Cloud computing isn’t going anywhere. In fact, there are more cloud platforms, services and environments being developed each and every day.
The evolution of the cloud has seen many organizations evolve from private to public and now hybrid cloud platforms. In reality, almost every cloud environment within a pubic cloud has some sort of connection back to the central data center. So, at some level, all public clouds are some percentage hybrid.
Moving forward, the hybrid cloud model will give end-users even more services and benefits. A recent Gartner report found that the use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend. 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud. By the end of 2017, nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments.
But where are organizations really benefiting from a hybrid platform? What are some logical use-cases and what does the future hold?
- Use-Case 1: A healthcare organization needed extra resources in a public cloud to process large amounts of data. This organization did not want to spend the money on internal resources and realized that a pay-as-you-go model was optimal for their environment. So, they turned to their AWS platform for help. In utilizing a key partnership between Citrix and AWS, this healthcare organization was able to directly link their public cloud with their private data center. Now, they’re able to use this cloud platform to migrate applications, workloads and data between AWS and their private data center, which has helped with security, data analytics and even efficiency. Furthermore, this organization can leverage Sharefile as Citrix has signed the Business Associate Agreement (BAA), which allows them to take on additional liability to manage protected healthcare information (PHI). Now, this healthcare organization can utilize ShareFile for data collaboration and still remain HIPAA compliant.
- Use-Case 2: A marketing and multi-media organization needed extra resources for applications running during peak utilization timeframes. This would include shopping seasons, holidays and other peak usage moments. With the help of a private cloud environment hosted on platforms like Eucalyptus, the organization is capable of sending API commands to Amazon for extra burst resources. Furthermore, integration with technologies like RightScale, allow organizations to directly interconnect resources between both public and private cloud platforms. From there, the auto-scaling and cloud-bursting capabilities of the Eucalyptus platform allowed this organization to seamlessly connect to their Amazon cloud resources, and burst extra workloads when peak utilization was hit. Commands sent to the auto-scaler can help administrators better manage resource utilization both within the private and public cloud environment. Even further integration with the vCloud API allows administrators to centrally control VMware vCloud instances located both privately and publicly.
- Use-Case 3: Your organization is bound by compliance, regulations and other factors that have previously prevented you from moving to the cloud. Or, you have data points which are extremely sensitive and must be absolutely controlled. You have a need to distribute data alongside applications to a widely distributed user base. Fortunately, cloud and compliance have come a very long way. Akamai, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, AWS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are all are running government clouds – to be exact, they are FedRAMP Compliant Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). If you examine the Amazon AWS compliance matrix you’ll quickly see that you can now run cloud-based workloads with PCI DSS, ISO, FedRAMP, and even DoD compliance standards.
Cloud Platforms of the Future
There is more competition in the cloud market and many more organizations are finding ways to place their data centers or key services within the cloud. As more companies utilize resources from a distributed cloud data center, there will be even greater need to interconnect private and public infrastructures. Look for platforms like CloudStack, OpenStack and Eucalyptus to play an even greater role in providing powerful cloud platforms for organizations with direct integration with public and private resources.
It is important to understand that there are simply more use-cases for organizations to adopt some kind of cloud model. Whether it’s as simple as offloading an application or as complex as big data management, hybrid systems allow for flexibility for both business and data center. Deploying complexity has been reduced, bandwidth and networking capabilities have improved, and even compliance-driven organizations can now adopt cloud computing.
The above examples are just a small sample – there are new use-cases being created every day. Now, open-source technologies and software-defined systems make it even easier to extend your data center into the cloud.