Maximize strategic flexibility by building an open hybrid cloud Gordon Haff

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1 red hat open hybrid cloud Whitepaper Maximize strategic flexibility by building an open hybrid cloud Gordon Haff EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Choosing how to build a cloud is perhaps the biggest strategic decision IT leaders will make this decade. It s a choice that will determine their organizational competitiveness, flexibility, and IT economics for the next ten years. Done right, cloud delivers strategic advantages to the business by redirecting resources from lights-on to innovation. Only an delivers full strategic business value from cloud computing because it is the only approach that: Enables portability of applications and data across clouds Fully leverages existing IT investments and avoids creating new silos Spans physical servers, multiple virtualization platforms, and the broadest choice of public clouds Provides portability of applications and life cycle management of those applications across heterogeneous infrastructures Allows organizations to evolve towards the cloud, delivering incremental IT value along the way Keeps organizations firmly in control of their own technology strategy

2 Introduction When the term cloud computing first appeared on the scene, it described a computing utility. A clear historical analog was electricity: It s generated by large service providers. Delivered over a grid. Paid for when it s consumed and by the amount used. A public cloud built around this utility premise can be compelling, when compared to traditional enterprise IT. The cost per virtual machine can be much lower than deployment and management of actual hardware. Users, such as developers, can use a credit card to get access to IT resources in minutes, rather than waiting months for a new server to be approved, requisitioned, and provisioned. And improvements to cloud technology s efficiency and agility can help bring new applications and business services (and their associated revenue streams) online more quickly. However, most organizations are not ready to move all of their applications onto public cloud providers. Concerns around compliance and governance can be real, especially for mission-critical production applications. And public clouds may not be able to customize and optimize for unique business needs. Because of the limitations of public cloud, there is great interest in building hybrid clouds that span on-premise and off-premise resources to deliver the best of both worlds: public cloud economics and agility, optimized for private enterprise needs such as audit, risk management, and strong policy management. Done right, hybrid clouds deliver strategic advantages to the business by redirecting resources from lights-on to innovation. They enable faster business service development and deployment and help organizations respond more quickly to opportunities and threats. Hybrid clouds reduce risk by allowing ongoing compliance and runtime management. Choosing how to build an is perhaps the biggest strategic decision IT leaders will make this decade. It s a choice that will determine their organizations competitiveness, flexibility, and IT economics for the next ten years. It requires: An architecture that doesn t create new IT silos An approach to openness that goes beyond just open source Application portability and life cycle management across the entire infrastructure Avoiding the silo trap Typical IT operations can be thought of as a series of silos. Some of these silos may be the result of deliberate planning they may meet regulatory requirements that certain internal businesses be completely separated (usually by firewall) from each other. However, these silos more commonly come about through the addition of new technologies, products, and organizations. They re often aligned with applications or groups of applications. Silos create complexity, and one goal of implementing a cloud is reducing this complexity. Not all approaches to cloud do so. How do we proceed in a way that meets requirements, but also avoids creating new silos? The first approach essentially mimics the service provider greenfield methodology. It replaces existing infrastructure with a ground-up, homogeneous, standardized computing foundation a cloud-in-a-box. This can lead to dramatic simplification, when compared to today s typical enterprise IT infrastructure. But it s naive to think that critical core enterprise infrastructure can simply be done away with. It makes a lot of sense to standardize, modernize, and simplify infrastructure where appropriate for example, replacing obsolete proprietary servers with Linux 2

3 on x86. But immediate, complete replacement is seldom a practical option. IT infrastructures typically advance in an evolutionary way rather than through wholesale replacement. Doing so reduces risk and keeps costs down. Cloud computing is no different. 1 Red Hat s Virtualization to Cloud webinar series covers best practices for evolving to a cloud infrastructure. solutions/cloud/resources/ fromvirttocloud/ Suppose we take on just one part of the problem at a time. We could, for example, decide to extend a single, existing virtualization platform with self-service and automation. Alternatively, we could roll in a dedicated, single-purpose cloud appliance designed to tackle a point function, such as a database. Whichever of these two paths we take, the result is the same: An IT infrastructure that has improved functionality, but now includes another silo. We ve taken a small step forward, but without any reduction in complexity instead, we ve increased it. The final approach, and the one that Red Hat recommends, is to bring a broad set of IT assets under an management framework. This is not to say that a hybrid cloud is implemented in one step or that every existing workload needs to be integrated. In most cases, creating a pilot project or proof-of-concept using a subset of applications is the prudent path. Though at first it may seem like you are creating a new silo, the difference is that a proof-of-concept is a first step; a new silo is a dead end. 1 3

