20:20 Vision of Hybrid Cloud

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20:20 Vision of Hybrid Cloud

Written by Oreta's Head of Delivery, Andrew Jones.

Recently, as Head of Delivery at Oreta I was asked to write a piece on hybrid cloud. Initially, I thought this would be very straightforward; however, as I reflected on the number of cloud engagement projects I’ve worked on, I realised it is not that simple; that the definition of hybrid cloud varies tremendously. It means different things to different people.

From the beginning

If we go back to the origin of the hybrid cloud, it was a term used to define an organisation’s separate footprint in an on-premise/data centre and a public cloud. Today, with the development of software-defined networks and security, our architecture has matured, and we can now span the two seamlessly.

Initially, organisations avoided using the public cloud to store their enterprise data. However, many were comfortable with using it to run their digital campaigns, in turn reducing the workload off their internal IT environment and moderating the network load by redirecting external audiences to the public internet.

Data centres, such as Equinix, realised the trend in the cloud and set the foundations for an aggregation point for network carriers and cloud service providers. By providing high-speed and secure interconnections to the cloud, the data centres enable customers to move specific segments of their infrastructure to the edge in Equinix and access the public cloud via a cloud exchange. Services, such as Backup and Disaster recovery, are now also available to support organisations move to the cloud while they retain the enterprise services on-premise.  

In 2016, the notion of data gravity was becoming increasingly concerning – how do you keep control of your customer data and corporate IP when there are risks associated with data leakage (mind you, this is an issue no matter where you store your data if security hasn’t been a primary focus from the beginning)? Oreta was working in partnership with Equinix and NetApp on hybrid cloud and the data fabric to retain security and governance on the data and run the web and application tiers in cloud for scalability. Organisations became more at ease with operating hybrid SaaS services, such as Exchange On-Premise which integrates to Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud.

With the virtualisation of compute network and storage creating a software-defined data centre, 2016 also saw the launch of a partnership between VMware and AWS, which in 2018 evolved into a hybrid offering from VMware Cloud Foundation and AWS Outposts.

Customers began extending their on-premise data centre to cloud at the network, hypervisor and container layers, with VMware, Google Anthos and Azure Stack supporting ubiquitous development environments and microservices; encompassing a level of full security and operational management across the on-prem and cloud environments.

Hybrid Cloud Drivers

These days many organisations incorporate moving to public cloud in their IT strategy. It is becoming more of a question as to ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ organisations will move to public cloud. A recent survey published by AWS stated that 76% of applications are still on-premise, and 71% of organisations are running some form of hybrid cloud. So, what are the factors motivating organisations to adopt a hybrid cloud?  

  1. Businesses need to innovate continuously to maintain their competitive edge, which requires agile and elastic infrastructure. Public cloud provides access to resources sooner.
  2. Data analytics is becoming a significant determinant in how businesses operate. Public cloud provides cost-effective tools for AML, Analytics and Big data, which can be used on-demand.
  3. Marketing campaigns need to scale quickly to cloud for public-facing services while keeping confidential data secure on-premise, e.g. credit card personal details. Public cloud can enable this to happen seamlessly.
  4. Public cloud can manage fluctuating seasonal spikes or unexpected spikes in demand without the capacity CAPEX and timeline problems, e.g. For the retail industry – Boxing Day sales.
  5. Geographical reach can be leveraged with public cloud DC locations for services to the edge, reducing the need for businesses to maintain infrastructure for each of their remote offices.
  6. When businesses embark on their journey to cloud, they adopt DevOps and modernisation or transform their current applications, which requires spanning their legacy world and creating new cloud-native platforms. Hybrid cloud can accelerate this process.
  7. Public cloud provides businesses with the capability to deploy once in an agile manner, following a standard set of APIs to manage and operate.
  8. Businesses are required to follow certain corporate directives to maintain specific data on-premise for governance and compliance. The Australian government is gradually adopting cloud with Microsoft recently certifying their platforms to top security. As a result, businesses will be able to choose more public cloud services; however, they still have many legacy-developed applications that are not optimised or suited to run in a public cloud.

In 2019, IDC reported that organisations stipulated that cloud-native and governance as their highest priorities, with the second being operational simplicity to support the speed of DevOps.

20:20 Vision of Hybrid Cloud

With 20:20 vision, what does a hybrid cloud look like today?

  1. A Single Pane of Glass; providing a consistent operational model across environments – including management, monitoring and security tools that are common and automated across environments.
  2. Heterogeneous environments are extending the Kubernetes management platform from Cloud back to on-premise to support containers and server-less functions, e.g.  Google Anthos or Azure Stack.
  3. Standard hypervisors across platforms to retain existing investment in skills and technologies across environments, e.g. VMware, leveraging HCI and Cloud Foundation to AWS.
  4. Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) to reduce the on-premise footprint and move it to the Edge in Equinix, thus removing the latency concerns to Public cloud.
  5. HCI edge devices located on remote sites to improve latency while centrally managing through one standard interface.
  6. Partnerships between cloud and on-premise vendors will add value to the customer, including integrated API’s, a single bill and reduced egress costs, e.g. AWS and VMWare.

This leads me to Oreta and our vision for hybrid cloud. Oreta has partnered with Equinix, Cisco, Google, VMWare, AWS and Azure to provide a hybrid cloud offering that enables customers to decommission their legacy platforms and move to a more cloud-centric model when and where appropriate.

For more information on how Oreta is shifting businesses to public cloud, please call us on 13000 ORETA.

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