by guest blogger Richard Munro, Chief Technologist vCloud Air, VMware
Hybrid has been a hot topic for quite a few years now. Its functionality, architectural flexibility and superior security benefits when supporting workloads, data and applications have been championed as a way of transforming the enterprise IT environment and making the most of public and private clouds. Yet, it seems there is still work to be done if we want to deliver the true promise of hybrid cloud.
IT departments are struggling to keep pace with the demands from the wider business. They need to find a solution that makes the underlying IT infrastructure as agile and responsive as possible… as was the promise of hybrid. However, while we’ve seen some fantastic examples of businesses running critical workloads in a hybrid environment, many of these have been siloed deployments grounded in the realisation that hybrid has meant simply running public and private clouds together, with little or no compatibility between them. Applications need rewriting or plug-ins to move between the different clouds, and totally different tools (and often skills) are required to run them.. But this isn’t what hybrid is about at all !!
True hybrid has the power to completely transform the IT landscape over the next couple of years.
True hybrid creates an environment where workloads can be shifted about at will, using exactly the same tools IT teams are already familiar with. Critical applications can deliver the performance they need, while resources can be allocated and provisioned where required. This makes IT more responsive to businesses requests through the ability to instantly provision new infrastructure to cope with new projects, set up virtual servers to handle a new system across departments such as HR and marketing and more. And, of course, scale back just as easily when needed, given one of the key reasons hybrid hasn’t yet gained enough traction is the difficult – often impossibility – of taking workloads back out of the public cloud.
One of the most important concerns around any changes in IT environment is security; especially post NSA this sits high on CxOs’ priority lists. A true hybrid deployment can leverage existing IT policies to meet security, compliance, and control requirements. In 2014, VMware released its vCloud Air service in Europe, largely to tackle this precise concern. Launched from a UK location that meets UK and EU compliance and data sovereignty legislation, we’re seeing incredible demand from businesses who are under pressure to cut costs and increase flexibility, but for whom there can be no compromises on compliance.
So, who is getting it right?
One example is Carisbrooke Shipping. Although it had successfully virtualised parts of its infrastructure, the company still had some physical hardware across three of its five offices in the UK, Germany and Holland. It wanted one dedicated team running and managing the entire estate from one central location in the UK, while reducing the intrinsic cost involved in terms of running physical hardware, something they have now achieved through the roll out of a true hybrid cloud.
Provisioning new infrastructure has become a much simpler process – if it needs to spin up any additional IT resource, it can do this immediately, at the push of a button, rather than needing to purchase, and then get the licensing for, physical servers, which could take a couple of days. This is a massive benefit for helping Carisbrooke to grow, as it was coming close to reaching the limit of the new resources it could provision on a physical basis.
As IT departments continue to face pressures from all quarters to deliver a better, cheaper, faster, more secure, more agile and – of course – fully compliant, service, I’m confident we’ll see hybrid really come into its own in 2015, ready to establish itself as the de facto IT infrastructure of the decade and beyond. With Gartner reporting that nearly half of large enterprises will deploy a hybrid cloud by 2017, it’s a movement that can’t be ignored.
Hear more from Richard Munro at Cloud Expo this week at 2:35 pm on Wednesday the 11th of March, where he’ll be discussing ‘The True Hybrid Cloud – From Aspiration To Reality’.