IBM: How Hybrid Helps CTOs

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“The debate is over. Hybrid cloud services—seamlessly blending on-premise infrastructure with cloud infrastructure—are firmly established as the engine of growth and transformation for companies across the globe,” IBM declares in a recent white paper developed in partnership with Hurwitz & Associates.  In their white paper, they outline how hybrid cloud solves five challenges that chief technology officers (CTOs) face.  Today, let’s take a look at their findings.

The Challenges. First as they discussed the current operating environment and market demands with tech leaders, common concerns became apparent. CTOs report they are concerned about:

  • Responding rapidly to changing business demands
  • Delivering on SLAs
  • Securing data and intellectual property
  • Controlling costs
  • Simplifying management and orchestration of assets

Do any of these challenges sound familiar?  Do you have the same concerns?

The Benefits of Hybrid Cloud. Hybrid cloud allows companies to build a competitive advantage with better service integration, more flexibility and faster workload deployments.  One leader in the white paper remarked, “One of the drawbacks of standard IT is being flexible enough to meet changing customer needs while being rigid enough and consistent enough to be automated in a cloud environment.”  As the world continues to go more mobile, more web and more social both customers and employees demand information and services instantly.  Hybrid cloud allows for seamless integration across operating models and provides the flexibility and the ability to scale-up to meet today’s needs and be ready for tomorrow’s. A hybrid cloud solution gives companies an end-to-end view to better evaluate costs.  The white paper also points out that hybrid cloud solutions grounded in virtualization, multi-tenancy and micro-partitioning are key to better orchestration and management. Finally, hybrid cloud can help maintain security at all levels. Hybrid cloud brings the best of both public and private cloud services allowing IT visibility into each area.

Hybrid cloud has become an important solution that allows companies to remain competitive in today’s ever changing environment.

Building a Successful Hybrid Cloud

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Judith Hurwitz writes for IBM’s Thoughts on Cloud, “Increasingly, organizations are looking to cloud services to respond to the need for speed, flexibility and containing costs. As cloud becomes more strategic to the business, the hybrid cloud is becoming the optimal method for delivering services in a predictable and secure manner. Hybrid cloud environments allow businesses to quickly react to market changes and deliver a new generation of applications to customers. When implemented correctly, the hybrid cloud can become a business game changer.” In a recent article she walks through three “imperatives” for a successful hybrid cloud:

  • Data integration – most companies have data existing across their organization and often in silos. Proper work must be completed to ensure data is integrated up front, so it can flow and combine as needed in a cloud-based environment
  • Workload management – hybrid cloud allows companies to gain flexibility when it comes to where their workloads run. This can bring improvement to operational efficiencies and effectiveness. Before this can happen work needs to be completed to determine how workload management will take place as well as identification of restrictions. Ms. Hurwitz gives the example of privacy laws which may be a restriction on certain workloads from operating on the public cloud
  • Data and application portability – again this piece has to do with taking advantage of the efficiencies gained from having the option to run in the cloud or via an on-premise system. If your data and applications are not built for portability your organization will not be able to toggle between the new environments when needed

In closing, Ms. Hurwitz underscores, “Hybrid cloud will continue to grow as organizations strive to increase their speed and agility to react to changing business circumstances. New, data intensive applications, often delivered to mobile devices is also driving the adoption of hybrid cloud deployments. Having the right infrastructure to support business and IT requirements for performance, capacity, security and management is foundational for a successful hybrid cloud model.”

Industry News Round-up: Hybrid Cloud

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To keep you on top of the latest and greatest hybrid cloud technology news, we’ve rounded-up a list of recent topics.

IBM Acquires Hybrid Cloud Service Provider

Rick Whiting of CRN reports, “IBM is doubling down on its bet on OpenStack: Wednesday [June 3rd] the company disclosed that it has acquired Blue Box, a developer of managed private-cloud services based on OpenStack technology.” Mr. Whiting adds, “Blue Box, based in Seattle, provides businesses with a simple Private Cloud-as-a-Service platform based on OpenStack.”  The new service will allow customers to integrate cloud apps with on premise systems in an OpenStack environment.

