Now that we all have our heads firmly in the cloud, it’s important to understand where this platform is going. The evolution of cloud computing has taken the data center and all of the required supporting technologies to a new level. Whether organizations are creating advanced disaster recovery solutions or are bringing their cloud to the edge with fog computing – more businesses are finding direct use-cases behind this model.
When it comes to a high-level understanding of the cloud platform, there are generally 4 models to know:
- Private. This is where an organization elects to host their equipment and present a cloud model which is managed and controlled by the internal IT team. Resources, physical and virtual, all belong to the organization.
- Public. Here, and organization may choose to work with an outside cloud provider for their hosting needs. Applications, servers and workloads are all provisioned from resources owned by the third party provider. This is a good example of a pay-as-you-grow model.
- Community or cooperative clouds. Instead of just provisioning space in a public cloud, organizations can test and work on a cloud platform which is secure, “dedicated” and even compliant with certain regulations. A great example would be the need for a provider to host a specific application on a set of cloud-based servers. Instead of giving each organization their own server in the cloud for this app, the hosting company allows multiple customers connect into their environment and logically segment their sessions.
- Hybrid. These cloud models are being adopted by numerous organizations looking to leverage the direct benefits of both a private and public cloud environment. In a hybrid cloud, companies can still leverage third party cloud providers in either a full or partial manner. This increases the flexibility of computing. The hybrid cloud environment is also capable of providing on-demand, externally-provisioned scalability. Augmenting a traditional private cloud with the resources of a public cloud can be used to manage any unexpected surges in workload. This is where workflow automation can really help out. If an organization has peak usage times, they are able to offload their user base to cloud-based computers which are provisioned only on demand. This means that these resources are only being used as needed. So, for organizations still looking to keep a portion of their cloud environment private, but still use elements of the public cloud offering – moving to a hybrid cloud may be the right solution.
Many organizations now see the direct benefits of working with some type of cloud model. As the dust settles and you create your cloud platform, you may quickly realize that almost all platforms have a piece of their cloud in the hybrid space. You’ll notice that you’re cross-connecting with more resources, more users and a lot more devices all over the world. In many cases, the workloads, data and applications your accessing isn’t even located on a corporate-owned data center. It’s all connected through an ever-expanding hybrid cloud infrastructure.
Unless you’re completely cut off from the Internet, your organization is going to have some type of cloud presence. If you’re presenting applications to users via that cloud, you’re already adopting some type of cloud model. The reality now is that many organizations are utilizing resources both inside and outside of their data center. We’ve always been walking a fine cloud line when it came to defining the exact cloud model that we were using. Now, with so much cross-connection and outside integration, almost all cloud-based organizations look to resources located outside of their infrastructure. This can be a SaaS application, some type of file sharing solution, or even new initiatives around mobility.
So what’s the driving force behind the hybrid cloud boom? What is causing the blurring of the cloud line?
- Software-defined technologies. A big reason for the hybrid cloud evolution has been the software-defined layer. SDN has helped bridge a lot of the cloud computing communication that has to happen on such a large layer. By better integrating complex routing and switching methodologies at the logical layer, software-defined networking allows administrators to create vast hybrid cloud networks capable of advanced inter-connectivity.
- Greater amounts of resources. Cloud computing is where it is today mainly because of the resources that support it. We have more bandwidth, new ways to connect, and greater amounts of infrastructure convergence. As the integration of storage, networking and computing capabilities have increased – so have the delivery methods of cloud computing. Hybrid cloud models are now able to cross-connect with distributed data centers and utilize vast amounts of bandwidth which has now been optimized by virtual WANOP appliances. All of this creates the platform and bridge for the hybrid cloud model to scale and grow.
- Logical and physical integration. There has been a logical and physical revolution. New APIs are forcing IT professionals to rethink how applications and resources integrate together. We are able to eliminate entire layers to allow for greater application and data communication. Take the Seagate Kinetic Open Storage platform, for example. This platform eliminates the storage server tier of traditional data center architectures by enabling applications to speak directly to the storage device, thereby reducing expenses associated with the acquisition, deployment, and support of hyperscale storage and cloud infrastructures.
The way that we consume information and utilize resources has changed. The days of the PC, as we know it, are numbered and we are ushering in an era of mobility. Application-centric workloads are the rulers of the cloud world as users utilize apps and data in harmony. It’s no longer about the desktop and all about data-on-demand. All of this will continue to push cloud and its supporting technologies forward.
Ultimately, there will be one general hybrid cloud model which will support a number of varying systems. For the business, the infrastructure will be simplified and easier to manage. For the user, they will have direct access into their resources, applications and data. For both, there will be direct operational and productivity benefits by utilizing the power of a hybrid cloud model.