Cloud computing can take many forms and will likely tap into numerous systems and environments at the typical data center. However, if one trend is becoming clear, it's that most organizations will deploy some form of hybrid cloud over the next several years.
This makes sense considering the hybrid model splits the difference between the benefits and liabilities of public and private clouds. On the one hand, you gain the tremendous level of scalability that public services offer, and yet you can maintain a high degree of control over what leaves the confines of your own infrastructure and what doesn't.
It seems that deployment of hybrid clouds, at least for specialized functions like backup and recovery, is getting easier. Companies like Asigra are touting hybrid cloud appliances that offer quick and easy setup for smaller firms that lack the resources to man a broader infrastructure. In Asigra's case, the company utilizes Intel's Hybrid Cloud platform and storage technology along with its own agentless architecture capable of providing WAN optimization, continuous data protection and FIPS 140-2 data integrity.
Still, some questions remain as to how simple it actually is to integrate turnkey cloud platforms into existing data infrastructure. As Gale Technologies' Garima Thockchom points out in a piece written for CIO.com, it's important not to overlook some basic requirements for hybrid clouds. These include reliable automation so that both the provisioning and decommissioning of services is handled in a timely and efficient manner. You'll also need to make sure the cloud platform has the appropriate adapters to seamlessly tie into legacy management systems, and use the correct templates so that compute, network and storage configurations are maintained. Anything less, and your turnkey solution could turn into a massive headache.
This is one of the main reasons why top platform providers have been on a tear to acquire management integration technology, according to internet evolution's Mary Jander. Going way back to 2007 when SAP acquired Business Objects, followed by Oracle's purchase of BEA and IBM's recent takeover of Cast Iron Systems, the need to optimize not just provisioning but capacity planning, service levels, security and a range of other functions across disparate architectures has been a running theme.
Even internal developments are trending toward servicing hybrid environments. Witness the raft of new tools from VMware, says eWeek's Chris Preimesberger. From the new vCloud Connector and Global Connect system to the vFabric Data Director database-as-a-service, the goal is to put enterprises on the road to the cloud as quickly and easily as possible.
If the prognosticators are right, the hybrid cloud will become the standard-issue data center infrastructure within a relatively short time. That means enterprises of all stripes are under the gun to gain a working knowledge of all the technologies involved as quickly as possible.
That won't be an easy thing to do in today's rapidly changing environment, but it is IT's leading strategic imperative as the decade unfolds.