Readying Legacy Apps for the Hybrid Cloud

David Linthicum writes for Tech Beacon, “Hybrid clouds are desirable because they can deliver the best of both the private and public cloud worlds by letting you move workloads back and forth between the two platforms. You can also partition applications so that components can reside on both the public and private cloud” But, many of the applications you may be considering for the cloud are legacy. Here are a few of his tips to ready these apps for the cloud:

  • Carefully select the right app – does it add value to the organization in a hybrid cloud environment
  • Outline the technology trade-offs and possible technical issues
  • Determine security, governance and disaster recovery needs
  • Gain a thorough understanding of the source applications and workloads

When it comes time to move to hybrid cloud, Mr. Linthicum makes note of three choices: lift and shift, partition or refactor.  Lift and shift, like its names implies, would typically require no significant changes to the app and IT needs to determine which environment it will work in best. Refactor, on the other hand, is a rewrite of the app to leverage cloud native features.

Share your thoughts on hybrid cloud and where your organization is on the cloud spectrum.

Hybrid Cloud Storage

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Robert Gibbons Jr. writes for Network World, “Disasters that affect data aren’t necessarily the type that Hollywood glorifies in blockbusters. The scenarios that could bring your business to a standstill might be caused by cyberattack, human error, blizzard or hurricane, or any number of other common occurrences. When these events happen – and they will happen to every business at least once – they are far more destructive when there is no plan in place for maintaining uptime and productivity.”

Hybrid cloud storage is a great option for businesses in disaster recovery. Today’s let’s take a look at some of the benefits Mr. Gibbons highlights in his article.

  • Data security: hybrid cloud backup creates an in-house file along with a file that is housed at a different location giving your organization a diverse storage option housed in separate facilities
  • Failover options: if your in-house systems do fail you can use your cloud backup to keep systems running while onsite problems are fixed. This can reduce or even eliminate downtime
  • Flexibility: the cloud offers endless storage space options. Businesses gain more options and more flexibility by being able to more easily weigh decisions about local storage versus cloud storage and space versus cost. Mr. Gibbons points out, “this offers a great benefit to smaller businesses in particular because it provides flexibility if your local backup device has limited storage”
  • Costs: when you use hybrid cloud storage you do not have to outlay the expense for physical equipment, cooling and power of an on-premise datacenter. Mr. Gibbons recommends reviewing your cloud provider billing process carefully to prevent month-to-month surprises.

In closing, Mr. Gibbons adds, “hybrid cloud backup transforms what was once a difficult and prohibitively expensive process into one within reach of every business that values productivity and uptime.” Take time today to learn more about what hybrid cloud storage can do for your organization and its disaster recovery.

Drivers of Hybrid Cloud Growth in 2015

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By 2018, 78% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers; 22 percent will be processed by traditional data centers, reports Bill Kleyman of Data Center Knowledge. He adds, “It’s 2015, and it’s safe to say that many of us have our heads in the cloud. We’re using more mobile devices, requesting even more data from a variety of data center points, and are demanding even more from the infrastructure that is designed to support the next-generation cloud platform. Data centers are becoming massive hubs for multi-tenant environments which are continuously being tasked for more resources and are experiencing even more utilization.”  Mr. Kleyman gives the following reasons why hybrid cloud computing will grow in 2015 and beyond.

  • Future clouds will need to be interconnected – private clouds connected to public. The hybrid cloud model is already becoming easier to deploy to facilitate these connections
  • There will be better interconnectivity support. Already Mr. Kleyman points out data center providers have started to create easier, global, interconnectivity points for both private and hosted solutions. Along with improvements with bandwidth, open source and APIs staying connected is getting easier and faster
  • The enterprise and customer are “ever-changing”.  Hybrid cloud computing has allowed many organization to scale quickly to meet data demands and facilitated better delivery.

Plus, as more and more organizations use hybrid cloud, others learn from their successes and mistakes. Mr. Kleyman writes, “As data centers jump on the hybrid cloud bandwagon pricing, solutions, and offerings all get a lot better. And more competitive. This means smaller enterprises can get into the hybrid cloud game. Why? Data center extension, disaster recovery and business continuity, building a “business-in-a-box,” developing a business segment that is completely cloud-based, and even creating new service offerings are just a few reasons many organizations are actively exploring a hybrid cloud model.”

How could your organization benefit from hybrid cloud computing?