Modern cloud technologies are continuing to evolve. The really cool part here is seeing how all of these next-generation cloud-based solutions impact business operations. The proliferation of IT consumerization, various cloud services and a new type of user have all created new types of demands around data center technologies.
We’re at a point where cloud computing has a firm foothold on the industry and organizations are clearly understanding where they can benefit from this type of technology. Now, one of the most prevalent types of cloud models revolves around a hybrid cloud configuration. Many organizations are now spanning their private cloud architecture to leverage services and resources outside of their data center. In the past, methods of connectivity, application compatibility and the transfer of data were all pretty serious challenges when it came to spanning a cloud platform. Now, with better connectors and a lot more resource power, creating your own hybrid cloud is much more feasible.
The recent Cisco Global Cloud Index report indicates:
- Annual global cloud IP traffic will reach 5.3 zettabytes by the end of 2017. By 2017, global cloud IP traffic will reach 443 exabytes per month (up from 98 exabytes per month in 2012).
- Global cloud IP traffic will increase nearly 4.5-fold over the next 5 years. Overall, cloud IP traffic will grow at a CAGR of 35 percent from 2012 to 2017.
- Global cloud IP traffic will account for more than two-thirds of total data center traffic by 2017.
Those are some pretty staggering numbers considering the dynamic growth around cloud technologies that we’re already seeing. With that in mind – what are some of the latest tools which directly optimize a hybrid cloud deployment? What can organizations – of all sizes – do to optimize their hybrid cloud model? Let’s look at a few ways.
- Incorporate automation. New technologies now allow you to automate how you build, deploy and manage your infrastructure. This can scale from within your data center and all the way out to your cloud. There are a few ways to approach the automation layer. You’ve got infrastructure automation with tools like Chef and Puppet Labs as well as cloud-layer automation with technologies like OpenStack and Eucalyptus. The point is that you begin to create powerful automation scripts and policies to control every aspect of your cloud platform. You’re able to create a proactive environment where workloads are dynamically controlled and resources are optimized. All the while – your administrators can continue to focus on improving your overall platform.
- Open-source vs. proprietary – both can be great. There are new tools which allow you to dynamically control the numerous resources which make up your cloud environment. For example, Apache CloudStack is an open-source cloud computing platform designed for creating, managing, and deploying diverse infrastructure cloud services. What’s great is that you can deploy this type of platform on a variety of hypervisors including KVM, vSphere and others. On the other hand, proprietary technologies allow you to aggregate and control resources from a single management layer as well. VMware vCenter Orchestrator to allows you to adapt and extend service delivery and operational management for your cloud environment. When running a VMware architecture, this is one of the best ways to optimize policies, resource control, and even content delivery.
- Using next-gen load-balancers and WANOP. Your WAN optimization platform doesn’t have to be all physical. If your hybrid cloud is a diverse platform with data centers of various sizes, optimization must span both the logical and physical. Silverpeak’s VX virtual WANOP appliances can power through 256,000 certified connections while allowing for 1Gbps in WAN capacity. Simiarly, the NetScaler VPX virtual load-balancer and application delivery controller can handle up to 3000 Mbps of system throughput. All of these devices are highly agile and virtual. They can be deployed from within a number of network paths and can optimize application delivery, traffic flow, and even security processes.
- Software-defined technologies to the rescue. There are some very real use-cases for software-defined technologies. You can now abstract physical resources at the network, storage, compute and even data center layer. For example, Atlantis USX integrates policy-based controls for all storage resource pointed to the virtual appliance. From there, the platform pools, accelerates and optimizes existing SAN, NAS, RAM and any type of DAS (SSD, Flash, SAS). What’s amazing is that you can incorporate automation policies and allow these optimizations to span into you hybrid cloud architecture. VMware took the software-defined conversation to a new level. Their platform converges compute, storage, network, and management under one control layer. Now, these control mechanisms can span into a VMware Hybrid Cloud architecture.
- Integrate next-generation security. New security solutions are allowing cloud services to be a lot more agile. Now, organizations can incorporate virtual security appliances for even greater control of their data. Palo Alto and their virtual firewall system allows administrators to abstract security services. This creates managed security multi-tenancy and improved scalability. Another great example is deploying application and service-specific policies. If your environment is spanning multiple data centers and cloud instances, it’s important to have a platform that is capable of going from the cloud and back. Using NetScaler as an example again, you have the capability to deploy application firewall capabilities which can actually span a large array of clustered NetScaler appliances. These appliances can be local or at a completely different data center point. The cool part is that their all working in concert around managed security and network policies.
In working with the cloud we’ve begun to see a number of organizations openly adopt a variety of cloud technologies. Whether it’s an app or two sitting in the cloud, or an entire cloud-based desktop delivery architecture, companies are utilizing cloud resources. Moving forward, one of the dominant cloud models will be a hybrid cloud platform. It provides flexibility and the ability to dynamically scale outside of your own data center. In creating your own hybrid cloud, make sure to always IT and business goals. Remember, modern businesses now directly rely on the capabilities of their technology infrastructure.