Planning For Hybrid Cloud Management
Even with all the hype that cloud computing is bringing to the field like Software/Platform/Infrastructure-as-a-service and the cost savings that they bring, the hybrid cloud approach is still gaining traction. This approach combines the effective use of both private and public cloud environments. But in truth, building a bridge between the two that would effectively show the strengths of both applications will be very challenging.
Analysts are predicting that private cloud implementations will increase in the year 2012 and because of that, the hybrid cloud approach will also grow in popularity. Organizations that are planning to use the hybrid approach will have to increase their efforts in planning and managing this infrastructure as it will really not be a walk in the park. The normal approach that organizations take when implementing the hybrid cloud is to offload a bunch of processes into the public cloud yet maintain applications that need more security in the private cloud environment.
People assume that it is easy to deploy and manage a hybrid cloud, but when they start to mix vendors and different technologies and services, the complexity is considerably increased and the amount of attention you need to put into the planning also rises with it. Here are some tips on how to plan for such a complex undertaking.
- Determine and understand your current IT architecture and application needs. Determine which applications and processes go on the public cloud and which are retained in the private cloud basing on scalability, demand, availability, performance and most of all security and privacy requirements.
- Be realistic and accept that integration will pose a challenge. There are multiple cloud infrastructures with each having its own API, combine that with a long and growing list of private cloud offerings and you get an unhealthy mix of complexity soup. You need a portability layer to help in the interoperability of the different solutions, so you need to keep an eye on everything or risk getting yourself into a corner by moving something that should not have been moved.
- Take into consideration management tools. One of the most important pieces in this hybrid cloud architecture is having a management platform that is able to manage the whole environment which considers resource provisioning, scalability, and performance. The problem is that all these different cloud solutions have their own management tools, while private clouds have their own in-house management consoles also. What you really need is a management interface that can pull all the different resources into a single instance tool. Rightscale just happens to offer a product that can provide autoscaling, automation, and monitoring capabilities that can span different public and private cloud offerings.
- Build up organizational skills.While most organizations have experts in virtualization, servers, backups and applications, very few have skills that span across the board. Hybrid cloud needs skills that cut across these sets so there will have to be retraining and management of these skills, and we will have to change how we have been doing things for the last 25 years.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).