First the Private Cloud, Then the Hybrid

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    Back to Basics: Objectives for Successful Cloud Adoption

    For many, the hybrid cloud can’t get here soon enough. A fully integrated, dynamic data environment spanning internal and external infrastructure that can be scaled at will according to data loads and user requirements–what’s not to like?

    But as I’ve mentioned, not all of the promises of the hybrid cloud are quite grounded in reality just yet, particularly the notion that it can act as an extension of current data infrastructure. Little matters like data migration and application portability must still be considered.

    It turns out that an even more fundamental roadblock to the hybrid cloud is the need to first build a private cloud. And on that front, the news is less than stellar. According to Forrester, only about 13 percent of enterprises have actually fielded a true private cloud at this point (registration is required to read the report at this link). Part of this is because the private cloud is still a very loosely defined concept, but it also points to the fact that with legacy infrastructure being the complicated beast that it is, the conversion is not going as smoothly as many cloud supporters had hoped.

    This is already showing up in the bottom lines for some of the leading public cloud services. Equinix recently revealed that while top service providers like Amazon and Salesforce have been offloading both infrastructure and service loads to third parties, the uptake from actual enterprise users has been slow, accounting for only about 9 percent of total revenue. After all, the enterprise can’t expand into hybrid infrastructure until its internal mechanisms are operating in a cloud fashion on their own. The bright side, however, is that small and midsize businesses are ramping up their dependence on public cloud services, which should serve them well as they deploy internal cloud solutions from scratch to meet growing data demands.

    Still, it’s fair to say that hybrid cloud architectures will emerge at some point, if only because it is the logical conclusion to the decade-long conversion from static data architectures to virtual ones. But don’t get the idea that the hybrid will be the shining new data standard that will take over the world, says CloudPro’s Jon Collins. Hybrid infrastructure will be available if and when it is needed, primarily for those unique applications that require the security and accessibility of private resources and the scalability and utility of public ones. Once you look at infrastructure in terms of the services it provides and the needs it fulfills rather than the technology it’s based on, deployment and configuration considerations will drive the enterprise to employ a wide variety of solutions, including public, private, hybrid and even traditional IT infrastructure.

    In this way, hybrid systems will follow a much more natural evolutionary path than previous enterprise technologies. In short, they will be more apt to follow user and applications needs, not lead them. It should be a refreshing change of pace given the vendor-driven, fear/envy pattern that has governed upgrade processes in the past.

    The thing to keep in mind is that while tomorrow’s infrastructure may be more flexible than today’s, it will still require a proactive, hands-on approach to ensure that it not only remains functional and available but fully optimized as well.

    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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