By Mohamad Khalid, Enterprise Cloud Architect, NetApp
There is a significant amount of industry buzz around cloud. According to analysts, 2014 will be the year when a majority of enterprises begin to transform their IT operations from a “build-operate” model to a “broker-provider” of IT services. This approach is referred to as “hybrid cloud.” In this way enterprises can manage the cloud lifecycle using internal and external cloud resources, delivering a self-service IT user experience while meeting the needs of the business.
Hybrid cloud combines both private and public clouds. Private clouds are either built in-house or hosted and managed externally. Public clouds are hosted by service providers such as Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. We can assume that most IT organizations will apply this model.
Hybrid cloud brings a wealth of benefits to the enterprise. For one, it enables businesses to maintain a centralized approach to IT governance, while experimenting with cloud computing. To achieve this, IT organizations must adapt their operation’s processes to the hybrid cloud paradigm.
Deciding which cloud model to use depends on various factors such as workload type, application pattern, user cost, event-based composition (expected capacity or availability), or dynamic composition where the application workload could leverage both private and public clouds (bursting to the cloud for needed resources).
Considering all of these factors is great. However, a number of questions remain: “Who makes the decision when it comes to sourcing cloud services?” “Who manages the cloud?” “Who operates the cloud environment?”
This is where hybrid cloud comes in. In one scenario, IT could aggregate all clouds, provide a catalogue of services to users, and manage the entire cloud lifecycle. In another, IT could help source, integrate, and audit the services. An example of this is Software as a Service (SaaS).
Implementing hybrid cloud requires a lot of effort across organizations. NetApp has identified eight major factors that come into play:
Culture. Evolve the corporate culture toward a cloud model. Key to accomplishing this is in getting buy-in from major stakeholders such as IT and business leaders who can influence and drive change, which will fuel the need to build core talent around cloud architecture, design, and operations.
As you implement these factors, continually review where you are in terms of maturity: Are you in an elementary state, a more managed state, or are you realizing a fully optimized state? Checking your progress periodically will bring your IT organization closer to achieving a hybrid cloud model.
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