Real-World Cloud Computing
The Cloud's Next Killer Apps
Hybrid cloud will drive increased app agility, protection and scalability
By: Greg Ness
Mar. 6, 2013 10:00 AM
The public cloud has been promoted as a low cost alternative to physical data center infrastructure, mostly to small and medium-sized businesses. That has driven the creation of a robust category of cloud migration services which has emerged as these smaller businesses have made considerable investments in moving their apps from colocation and data center environments into public clouds.
Enterprises, however, have been notably slower to invest in public cloud and cloud migration, at least in proportion to their overall IT budgets. There are many reasons for the slower enterprise adoption of public loud (IaaS) and they have been discussed extensively. I think what is missing is a more robust discussion of the next killer apps for the cloud; the enterprise game changers.
I think the new cloud killer apps for enterprises will leverage cloud-integrated data centers (or true hybrid cloud adoption), and will strategically transform IT operating models. Those killer apps will include cloud-enabled agility, protection and scalability.
Ø Cloud-Integrated Agility (Strategic Agility)
VMware in recent years has perhaps had as much impact on the evolution of IT as IBM when it introduced mainframe timesharing. Yet the hybrid cloud model it delivers today is really the equivalent of a two car garage (with perhaps a Tesla and a Mercedes) rather than a single unified environment (true hybrid) environment. With recent acquisitions, VMware is no doubt on the way to delivering a true hybrid architecture.
Recent comments, however, seem to indicate that VMware is still thinking the private cloud is a hybrid cloud; for example, see this blog by Forrester's James Staten: VMware and the innovators dilemma.
Private cloud, however, is tactical agility. Cloud-integrated agility is the ability to run apps and services seamlessly across data centers and clouds, with enterprise-grade services and controls and without lock-in. It is strategic agility. Think of the cloud-integrated data center as a natural evolution of the software-defined data center.
Cloud-integrated agility is strategic agility. It enables unprecedented pre-production AND production infrastructure flexibility with enterprise-grade services and controls. The ability to create and tear down apps and services and move them between data centers, pre-production and production environments and multiple cloud providers or zones is a killer app. It offers the ultimate decoupling of the application and services from any specific premise or cloud. It can do for entire clouds and zones what virtualization has done for x86 servers.
Hybrid cloud operating models will enjoy the advantage of strategic agility across pre-production and production environments, a new inflection point for IT and development productivity.
Ø Cloud-Integrated Protection (Continuous Protection)
Unfortunately public cloud providers have not been adept at addressing these needs and the services that would be typically required for ensuring uptime. High profile outages, even with marquee customers, has lowered cloud availability expectations; and the inability for a customer to easily move from one zone to another has resulted in a lack of attractive DR and failover/continuity solutions in public clouds, despite the obvious economy.
Today the public cloud is not an enterprise-grade solution for continuous application protection. It is an isolated environment with limited integration with the data center and other zones/clouds. That "take it or leave it" isolation with resultant lock-in restricts the continuity potential of the public cloud.
The hybrid cloud (or cloud-integrated data center) has inherent strengths which compensate for public cloud weakness, especially in the area of the strategic agility needed to deploy duplicate infrastructures quickly in new clouds or zones and then fail-back when the primary location/site is restored. The hybrid cloud is a superior architecture, which enables new levels of agility which enable new levels of application protection and scale.
The hybrid cloud offers "pay as you need" continuous protection -which is far more efficient than maintaining duplicate fixed infrastructures- with the services and controls of the data center. That combination is a far superior option for business continuity and disaster recovery (compared to today's public clouds and redundant physical infrastructures).
Ø Cloud-Integrated Scalability (Continuous Scalability)
Critical Hybrid Cloud Requirements
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