It may not be long till hybrid cloud deployment goes mainstream. According to IDC, 90 percent of the global 1000 organizations would have adopted multi and hybrid cloud technologies and tools by 2024 to flexibly support varying business use cases.
Although hybrid cloud promises to deliver on-demand availability, agility and scalability to enterprises, it needs to have four key characteristics in order to deliver its full value.
Firstly, it needs to be integrated. Since hybrid cloud consists of on-premise, private cloud or public cloud, these multiple environments should be integrated to allow apps and data to be ported across platforms to enable IT agility and accelerate innovation.
Secondly, hybrid cloud requires robust connectivity and efficient networks. The future enterprise environments will not only span across cloud platforms, but also geographies if they have branch offices and use data center overseas. By having a network that provides direct, reliable and secure connection across hybrid cloud and countries, enterprises can ensure that all their apps and systems can interact with each other in an agile and responsive manner to deliver optimal business value and customer experience without downtime.
Thirdly, it needs to offer a ‘single pane of glass’ management capability to centralize and simplify IT management. To avoid the creation of an uncoordinated cloud patchwork, enterprises should ensure that their hybrid cloud aggregates all workloads and management consoles into a single platform. This enables enterprises to gain more visibility into their IT operations to ease monitoring, easily configure networks to ensure the uptime and scalability of their infrastructure, and apply policies consistently across their hybrid cloud.
Faced with a rapidly changing business environment, organizations need to shorten the innovation cycle to keep up with those changing demands. Hybrid cloud should therefore offer self-service and automation tools that enable developers to quickly provision workloads to help accelerate app development.
Finally, the hybrid cloud needs to be secure. Cloud sprawl may create security blind spots and introduce vulnerabilities. This calls for enterprises to have visibility of their entire IT infrastructure and be able to rapidly identify misconfigurations and malicious use from inside and outside of their organizations.
Recognizing the complexities of adopting a hybrid cloud platform, 21 percent of enterprises in Asia Pacific are willing to outsource the management of multi-cloud infrastructure, according to 451 Research. By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of trusted managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud specialists, enterprises will be able to:
Cytobank – a provider of software-as-a-service solutions for biopharma – is one organization that has reaped the benefits of hybrid cloud by leveraging an MSP. Since CenturyLink’s Cloud Application Manager (CAM) offers API integration and orchestration with AWS, Puppet, and their decision-making engine, Cytobank no longer needs to manually write scripts to manage configurations for each customer, demo and QA site environment. Moreover, CAM helps to automatically shut down unused QA environments, which led to monthly savings of at least US$10,000 while increasing efficiency by 35%.
In another case, a San Francisco-based gaming company gained the ability to provide a self-service catalog to its developers after deploying CAM. Developers can now set up custom environments for test, staging and production in five to eight minutes, which is 30 times faster than before. Since CAM provides policy-based control, it assures the operations team that the critical parts of the IT infrastructure are in control even as game developers continue to self-service their environment.
Managing hybrid cloud will become more complex in future as enterprises continue adding new tools to their IT infrastructure to improve their operations and sharpen their competitive edge. This calls for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools.
With AI, enterprises can automate manual, time-consuming processes to free up time for its human workers to take on higher value tasks. For instance, AI can be used to automate remediation actions or monitor threats and app performance on an on-going basis. It can also be used to filter out false positives and automate actions for known events and identifiable patterns for more concise alert management.
Besides that, AI can be used to provide insights and context, such as providing visibility into what resources are being used in the cloud and issue instant alerts to provisioners to shut down unused machines. Those insights can also be used to enrich threat intelligence to enhance cloud security.