Achieving a Hybrid Cloud Balance for Business- Critical Workloads

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1 I D C T E C H N O L O G Y S P O T L I G H T Achieving a Hybrid Cloud Balance for Business- Critical Workloads July 2014 Adapted from Worldwide Enterprise Communications and Datacenter Networks 2014 Top 10 Predictions by Brad Casemore, Leslie Rosenberg, et al., IDC # Sponsored by Cisco Systems A growing number of enterprises are adopting both private and public cloud computing models. While virtualization, cloud, mobility, data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are providing tremendous opportunities for businesses, they are also creating new challenges for IT departments. Certain workloads are better suited to the private cloud, whereas other, often newer applications can benefit from deployment in the public cloud. This means that for enterprises, a comprehensive approach to hybrid cloud is both desirable and practical. The challenge is finding an architectural model that can accommodate multiple business objectives, various workloads, and workload mobility using an open approach to hypervisors and cloud platforms. This Technology Spotlight discusses these trends and the role that Cisco Intercloud Fabric plays in addressing the challenges they are posing. Introduction Recent IDC research has found that a growing number of enterprises are adopting both private and public cloud computing models. Their primary motivations for embracing public cloud are not the same as the primary drivers for adopting private cloud. These enterprises, which span a broad range of vertical markets, understand that each cloud variant offers its own unique set of benefits. Enterprises that favor one cloud approach over the other have good reasons for doing so, just as enterprises that embrace both have a thorough appreciation of how each serves distinct objectives and confers different value propositions. While enterprise business objectives namely, what business value the enterprise wishes to derive from the cloud obviously represent a critical factor in how the cloud is leveraged, workloads also figure heavily into deliberations. The types and volumes of workloads have evolved and expanded with each successive era of computing. The centralized mainframe era was succeeded by the client/server era, and now we have entered a new period in which workloads are characterized by virtualization, cloud, mobility, data analytics (big data), and social media with the IoT also entering the picture, bringing with it a further profusion of device-based traffic and the need for extensive data analytics. For enterprise IT departments, however, the need persists to support both legacy and new application workloads. In fact, the diversity and growth of workloads present both opportunities and challenges for businesses seeking to capitalize on the perceived and real value of private cloud and public cloud. For a number of reasons, certain application workloads are better suited to the capabilities of the private cloud, whereas others are more amenable to running in public clouds. Fixed (steady-state) applications, for example, often have compliance or control requirements that cannot be accommodated by public clouds. What's more, even if those control and security issues can be addressed, making the business case for running steady-state applications in the public cloud can be IDC 1726

2 difficult. Conversely, elastic (or variable) application workloads are well suited to the "cloud bursting" capabilities that public cloud provides. It's also worth noting that many legacy applications, built for a client/server delivery model, cannot easily be transferred to public cloud environments, and frequently there is no inclination to move them. Trends in Cloud Adoption In a recent survey of business and IT leaders who indicated that their organizations were using cloud computing or would be using cloud computing within the next 12 months, IDC asked respondents to cite the most important drivers for moving to private cloud and public cloud, respectively. As noted previously, the motivations for adopting each cloud model differed in certain key respects while showing commonality in others. Major common drivers for moving to public cloud and private cloud were improving IT staff productivity, reducing the total size of the IT budget, and improving resource utilization. Beyond those shared drivers, respondents generally were inclined to move to private cloud to adopt an opex model (and to gain capex savings in the process), to standardize on application and infrastructure platforms, and to achieve fast, more agile internal IT service delivery. As for the public cloud, beyond the common drivers, respondents were motivated by a desire to gain access to new features and functionality faster, to similarly implement new revenue-generating services faster, and to provide greater autonomy to business units in externally sourcing IT solutions that could help them achieve business objectives. In this context, we can see that the public cloud translates into an externally oriented form of IT business agility designed to achieve a fast time to revenue (or time to results) and to confer a measure of IT autonomy to line-of-business teams. Figure 1 Reasons for Moving to Cloud Most important drivers for moving to private cloud Most important drivers for moving to public cloud Simplify and standardize IT infrastructure and application platforms Get access to the newest functionality faster 41% Improve IT staf f productivity and/or reduce IT staff head count Increase revenues by enabling us to build new revenue-generating products and services faster Reduce the total size of IT budget Improve resource utilization Restructure IT financial footprint/shift capital-intensive to operating expense model Reduce the total size of IT budget Improve resource utilization Give business units more direct control over sourcing their own IT solutions 39% Improve our internal service delivery levels and business agility Improve IT staf f productivity and/or reduce IT staff head count 39% 0% 20% 0% 20% n = 1,109 business and IT decision makers currently using cloud or planning to use cloud within 12 months Source: IDC's CloudTrack Survey, IDC

