Modifying IT Processes for the AWS Hybrid Cloud

By Colby Dyess | February 04, 2014

An AWS hybrid cloud is an increasingly useful setup for IT departments, providing enhanced security, flexibility and cost-effectiveness compared to strictly private and public models. Moving to a hybrid cloud, however, requires reconsideration of IT processes and infrastructure to get the best return on investment.

Setting up Business and IT Operations for the Hybrid Cloud

According to Microsoft, most deployments are still in the private cloud, but momentum is shifting to the public cloud. Companies are easing up on concerns about security, although this newfound affinity for remotely hosted resources doesn't mean that private environments are being left behind. Instead, hybrid clouds are taking root, becoming integral to workflows such as disaster recovery, capacity bursting and dev/test. With software such as Eucalyptus, operators can seamlessly move workloads between their own environments and Amazon Web Services. Moreover, they can continue to use AWS tools and management services if they're migrating from purely public infrastructure.

"[Hybrid cloud models] include familiar models in which applications and operations span public and private environments, such as cloud-based backup, DR, and cloud bursting," wrote NetApp executive Adam Fore in a piece for Data Center Knowledge. "They also include new hybrid data-center architectures that connect public compute with private storage. The latter allows businesses to reap the cost benefits, elasticity, and responsiveness of the public compute cloud while maintaining control of their data and continuing to use the same data management services and tools they use internally."

Fore highlighted the importance of assessing which applications can be kept on-premises and which need to be moved to the public cloud. Using hybrid infrastructure also necessitates a change in developer strategy, since it provides new resources and may enable the formation of DevOps processes, under which programming and operations are brought closer together. Increased automation through tools such as Chef make it easier to deploy software on schedule, but it also requires cross-department coordination to ensure that infrastructure is well-maintained.

Eucalyptus and the Hybrid Cloud

At a top level, the hybrid cloud appeals to organizations because it allays security concerns while still providing more options. In a piece for Business 2 Community, Moazzam Adnan looked at government agencies and contractors as a proxy for how hybrid clouds are gaining traction.

"Hybrid clouds combine components that are fully within a company's network and subject to internal security procedures with public cloud components that bring all of the scaling, automation, and cost benefits that are the core justification for cloud deployments," explained Adnan.

More specifically, Eucalyptus lets developers go on using the same AWS platforms and tools that they're used to. At the same time, they can move workloads between AWS and the Eucalyptus private cloud, maintaining maximum flexibility and ensuring that data is safe and compliant. The hybrid arrangement means that development and testing costs are lower than a purely public setup, since variable expenses are eliminated in favor of a fixed pricing model. With decreased cloud spend, organizations can devote more resources toward dev/test and realize the potential of cloud deployments.

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