4 Taking this approach and supporting these capabilities requires an open hybrid cloud. An puts the user in control, just as Linux puts the user in control of the operating system environment. An lets users control their infrastructure, instead of allowing the vendor to limit the options available. An puts users in control of their technology roadmap and is the only way to deliver the full business value that the cloud promises. Enabling hybrid with openness 2 To be clear, it s very much the user s decision what they choose to run in their cloud, including proprietary software. Such flexibility is part of the point of an open cloud. Rather, this discussion concerns the software and approaches used to build and manage a cloud. Open is a term that gets applied to cloud computing even by the most proprietary of vendors. But not all open is equal and some of it isn t really open at all. Openness doesn t end with the submission of a format to a standards body or with an announcement of partners endorsing a specific technology platform. It s more than that. Open source should be a given across not only some technology or some systems, but all infrastructure choices. 2 A fully open ecosystem imparts the greatest flexibility and agility. Fully open systems reap the most robust benefits. But openness is more than open source. A wide range of attributes push the needle from wholly closed to truly open. Just because a cloud avoids being a walled garden in some respects doesn t mean that it delivers the full business value of an open cloud. Truly open technologies and organizations will have many open qualities, including (but not limited to): Open source. This allows adopters to control their particular implementation without restricting them to the technology and business roadmap of a specific vendor. It puts IT departments in control of their own destiny and provides them with visibility into the development of the technological base of their business. It helps users drive innovation that matters to users of the technology, through collaboration with other communities and companies. 4

5 A viable, independent community. Open source isn t just about the code, or its licenses, or how it can be used and extended. The communities associated with the code and their methods of governance are critical. Realizing the collaborative potential of open source and the innovation it can deliver means having the structures and organization in place to help it all work smoothly. Open standards, protocols, and formats moving toward standardization, and independent of implementation. In the fast-moving world of open source, official standards blessed by official standards bodies are not always immediately possible. But they should at least be unobstructed or in-progress. Approaches to interoperability should not be under the control of individual vendors or tied to specific platforms. Allowing specifications to evolve beyond implementation constraints creates opportunities for communities and organizations to develop variants that meet their individual technical and commercial requirements. Gives you the freedom to use intellectual property. Recent history has repeatedly shown that there are few guarantees when someone else owns the IP you depend on. Even if the use of someone s IP is part of a de facto standard,, that s no guarantee it will remain that way. If there s a change of ownership or financial crisis, the tacit tolerance for re-use may end abruptly. Instead, choose technology that is genuinely free from any required or potentially required licenses or other restrictions. Deployable on the infrastructure of your choice. Hybrid cloud management should provide an additional layer of abstraction above virtualization, physical servers, storage, networking, and public cloud providers. This requires that cloud management be independent from specific virtualization and other infrastructure technologies. This is a fundamental reason that cloud is different from virtualization management and allows hybrid clouds to span physical servers, multiple virtualization platforms, and a wide range of public cloud providers, including top public clouds. Pluggable and extensible with an open API. This lets users add features, providers, and technologies from vendors and other sources. It is critical that the API is not under the control of a specific vendor or tied to a specific implementation. APIs, like licenses, should be open and under the auspices of a third-party organization that allows for contributions and extensions in an open and transparent manner. Otherwise an API that is open today may not remain open tomorrow. Enables portability to other clouds. Investments in open cloud development must be portable to other clouds. Portability takes a variety of forms, including programming languages and frameworks, data, and applications. If you develop an application for one cloud, you shouldn t need to rewrite it in a different language or use different APIs to move it somewhere else. Heterogeneous infrastructure reduces or eliminates the time it takes to test or port applications and tools time that can be spent on innovation instead. The ability to move and manage applications across a heterogeneous infrastructure is so central to the concept of a hybrid cloud, we should consider this last point in more detail. 5

