There are conversations about cloud happening every day. A recent survey by the Open Data Center Alliance shows that 80% of respondents planned on adopting a hybrid cloud approach. It appears that a true hybrid cloud approach is the holy grail for cloud adoption.
The move toward a hybrid clouds is a journey. It is usually a gradual transition with multiple steps. You can visualize that transition as similar to climbing a mountain: There are multiple milestones along the way.
Some organizations might skip some of those milestones. If they have less legacy equipment, for example, moving new workloads to the cloud might be easier.
Build a Private Cloud
A private cloud is more than just a highly virtualized data center. It can be confused with software defined data center. The key to moving to a hybrid model is to implement a private cloud.
The NIST definition of cloud computing is: “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
You have a cloud environment if your internal infrastructure can be provisioned similar to AWS or Azure. NIST goes on to define private cloud as being provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprised of multiple business units. It may be owned, managed, and operated by your organization, a third-party, or a combination. It may be on- or off-premises.
Multi-cloud is what?
A multi-cloud strategy involves connecting multiple private cloud environments. These private clouds utilize unified monitoring, management, and automation. So once you have achieved the private cloud level, multi-cloud expands that between several data centers. And again, that equipment may be owned and managed by your organization or by a third party.
In-house private cloud or multi-cloud environments requires an investment of capital expense (CapEx) as well as ongoing operating expense (OpEx). That might be out of reach for many organizations. Private clouds also do not offer the low cost, unlimited elasticity, and instant provisioning that the public cloud offers.
What is different with hybrid cloud?
A hybrid cloud brings together the benefits of private clouds along with public clouds. It requires enterprise-wide management, automation, and orchestration. Workloads that are best run on private clouds could spike to public cloud services when needed. For example, hybrid clouds are ideal for disaster recovery solutions.
There are occasions where an organization requires the instant provisioning that public clouds offer. For example, you might have a chance to capitalize on an immediate business opportunity. A public cloud could allow you to scale on lower cost infrastructure and then decide if you want to move it back to your private cloud a later time.
As a true hybrid cloud, you can prepare your infrastructure for infinite scale. In order for workloads to move between public and private cloud environments they need to be run on a common framework. This is the cloud OS.
A cloud OS, such as one based on OpenStack, provides orchestration of multiple clouds. The OpenStack API allows you to communicate with many leading cloud service providers including the largest ones such as Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft Azure.
The freedom to move workloads, applications, and data between private and public cloud services allows you to get the maximum value out of the cloud with almost unlimited agility. You pick whether your applications or data reside on the private or public cloud.