It seems that no matter how advanced the cloud becomes, the constant challenge is to integrate it with legacy infrastructure.
The hybrid cloud is expected to help in this regard, but the enterprise will first need to build out private cloud capabilities, and that will take some time. At the moment, the vast majority of enterprise data activity still takes place on traditional legacy infrastructure, so many CIOs are desperately working out the kinks in leveraging cloud resources to lighten that load.
According to CDW, migration and integration are two of the top challenges when it comes to increasing the enterprise cloud footprint. This puts IT in a bind because many line-of-business managers are adept at provisioning their own clouds to meet specific goals, but they pay little heed to the needs of an integrated data environment and the benefits of common policy, security and other mechanisms. This is ultimately self-defeating for both IT and business units because it leads to the same kind of silo-based architectures that virtualization and the cloud were supposed to unravel.
A number of toolkits aimed at integrating cloud and legacy environments have hit the channel in recent months, but these are most effective when implemented as part of a cohesive strategy. Jitterbit’s new Harmony Spring platform offers real-time connectivity between Salesforce1 and external systems, as well as process integration and enhanced connectivity for SAP and Microsoft business applications. The goal is to enhance speed, scale and reliability in distributed architectures while providing non-developers the tools to extend the reach of their software platforms across single- and multi-tenant clouds.
Ideally, access to cloud and legacy resources should be seamless to the user, perhaps to the point where they are completely unaware of the underlying infrastructure that is delivering their results. To that end, integration specialist Talend has developed the Talend Integration Cloud, billed as an instant, elastic and secure environment that can easily shift loads to and from on-premises and cloud systems. The platform leverages existing Talend modules, such as Talend Studio and Talend Exchange, to facilitate workflows and develop templates and other tools to enable efficient data sharing between applications and sources. Supported sources include NetSuite, Salesforce, AWS and Google Drive, as well as consumer-leaning services like Box and Dropbox.
As well, Pivotal has a new take on the hybrid cloud by adding virtual appliance support to leading web platforms like AWS, vCloud and OpenStack. The company has also built out its Pivotal Web Services portfolio to enable streamlined portability from the data center to the public clouds, often through single-click integration and managed capacity that enables knowledge workers to manage their own infrastructure needs within centrally defined parameters. In this way, organizations gain the upper hand in deploying and integrating native cloud applications across multiple infrastructures without the cost and complexity of building out their own clouds.
It would be comforting to think of the cloud as a single, interactive data environment where anything and everything is possible. The reality, however, is that the cloud is a miasma of systems, architectures, platforms and resources all clamoring to get a piece of the data load. In that light, the enterprise should work toward fostering the exchange of data across multiple environments rather than building a single-minded cloud environment capable of supporting all manner of services.
An integrated cloud will be more complex, but it should provide greater flexibility when it comes to meeting the needs of a highly diverse workforce.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata, Carpathia and NetMagic.