Why the ‘cloud’? What is a hybrid cloud? Ask Synergy Software Systems, Dubai

September 19th, 2016 by Stephen Jones Leave a reply »

Buy or rent?. On premise or SaaS.? The answer to the questions, for enterprise computing, goes in cycles. When mainframe computing was at its peak, many organizations did not own such expensive machines outright and many companies rented processing time on these machines when needed, an arrangement known as time-sharing.
Moore’s law changed that. The era of mini — and then micro — computing made processing power so cheap that many organizations chose to own. As enterprise computing infrastructures became more complex, and the cost and difficulty of finding expert IT staff increases, so renting or subscription as it now called, has come back into vogue once more, in the form of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud computing

The terms “cloud” and “data center” may sound like interchangeable technical jargon or trendy buzz words. A data centre is ideal for those companies that need a customized, dedicated system that gives them full control over their data and equipment. Typically those with many integrations, and uncertain internet connections, and an internal IT team will consider this route. Since only the one company will be using the infrastructure’s power, a data centre is suitable for organizations that run many different types of applications and complex workloads.

A data centre, however, has limited capacity — once you build a data centre, you will not be able to instantly change the amount of storage, or processing power to accommodate for example significant changes in workload and data processing. On the other hand, a cloud system is scalable to your business needs. It has potentially unlimited capacity, based on your vendor’s offerings and service plans. When you are looking at big data processing for predictive analytics, of have high day end or seasonal workloads, then the ability to ramp up and down is important to avoid oversizing. For project based companies both the number of user licences required, and the processing power may vary from year to year. For a rapidly expanding company hardware and server room expansion and management is a challenge on premise.

In a recent IDC (International Data Corporation) Multi-Client Study, CloudView 2016) respondents to the survey said that they expect to increase their cloud spending by approximately 44% over the next two years, and 70% of heavy cloud users are thinking in terms of a “hybrid” cloud strategy.

The idea of a hybrid cloud is to get the best of on-premise deployment by leveraging cloud services. Some work is done on premise, some on the cloud e.g. BI or payment gateway. A combination of both public and private platforms, a hybrid cloud is meant to provide organizations with greater IT and infrastructure flexibility, as well as visibility and control over their cloud usage. The result should be that a, hybrid cloud enables business agility, including streamlined operations and improved cost management.

Sounds good but what does it all mean and what are the challenges? First let’s review some of the basics concepts.

Public Cloud
A public cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are provided off-site, over the Internet. Data centre hardware is not owned by clients and so you face no capital expenses. Instead, providers sell hosting as a ‘utility’ or rental service. Providers offer maintenance, disaster recovery and backup, however basic this may be. This is typically a multi-tenant software solution. Individual company data sits in separate blocks in a common clustered hardware. Data for individual organisations is kept separate and protected with robust security. Breaches of data with a reliable provider are rare. However, some security standards are not suitable for very sensitive data, rigorous audit trails or industry-specific compliance.

A Public cloud is y used to host web servers or develop applications. It is attractive to small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) when they are happy to use out-of-the-box menu specifications. Virtual machines are configured quickly – often within hours. Some SaaS (Software as a Service) services are placed within a public cloud when they have high levels of built-in security.

Private Cloud
A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. It operates on an isolated network and is extremely secure. It keeps data behind a firewall and is built either on-premise or in a ring-fenced section of a data centre. A Private cloud is a single tenant solution, with the hardware accessed by one, or multiple businesses. It’s an ideal solution for enterprise organisations or specialist firms with high levels of security and compliance. Clients generally maintain their own cloud system and own their hardware.

Security and compliance on private cloud is configured to meet compliance standards. Private cloud systems cost much more than public cloud and re-configuring is more complex and lengthy.

Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud uses public and private cloud for different elements of computing. Only some elements will require high security and customisation but others will not. Hybrid cloud offers private cloud for sensitive data but keeps non-sensitive, generic data (e.g. customer literature) in a cheaper public cloud environment. Hybrid cloud is usually hosted by different cloud providers – one for public and one for private. Hybrid cloud benefits companies who experience seasonal spikes so extra computing power is deployed quickly and cheaply in public cloud while keeping sensitive information in its private cloud.

A Hybrid cloud is the biggest growth area in cloud computing for enterprise businesses. As servers become ‘smarter’, hybrid cloud is estimated to represent 75% of future enterprise cloud computing.

A Hybrid cloud does not mean failover to onsite, for which a failover solution or a clustered install is needed and the failover can be to any other site whether local, remote or on cloud. Nor does hybrid mean offline working on premise option.

IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV) polled more than 1,000 C-level executives to reveal that 78% of respondents deploy a cloud initiative that is fully integrated or coordinated — an increase from 34% in 2012. Enterprises may be embracing the cloud, but they are not yet fully invested in a cloud-only strategy. Across 18 industries, 45% of workloads are expected to remain on-premise in the near future.

A hybrid cloud deployment is a collaboration of public cloud, private cloud and traditional IT platforms that allow enterprises to customize a cloud solution that meets the particular needs of their company. The top motivating factors for adopting hybrid cloud solutions, according to the IBM study, include lowering the total cost of ownership, facilitating innovation, improving efficiency and meeting customer expectations.

Among the companies that embrace cloud computing, 76% responded that they were able to expand into new industries, 71% created new revenue sources and 69% supported new business models.

Security remains a concern, however, and has become a hurdle for companies and a deterrent from fully investing in the cloud. Nearly half of respondents expressed that security and compliance risks are a challenge in IBM’s study, while 41% of respondents expressed that the cost of the cloud was a deterrent and 38% feared a disruption to company operations by introducing a new cloud solution.

When survey respondents are segmented by performance, IBM concludes that twice as many high performers have fully integrated their cloud initiatives compared to low performers.

Nati Shalom, recently discussed in his post Achieving Hybrid Cloud Without Compromising On The Least Common Denominator, a survey that demonstrates that enterprises these days are often leveraging as many as six clouds simultaneously, and the list just keeps on growing with new technologies sprouting up by the minute. IT markets are not just moving to the cloud — they are moving to ‘clouds’,” said Ed Anderson, research vice president and Sid Nag, research director at Gartner in their report: “Market Trends: Cloud Adoption Trends Favor Public Cloud With a Hybrid Twist,” published August 4, 2016. “Evidence is mounting that as organizations mature in their usage of cloud services they are opting to use multiple cloud services, bound together through hybrid implementations.”

That’s why solutions like the Azure Stack, that are also geared towards multi-cloud scenerios in the context of app migration to the cloud from traditional data centers, especially while taking all of the enterprise-grade considerations involved in such a transition into account, are critical.

Many solutions don’t provide the extensibility and interoperability that enterprises need for future-proofing, application deployment portability among other popular use cases across clouds. Hybrid cloud itself has also has proven that it isn’t immune to future proofing with disruptive technologies arising every day

Azure users now have a set of building blocks for managing the entire application stack and its lifecycle, across clouds, stacks and technologies. And with Microsoft now having the most open source developers on GitHub, yup – ahead of Facebook, Angular, and even Docker – Azure is uniquely positioned to achieve this level of openness and interoperability.
This will also ultimately provide a higher degree of flexibility that allows users to define their own level of abstraction per use case or application. In this manner, cloud portability is achievable without the need to change the underlying code, enabling true hybrid cloud.

Fifty-five percent of CIOs surveyed by Gartner indicated that by 2020 they will structure more than half of their applications as SaaS or manage them in a public cloud infrastructure. To manage and govern public, private and hybrid cloud services requires a focus on cloud management. This, in turn, requires new roles, processes and technologies.

Key Employee roles for the Hybrid cloud
Database professionals to filter out business critical data from the data overload we have today. A Big Data Foundationprofessional will be familiar with – Hadoop and MongoDB.
Software developers no longer just push code, they are pivotal to the user experience and thus the user adoption of cloud solutions.
Information security managers must appreciate the risks involved with business data and discuss this across the organization (at all levels) to align key stakeholders in positions to invest in and implement security measures.
Enterprise architects. Today solution architects, need the skills to adapt to cloud computing and hybrid cloud environments. Companies want to avoid working with ad hoc systems implementations, and architects who understand cloud computing and all its service models are in high demand. to design a scalable and sustainable cloud infrastructure which optimizes the use of private and public cloud.
Business managers working in the cloud need to understand how the technical infrastructure supports the business strategy get the benefits of cloud computing to drive their objectives.

Microsoft’s Hybrid cloud blog: https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/hybridcloudbp/2016/09/

If you are considering how the cloud can benefit your business then contact us to explore the many options.

Find out out about the new integrated Dynamics 365 offerings. e.g.
Ask about specific vertical solutions like Synergy MMS for hotel facility management, or 7 Medical HIS and imaging solutions
Host your applications in a secure managed cloud – with both fixed price or based on use billing.
Monitor your on site global networks with cloud based monitoring systems.
Use Cortana Analytics and Power BI to turn data into information.
Back up to the cloud.
Skype Business
and much, much more.

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