Peering into cloud
Cloud computing has, without question, been one of the most important developments in enterprise infrastructure in recent years.
It has changed the face not only of how services can be procured and consumed, but also the very structure of vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.
However, as predictions have been made of more than 80% of enterprise workloads going to the cloud by 2020, there has been some backlash, or rather backwash, as many enterprises who were early migrants to the cloud have now started bringing certain workloads back on-premises, for various reasons. These reasons and their experiences will be examined in a feature in April TechPro.
“What is now being seen is that hybrid is becoming even more sophisticated, with interoperability developing perhaps faster than had been anticipated”
That notwithstanding, cloud is still developing at a furious pace.
We had just come around to the mantra that the future is hybrid, as many organisations found that no one cloud option suited their needs, thus pushing them to adopt various levels of service and integration from a mix of providers.
Some on-premises usage was retained, often for control or regulatory requirements, while other things were set out on public cloud to take advantage of aspects such as availability, scalability and cost.
However, what is now being seen is that hybrid is becoming even more sophisticated, with interoperability developing perhaps faster than had been anticipated.
It has been suggested that 2017 was the year for forward thinking organisations to experiment with this new level of capability to determine how hybrid might work best, but also to take advantage of what is being called multi-cloud. This is essentially where an organisation can place workloads within multiple cloud ecosystems, not relying on any one cloud provider.
This has been made practicable by work among the vendors, some through strategic partnerships, some through adherence to standards, to ensure the various platforms and environments can talk to each other quickly and efficiently to the benefit of users. This is characterised by the likes of the Amazon Web Services partnership with VMware to offer new hybrid cloud extensions. But also, through the development on on-premises solutions that mirror the building blocks and configurations of the public platforms, ensuring that as organisations build their own private cloud infrastructure, there is a common base available. Both Oracle and Microsoft have gone down this route.
While this has allowed the multi-cloud option to develop, orchestration and management become an issue, as a wider array of protocols, standards, environments and applications must now be taken into account for the IS, service and application managers.
It has been argued that even as multi-cloud as a strategy developed to allow organisations to take advantage of specific features or capabilities within ecosystems, that it may soon become a resilience and redundancy play. No major cloud provider, irrespective of scale, has gone without some level of often highly publicised interruption, and one can expect that scenario to continue. But, if organisations have the ability to move easily between clouds, even as they do between stacks of their own infrastructure, then there are advantages to be had.
This could well see hybrid cloud become a mere subset of multi-cloud, especially as vendors vie for customer retention through price wars, feature competition and performance blue ribands.