Thriving with Hybrid Cloud

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Cynthya Peranandam and Laura Sanders of IBM discuss in a recent article what benefits hybrid cloud brings to organizations.  Today, let’s look at their breakdown:

Efficiency and productivity benefits.  This may sound familiar as it is regularly noted as a hybrid cloud benefit.  To be more specific, Ms. Peranandam and Sanders cite a recent IBM study of hybrid cloud leaders which found that 85% of those surveyed reported cost benefits from being able to shift some fixed costs to variable costs. 82% reported productivity gains.

Advancements up the “digital value chain.”  The author’s write, “what’s new is the focus on hybrid cloud as an enabler of digital change, by enabling product and service innovation and the ability to expand into new markets and serve new customer segments.” The survey finds leading companies are four times more likely to use hybrid for digital services.  Hybrid cloud allows developers to accelerate development to bring new services faster to market.

Increased ability to use emerging tech.  Technologies such as cognitive computing have hybrid computing part of their foundation.  Hybrid leaders in IBM’s survey are using hybrid cloud to gain an edge in the market place.

The authors point out that  hybrid cloud has become the norm, but many businesses still struggle to gain the above benefits. The reason why is the lack of a clear and deliberate strategy. Before you begin your hybrid cloud journey they recommend that first your strategy must maximize your existing infrastructure and also that any hybrid solution you choose must grant you greater visibility over the entire system. Having a clear strategy will help you reap more benefits from your hybrid cloud solution.

App Performance in the Hybrid Cloud

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As more and more businesses move to hybrid cloud solutions, it becomes important to also manage the “application-performance gap” as Steve Brar writes for the Data Center Journal.

“IT departments need visibility, optimization and control across hybrid clouds and networks to ensure that all on-premises, cloud and SaaS applications perform” and he later points out, “to deliver superior application performance in today’s hybrid environments, enterprises need a comprehensive solution that provides end-to-end application visibility, optimization and control.”  A study in Mr. Brar article finds that many executives while moving more apps to the cloud are still also lacking the right visibility and control to ensure software performs well.

Mr. Brar breaks down first what is needed for achieving visibility:

  • Network- and application-aware path-selection capability
  • Dynamic tunneling capability with a central control plane
  • Interface with a cloud-based security provider
  • Inbound QoS
  • Unified management plane

By implementing the above you can better understand what users are experiencing problems, where the problem is happening and what is the root cause.

Control is also important in app-performance. IT must not only be able to diagnose the problem but also lead the way to fix it. Mr. Brar provides some insight on how to approach control.   First don’t keep the problem in-house.  Not only should you communicate what is happening to your critical service providers, the business and other executives but you can work together to develop a solution to fix.  Become aware of where problems are happening.  Mr. Brar writes, “follow the traffic.”  Finally, Mr. Brar recommends that you also move to becoming predictive.  What trends are you seeing? Is there a way to foresee problems or determine trigger points?

Poor app performance doesn’t just affect employees and productivity but it also impacts customers and clients and ultimately the bottom line. Closing the “application-performance gap” is an opportunity for IT to take the lead to improve overall organizational performance.

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.