Robert Jenkins is the CEO of CloudSigma.
Ford’s recent “And is Better” ad campaign ponders how much worse things in life would be if people were forced to choose between two features when clearly the better option would be to have both (i.e. sweet or sour chicken or black or white photography). It’s a humorous ad with a message that applies perfectly to the cloud. Why settle for private or public alone, when you can have the best of both worlds thanks to private patching-enabled hybrid solutions? In 2014, choices will no longer be limited to one or the other, showing that and is truly better.
2014 will be the year of the hybrid cloud solution. As these hybrid solutions gain momentum, they will fuel more widespread public cloud adoption in enterprise circles than we have ever seen before. When you think about it, this has actually been years in the making. We’ve just now reached that tipping point where hybrid solutions will be able to deliver the best of what cloud has to offer, while chipping away at the things that have prevented many enterprises around the world from fully embracing it.
The next 12 months will lay the foundation for the cloud’s sustained growth. In fact, IDC predicts a 25-percent surge in cloud spending among enterprises in 2014, including software, services and cloud infrastructure. And, critical to that future will be private patching technology. Private patching will allow enterprises that deal in highly sensitive information, such as those in the finance and healthcare sectors, to connect their private cloud infrastructures directly with the VLANS of their public clouds.
To understand why hybrid solutions and private patching technology will be so important to the success of the public cloud over the next year, we first have to look at the longstanding roadblocks that have been in place.
Public Cloud Security – The first and most obvious challenge for public cloud has been security — specifically, data leaks and digital assaults by cyber criminals. These are two problems that organizations handling sensitive data don’t want to struggle with, and sending that data out across public IP certainly runs that risk. In fact, according to the InformationWeek 2013 Cloud Security and Risk Survey, of the respondents with no plans to use public cloud services, 58 percent cite security as the reason. Even among those respondents already using or considering using the cloud, security is still the number one concern for 52 percent. So, as an alternative, many often opt for private clouds instead.
However, by directly connecting private and public cloud infrastructures, enterprises can avoid those risks and, thanks to private patching technology, maintain more granular control over their own security measures. Now, their cloud environments will be as secure as companies choose to make them, rather than having to work within the limitations of traditional public cloud offerings.
Changing the Economics of Cloud – Hybrid cloud computing is about rationalizing the purchasing and planning of both private and public infrastructure. Currently when companies consider purchasing public cloud resources, they often don’t simultaneously reconsider their existing and planned private infrastructure purchasing plans. Hybrid cloud brings those two worlds together and asks the question, how can we release value by coordinating the two strategies? Implemented correctly, a harmonization of private purchasing and location plans with public cloud procurement can unleash significant hidden value. Firstly, public IP costs can be reduced through a direct hybrid connection as well as through network-as-a-service offerings being rolled out by public cloud operators, changing per line costs into per GB usage charges. Secondly, consolidated hosting arrangements can also bring down the cost, not only of infrastructure through sensible public cloud usage, but also through cross subsidization of private environments cohosted with public cloud providers. Data center providers are also getting in on the action, assisting in this coordination by offering low cost access to ecosystems of providers such as Equinix’s Platform Equinix product.
Disaster Recovery – An extension of the data security issue is disaster recovery. Whether it stems from a manmade source like cybercrime or a natural disaster like a hurricane, the loss or corruption of data can have dire consequences in any industry. Private patching allows for an entirely new level of data portability than previously possible, greatly simplifying the disaster recovery process and saving organizations untold amounts time and money. The disruptions caused by system outages and unexpected downtime cannot be completely wiped out, but private patching technology can certainly make sure that the effects of such disruptions are kept to a bare minimum by making data easily recoverable.
Deployment Restrictions – This brings us to the day-to-day functionality of private patching-enabled hybrid solutions. What people want most out of public cloud environments is accessibility, scalability and functionality. What they don’t want are operating system (OS) and application restrictions that limit what they can do in the cloud and how they can do it. The hybrid and public cloud solutions that free enterprises to do as they wish, rather than handcuff them to ways of doing things that they are neither comfortable nor familiar with, will help drive the widespread public cloud adoption that is to come in 2014.
What’s more, because these arbitrary OS and application restrictions can soon be relegated to nothing more than a footnote in cloud history, enterprises will be able to exactly mirror their on-premises and private cloud environments in the public cloud with greater data portability thanks to private patching. This eliminates the need to have two dedicated teams tasked with managing different cloud environments that use different configurations, reducing the overall cost of ownership for the enterprise and making public cloud environments that much more appealing.
All of this adds up to more options for enterprises, more control over their public cloud environments, fewer restrictions, better security and lower overall costs. Essentially, the cloud in 2014 will be all of the strengths hampered by none of the weaknesses.
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