Management: The Thorn in the Hybrid Cloud

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    For many enterprises, the hybrid cloud seems like the ideal setup: public resources available at scale coupled with private infrastructure for the really important stuff. All the while, data can move back and forth seamlessly in accordance with business requirements.

    If only it were that simple.

    Most enterprises are already having a tough enough time getting their data to flow properly across internal infrastructure, so adding third-party, cloud-facing resources to the mix only compounds the complexity. According to DZone’s Darren Perucci, balancing data loads across hybrid infrastructure is a tricky game: Too much public reliance puts data at risk while too much private drives up costs. Those who can maintain this balance will gain a competitive edge, but a host of factors ranging from wide-area bandwidth to resource management will be in a constant state of flux and will work to undermine that balance on a continual basis.

    This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try, however. Hybrid cloud management is emerging as a key growth area for IT developers and a number of third-party platforms are starting to hit the channel, many of them originating from the cloud and colocation providers that stand to benefit from increased hybrid deployments. Digital Fortress, for example, is out with a hybrid management stack that ties local resources to public clouds like Microsoft Azure and even Amazon Web Services. The package combines 24-hour monitoring and incident resolution with advanced service and infrastructure optimization to guide ongoing data operations and continual expansion of the hybrid infrastructure.

    Hybrid cloud management was also a driving factor behind IBM’s recent purchase of Gravitant, says IT Business Edge’s Mike Vizard. Gravitant accesses the APIs that govern cloud applications using a single management console, giving the enterprise a means to transcend infrastructure when it comes to organizing and optimizing cloud-based functions. The platform will be made available as a local appliance or a SaaS product while at the same time IBM is offering to take over management of heterogeneous cloud environments for its customers.

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    Smaller companies like ElasticBox are ramping up their hybrid cloud management platforms to the point where they can support highly critical applications. ElasticBox 3.5 features the ability to embed entire script sets and application components within a single policy “box,” enabling single-click deployment of multi-tiered applications while retaining the ability to modify tiers and components and redefine target destinations. As well, the release features an interactive modeling topology that provides an interactive visualization pane to modify app connections, view the status of app layers and even edit variables to the app components. The ultimate goal is to reduce deployment and update errors, speed up deployment frequency and enhance availability across hybrid infrastructure.

    The hybrid cloud is quickly becoming a reality across the IT landscape, but seamless interaction between public and private resources is still a work in progress. And with the dynamic nature of the emerging cloud and application environments, it might forever remain one of those things that is nice to dream about but is unobtainable in the real world.

    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 and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.

    Arthur Cole
    Arthur Cole
    With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web content to numerous company web sites in the high-tech and data communications industries.

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