication and data-sharing between the two (cited by 45 percent). In addition, some applications may need to be re-architected to run in a hybrid environment - and the challenges around the connectivity needed to link public and private clouds are substantial.
“IT decision-makers will look to find solutions to these challenges with existing tools and skills — or explore new offerings that make it easier to address the challenges of using a hybrid cloud strategy,” the Forrester analysts predict.
At Gartner, meanwhile, analyst Dave Bartoletti remains adamant: “Hybrid is indeed the cloud architecture that will dominate… there will likely be very few private clouds that don’t have a hybrid component.”
Read on to find out: What considerations do organisations need to take into account before identifying suitable use cases for hybrid cloud deployment?