6 Maintaining portability and consistency Write once, deploy anywhere. That s the goal of application developers everywhere. But how do you bring such portability to hybrid clouds when that underlying infrastructure differs markedly between on-premise platforms and public clouds or even between different public cloud providers? In a hybrid cloud environment, Red Hat goes beyond interoperability by providing consistent runtime environments across private and public clouds. With public cloud access to products such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Enterprise Middleware, the exact same certified Red Hat software can run across multiple platforms. This means that developers can write and test software in a public cloud environment and then deploy the application on-premise. A common runtime means common development and production environments; there s no need to recertify an application as it moves between different stages of its life cycle. The Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider (CCP) program provides access to a broad ecosystem of proven, enterprise cloud providers, and allows customers to select from a wide spectrum of business terms, service levels, and global locations. These providers offer enterprise support backed by Red Hat. With select premier providers, customers can transfer their software subscriptions back and forth from on-premise using a feature called Cloud Access. Certain Red Hat products can also be purchased on a consumption (pay-as-you-go) basis, which is a good match for spiky or unpredictable workloads. CCPs also provide timely access to the latest updates and versions of Red Hat products through a Red Hat update infrastructure at the provider. Building hybrid clouds that span heterogeneous on- and off-premise resources requires an open approach. Red Hat takes this approach across its entire cloud portfolio. Providing consistency for applications across hybrid environments requires even more, including consistent environments on which applications can run. But even that s not enough. True cloud interoperability takes business relationships and technology that make the experience of running applications in a hybrid environment consistent. The Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider program offers this and more true interoperability on a standard platform backed by a company with deep expertise in open source and an ecosystem of partners, customers, and communities that foster rapid, open innovation. 6

7 Conclusion Embracing the ensures that organizations can: Port applications and data across clouds Leverage existing IT investments and avoid creating new silos Span physical servers, multiple virtualization platforms, and the broadest choice of public clouds Provide portability of applications and life cycle management of those applications across heterogeneous infrastructures Allow an evolution to the cloud that delivers incremental IT value each step along the way Keep organizations firmly in control of their own technology strategy These benefits come together to deliver the full strategic value promised by cloud computing. An open hybrid cloud isn t a nice-to-have for IT organizations. It s a must-have. To learn more about Red Hat cloud computing solutions, visit our website: Assess your organization s path to an open hybrid cloud at https://www.engage.redhat.com/forms/cloud-readiness-assessment 7

8 red hat open hybrid cloud OPEN CLOUD VS CLOSED CLOUD An open cloud ensures you can select the best technologies and partners for your users, now and in the future, from the broadest pool of innovation. A vendor decides what technologies you can use and how much you must pay for them. An open cloud brings the benefits of cloud across all of your IT resources, not just a subset. An open cloud lets you deploy on your choice of infrastructure physical, multiple virtualization platforms, leading public cloud providers at your own pace. You can only use a subset of your infrastructure even when that subset isn't suited for many of your applications. An open cloud lets you develop applications using the tools of your choice and deploy them on the platform of your choice, now and in the future. Cloud is just a new silo, increasing complexity and limiting any benefits to just a portion of your infrastructure. You re limited in your choice of deployment platform, languages, and frameworks restricting access to innovation and your ability to select the most suitable location to run your applications. ABOUT RED HAT Red Hat was founded in 1993 and is headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Today, with more than 70 offices around the world, Red Hat is the largest publicly traded technology company fully committed to open source. That commitment has paid off over time, for us and our customers, proving the value of open source software and establishing a viable business model built around the open source way. SALES AND INQUIRIES NORTH AMERICA REDHAT1 EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA ASIA PACIFIC LATIN AMERICA # _0313 Copyright 2013 Red Hat, Inc. Red Hat, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the Shadowman logo, and JBoss are trademarks of Red Hat, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Linux is the registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.

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