What's the way forward for enterprise cloud deployments? It's apparent that many organizations have invested in a private cloud to process workloads such as testing and development, as well as scalable business applications, but going forward it's likely that a sizable chunk of this population will venture into the hybrid cloud waters. By blending the best bits of private and public cloud technology, hybrid infrastructure enables companies to operate securely at great scale and low cost.
Hybrid Cloud is Becoming an Integral Part of the Enterprise IT Conversation
Gartner and 451 Research have both noted the rise of the hybrid cloud among businesses, leading to the now-famous projection that half of enterprises may operate a hybrid cloud platform by 2017. Such a scenario could realistically pan out, given that three-fourths of organizations already plan to roll out a private cloud by the end of this year.
Combining this dedicated infrastructure with Amazon Web Services APIs to create an AWS hybrid cloud will be an ideal way forward for companies seeking to hold onto the control and predictability of private clouds, while gaining the ability to tap into global scalability. According to CohesiveFT blogger Margaret Walker, the private cloud is akin to a "landing zone," wherein organizations can test out different offerings and features before deciding on which public cloud features to integrate.
"Now enterprises [that] try private cloud for existing projects can expand into hybrid cloud environments to do 'pure dev/test' projects," wrote Walker. "The difference enterprise IT teams will see is in the approach to projects - from migrating older data center-focused business operations to flexible private cloud environments toward now experimenting with new operations that take advantage of scalable compute resources and highly available networks in a hybrid cloud."
In other words, the private cloud is the natural next step from a legacy system, but it's often not the end of the road. Sure, some information, particularly in highly regulated industries, will have to remain on-premises, but the public cloud opens up many new possibilities. Plus, it means that even risk-averse IT teams can benefit from not having to rely exclusively on a single service or hardware vendor.
More specifically, with a solution such as Eucalyptus, DevOps-practicing teams get access to all of the best tools from AWS for monitoring and service management and can work with EC2, EBS, S3, IAM, Auto Scaling, Elastic Load Balancing and CloudWatch. They can develop and test applications on their Eucalyptus private cloud and then push the workload unchanged to AWS.
The Future and Challenges of Hybrid Cloud in the Enterprise
The good news for further business cloud adoption is that most of the obstacles are non-technical. Budget constraints, bureaucratic process and resistance to change topped the list of common challenges cited by respondents to the Gartner Data Center Conference Poll from 2012.
Ideally, hybrid cloud technology provides a cost-effective solution once these impediments to adoption are cleared away. Existing hardware can be more fully utilized, plus organizations can avoid vendor lock-in as well as the variable costs of purely public architectures.
However, there's still work to be done in choosing the right solution. The adoption rate of OpenStack in the enterprise illustrates how some open source software solutions have struggled to gain traction, as ITworld's Nancy Gohring pointed out. Users need products that combine sophisticated technical capabilities with a familiar interface that works in tandem with services that developers have already gravitated to, such as AWS. A Eucalyptus cloud fits the bill, making it easy to keep data safe and deliver applications on time and within budget.