3 The Benefits of a Multicloud Adoption Strategy In reviewing the survey data, one can see that IT leaders are drawn to the public cloud's capacity to allow their businesses to quickly and cost effectively adopt new functionality and to introduce new revenue-generating services. They also look favorably on the direct control that public cloud affords business units seeking to implement IT solutions. For the most part, the overriding theme is the liberating speed and efficiency that public cloud offers in relation to newer workloads. That said, those public cloud benefits cannot be achieved merely by spinning up a virtual machine (VM) externally at a cloud service provider. As we will see, a number of salient issues need to be addressed in a complete hybrid cloud context. When we examine respondents' reasons for adopting private cloud, though, a different picture emerges. Here the focus is on simplifying and standardizing infrastructure and application platforms, improved IT productivity, and shifting from a capex model to an opex model. Essentially, respondents are seeking to move to an IT-as-a-service model. At least in relation to workloads, the word "new" is conspicuous by its absence. Enterprises not only adduce different reasons for adoption of private cloud and public cloud, respectively, but also see different workloads as best suited to each environment. Just as different workloads are more suited for either private cloud or public cloud, there are different business motivations for enterprises to adopt private cloud or public cloud as a platform for application service delivery. Still, enterprises are seeing value in both the private cloud and the public cloud, with different workloads and business objectives served by each. Enterprises frequently choose private cloud for its adherence to legacy workload compatibility, but they also see it as an "onramp" to hybrid or public cloud, a foundation for as-a-service IT that can accommodate well-established applications and infrastructure as well as help them leverage public cloud services where desired. The private cloud and the public cloud are not mutually exclusive. In fact, enterprises want to leverage both for the different value propositions that each confers. The challenge is finding the right approach and technologies to serve as the fulcrum for support of hybrid cloud objectives. Along the way, enterprises must address and successfully resolve a number of critical issues, including hybrid cloud control, data sovereignty, cloud management (and the resources allocated to it), cloud interoperability, security, and cloud workload portability, between private clouds and public clouds and between public cloud providers and platforms. Considering Cisco's Approach to Meeting Hybrid Cloud Requirements At the core of Cisco's approach to meeting the needs of enterprises adopting cloud is an understanding that hybrid cloud is a meaningful reality for most enterprises. As a result, Cisco has advanced the concept of the Intercloud, a "cloud of clouds" predicated on the supposition that a single cloud does not possess infinite physical resources or a ubiquitous geographic footprint. Cisco also contends that one variant of cloud, regardless of whether it is a private cloud or a public cloud, is unsuited to all the workload requirements attributable to most enterprises. Cisco perceives a number of hybrid cloud challenges, which comprise security issues (unsecured connections and limited protection for workloads), infrastructure silos (with inconsistent architectures and different management tools), and slow and complex processes relating to applications and infrastructure and visibility into both. To address these challenges, Cisco Intercloud Fabric seeks hybrid cloud value and differentiation on a number of fronts. Prominent among them is a focus on unified workload management spanning the hybrid cloud, as well as on seamless workload mobility across private and public clouds. These objectives are pursued through Cisco Intercloud Fabric, which Cisco says is constructed on the principles of openness and choice IDC 3

