The Hybrid Cloud: The Best of Both Worlds
Hybrid clouds keep sensitive data and systems private, while exploiting the scalability and cost effectiveness of the public cloud. However, achieving the hybrid cloud vision requires open technologies and standards that break down the barriers between private and public cloud infrastructure, says Kyle MacDonald, VP Cloud at Canonical.
More and more organizations are deploying cloud-based solutions, both to reduce in-house infrastructure and management costs and to gain access to virtual networks, compute resources and storage on demand.
However, while the cloud’s potential to increase IT agility and reduce costs is well known, vertical industry regulations and corporate privacy policies often prevent sensitive data and workloads from being managed in the public cloud. For organizations that want to keep some of its IT behind corporate firewalls, while exploiting the cost and scalability of the public cloud, the hybrid cloud is the way forward.
In hybrid cloud environments, private cloud infrastructure behind the firewall provides control, regulatory compliance, cost management and security. At the same time, public cloud elements offer economic efficiency, burst capacity and disaster recovery. With careful planning and the right tools, it’s possible to scale private cloud infrastructure into public clouds such as Rackspace, Amazon, HP and others.
Hybrid Cloud Challenges
To successfully build and run a hybrid cloud and achieve these benefits, organizations must tame the complexity that traditionally surrounds cloud design and construction.
Bear in mind that clouds combine diverse infrastructure components, from hardware, networks and storage, to operating systems and applications. These are typically developed independently to different cloud standards, with different configurations. In addition, specialized skills are needed to connect them – increasing deployment timelines and costs.
To build a hybrid cloud, all its constituent parts have to be deployed at the same time, in a fully integrated way. They also need to work as dynamic elements of a bigger whole to deliver true computing elasticity on either side of the corporate firewall – as well as automated provisioning and de-provisioning, open APIs and pay-as-you-go metering and billing.
To make hybrid clouds work well, organizations should steer clear of proprietary technologies and their proprietary APIs. As well as limiting integration of private and public cloud infrastructure, proprietary technologies follow the ‘use more, pay more’ financial model, which is never economically viable in a truly elastic computing environment.
Open-Source: Essential for the Hybrid Cloud
What’s needed to build hybrid clouds is technology that is truly open-source, and based on open cloud standards. Only this kind of technology provides the dynamic integration needed between private and public cloud infrastructure, while supporting cost effective scaling of computing resources.
To this end, key open-source initiative OpenStack has been deployed as the foundation for many of the leading public clouds – including Rackspace, Amazon, HP and more. However, by giving organizations the same open-standards-based components, standards and APIs for their private clouds, OpenStack also allows workloads to be migrated quickly and easily from private to public infrastructure, making the vision of the hybrid cloud a reality.
Rapid Service Provisioning and Scaling in the Hybrid Cloud
With OpenStack infrastructure in place, organizations have the standard APIs and management tools they need to seamlessly integrate private and public cloud infrastructure. However, they still need fast, simple ways to provision and scale services and capacity across the hybrid cloud.