4 In that context, Cisco points to Intercloud Fabric's vision to support key popular hypervisor and cloud orchestration platforms (VMware, Microsoft, KVM/OpenStack, Xen/CloudStack), and Cisco also cites Intercloud Fabric's ability to accommodate heterogeneous infrastructure on the cloud provider side (compute, storage, and network). Cisco also touts the end-to-end security capabilities that extend from the private cloud all the way into the public cloud and hence protect workloads spanning the hybrid cloud, independent of the provider cloud platform. Cisco's support for multiple hypervisors and cloud platforms is a critical requirement for enterprise customers. IDC's recent research confirms that a multi-hypervisor world has become a reality for an increasing number of enterprises worldwide, with motivating factors including a desire to reduce licensing costs and eliminate dependence on a single hypervisor vendor. Similarly, a recent IDC survey found that multiple cloud infrastructure platforms are receiving investments or consideration for private cloud deployments, with Microsoft's Cloud OS/Hyper-V cited by 70% of respondents, VMware's vcloud cited by more than 45%, and OpenStack and CloudStack each referenced by more than 30%. The Intercloud Fabric solution comprises two editions: Intercloud Fabric for Business, which resides in an enterprise datacenter private cloud, and Intercloud Fabric for Providers, which resides in the datacenters of cloud providers. Cisco also leverages the public APIs provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure to ensure that these public cloud services are also supported. Not surprisingly, Cisco has developed an ecosystem to support Intercloud Fabric, including a number of partners offering Cisco Powered cloud services and technology partners. As a result of Intercloud Fabric's features and partner ecosystem, Cisco claims that the platform can support a number of use cases. These include development and test applications across private and public clouds; rapid access to hybrid cloud capacity for capacity augmentation (which entails cloud bursting with no manual changes needed to applications); security or network management, as a way for IT admins to regain control of "shadow IT" that exists in today's environments; and secure disaster recovery. Cisco adds that Intercloud Fabric supports these use cases while also providing an open choice of infrastructure to leverage across private and public clouds, security features that protect business assets while adhering to application-related compliance requirements, and consistent operations and workload portability spanning hybrid cloud environments. Challenges Among the opportunities is a vast multibillion-dollar addressable market that is just now beginning to ramp aggressively. Cisco, as a networking behemoth that is transforming into a market-leading purveyor of comprehensive IT infrastructure and solutions, is well placed to benefit from the rise of hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud represents a potentially large incremental revenue stream for Cisco, and it is complementary to other major Cisco strategic initiatives in areas such as datacenter infrastructure and the IoT. The challenges, however, are directly proportional to the opportunity Cisco seeks to address with Intercloud Fabric. Cisco will face stiff competition on multiple fronts from other major IT vendors, from purveyors of virtualization and cloud platforms, and from traditional datacenter networking and datacenter infrastructure adversaries, which will be keen to establish partnerships with other Cisco competitors providing complementary facets of an overall hybrid cloud solution IDC

5 Conclusion Enterprise IT serves business requirements by supporting and delivering the applications and services that are critical to business success. Meanwhile, application workloads evolve, powered by technological innovation. Today, we see that virtualization, cloud, mobility, data analytics, and the IoT are providing tremendous opportunities for businesses across a wide range of vertical industries. Along with this business opportunity, however, come new challenges for IT departments. While enterprises see value in both the private cloud and the public cloud, they understand that the benefits each provides are qualitatively different. At the same time, they realize that certain workloads are better suited to the private cloud, whereas other, often newer applications can benefit from deployment in the public cloud. As such, enterprises recognize that a comprehensive approach to hybrid cloud is both desirable and practical, taking into account all business objectives and application workloads. The challenge arises in finding a hybrid cloud platform or architectural model that can accommodate multiple business objectives, various workloads, heterogeneous infrastructure, and workload mobility all of which, especially the latter requirement, necessitate an open approach to hypervisors and cloud platforms. Cisco has advanced Intercloud as a "cloud of clouds" that addresses the challenges and requirements posed by hybrid cloud. Toward that end, with Intercloud Fabric, Cisco has developed a multifaceted product architecture and an ecosystem of technology and service provider partners that are positioned to help enterprises realize the full business promise of uncompromised hybrid cloud. To the extent that Cisco can address the challenges described in this paper, IDC believes that Intercloud Fabric is well positioned for success. A B O U T T H I S P U B L I C A T I ON This publication was produced by IDC Custom Solutions. The opinion, analysis, and research results presented herein are drawn from more detailed research and analysis independently conducted and published by IDC, unless specific vendor sponsorship is noted. IDC Custom Solutions makes IDC content available in a wide range of formats for distribution by various companies. A license to distribute IDC content does not imply endorsement of or opinion about the licensee. C O P Y R I G H T A N D R E S T R I C T I O N S Any IDC information or reference to IDC that is to be used in advertising, press releases, or promotional materials requires prior written approval from IDC. For permission requests, contact the IDC Custom Solutions information line at or Translation and/or localization of this document require an additional license from IDC. For more information on IDC, visit For more information on IDC Custom Solutions, visit Global Headquarters: 5 Speen Street Framingham, MA USA P F IDC 5

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