Whitepaper: The Hybrid Cloud: A PRAGMATIC VIEW OF ARCHITECTURES

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1 Whitepaper: The Hybrid Cloud: A PRAGMATIC VIEW OF ARCHITECTURES

2 Table of Contents INTRODUCTION: PRAGMATISM RULES 3 TRADITIONAL APPROACHES TO CLOUD COMPUTING 4 WHY NOT GO WITH 100-PERCENT CLOUD ARCHITECTURES? 5 WHY NOT GO WITH 100-PERCENT PHYSICAL ARCHITECTURES? 6 INEVITABLY, HYBRID 7 CONCLUSION 8

3 Introduction: PRAGMATISM RULES Is the future of computing in the cloud? Increasingly, it appears headed in that direction and for good reason. Cloud computing presents numerous cost, agility, and operational advantages that are undeniably compelling. In fact, in a vast majority of enterprise data centers, cloud-like architectures are quickly taking root. Companies are virtualizing their resources and partitioning some of their applications within their four walls. However, risk-averse enterprise IT professionals are understandably cautious about simply moving their entire IT portfolio of resources and services into a 100-percent cloud architecture. As with most technology-adoption curves, enterprises have not embraced an all-or-nothing paradigm, instead preferring a pragmatic, evolution, not revolution approach of cautious incrementalism. This helps them account for their existing investments, custom work, business requirements, and risk posture. Not everything will move to the cloud at least not in the foreseeable future. That s why so many IT professionals advocate a so-called hybrid approach. But what do we mean by hybrid and how do we optimally balance the various components of a hybrid cloud architecture? 3

4 Traditional Approaches to Cloud Computing Of course, the term cloud has been bandied about too casually, leading to an abundance of definitions and confusion about what constitutes cloud computing. First and foremost, we speak of infrastructure-level resources: computing, memory, storage, and network bandwidth. Most observers generally agree that there are four basic approaches or categories: ON-PREMISE CORPORATE CLOUD (AKA THE PRIVATE CLOUD ): In this scenario, the corporate IT department has many traditional applications provisioned in the usual manner: one application for a given server or set of servers. However, they ve begun to virtualize those resources (still within their four walls). This gives them some of the advantages of sharing fairly fluid resources. a third-party hosting provider, which manages the equipment and applies optimized virtualization techniques. This is a single-tenant model. VIRTUAL PRIVATE CLOUD: In this model, the third-party hosting provider might provide some efficient multi-tenancy of the infrastructure while still preserving some resource isolation to ensure appropriate levels of cloud service. PUBLIC CLOUD: Here, the enterprise simply taps into a wide open public set of resources such as cloud services from Amazon. In this approach, there are limited SLAs regarding tenancy, isolation, or performance. For many enterprises, the strategic decisions to provision applications and services is rarely an all-or-nothing proposition. For some applications, it makes sense to remain in an on-premise corporate cloud or not move into the cloud at all, depending on the level of investment and customization already in place. However, for other applications, IT teams are eager to take advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing. HOSTED PRIVATE CLOUD: Here, the enterprise IT department opts to physically store its servers and other equipment with It s that middle ground between 100- percent physical infrastructure and 100 percent virtual private cloud where the hybrid cloud lives. Many forward-thinking enterprises are looking for evolutionary strategies that enable them to sensibly transition to cloud computing in a planned, orderly fashion. The hybrid model supports that transition by combining the best of both worlds: traditional hosted infrastructure and 100-percent pure cloud. 4

5 Why Not Go with 100-Percent Cloud Architectures? With so many advantages, cloud-only might seem like the best way to go - at first. But cloud computing still has its drawbacks and pitfalls. LICENSING: Many commercial applications are not licensed to support cloud architectures. Attempts to virtualize certain applications can run into costprohibitive licensing restrictions when you contemplate loading different instances of the application on multiple servers. A PROVEN TRACK RECORD: Although early use of cloud computing architectures has largely been quite positive, many cautious IT executives remain hesitant. The traditional physical corporate data center has proven its value and doesn t present potential problems and unwelcome surprises. Quite simply, many organizations know and trust their physical data centers and dedicated hosting providers because they are believed to provide greater predictability and accountability. EXISTING INVESTMENTS: In virtually every instance, corporate IT has made countless long-term, strategic investments in its hardware and software infrastructure investments that it cannot walk away from. For instance, if the company has just completed a server hardware refresh with an estimated 24-month cycle, the write-off might be far too costly to justify moving those systems to a cloud-based deployment. Gradually, as those investments come off the books and are amortized, the company enjoys a greater latitude in its cloud-deployment decisions and strategies. PERFORMANCE: For mission-critical applications requiring uncompromising performance, physical data centers and non-virtualized infrastructures may offer the better alternative in some instances. SECURITY AND COMPLIANCE: Similarly, enterprises have an abundance of caution concerning the security of their systems and infrastructure. Fortunately, cloud computing typically offers world-class levels of security levels that many enterprises might not be able to achieve on their own. However, industry and government regulatory frameworks are still evolving in this area and, unlike physical data center/hosted providers, the standards for security are still evolving. 5

6 Why Not Go with 100-Percent Physical Architectures? Physically hosted infrastructures that are closely managed by the enterprise have been the dominant paradigm for decades, of course. It s a well-understood, highly refined model for delivering compute resources to the enterprise. So should enterprises remain firmly devoted to this traditional framework? In most instances, that is unlikely to be the optimal choice because such a strategy foregoes the many benefits that cloud computing and virtualization can offer. SPEED AND AGILITY: Cloud computing provides on-demand compute resources on a near-immediate basis. There s no need to procure and deploy new infrastructure components (tasks that can sometimes take weeks or months). Instead, one simply contacts the cloudservices provider and requests a provisioning of services that can be performed in minutes. When an urgent new application must be deployed or expanded, cloud computing creates the agility businesses need. CONSUMPTION-BASED BILLING: Cloud computing does not require capital investments or long-term contracts. Instead, services are provided on a monthly basis as a regular operating expense akin to a utility service. Companies have no long-term contracts or commitments, affording even greater latitude to adjust IT investments quickly. WORLD-CLASS MANAGEMENT: Virtually all cloud-services providers operate worldclass data centers and infrastructures that embody best practices for security, redundancy, maintenance, performance, and more. 7

7 Inevitably, Hybrid Although many of the disadvantages of cloud computing are likely to abate in the not-too-distant future, they still present important and significant obstacles today. Yet cloud-computing s advantages remain too compelling to ignore. Companies ignore such advantages at their peril. A HYBRID-CLOUD STRATEGY BECOMES THE SENSIBLE FOUNDATION OF A PLANNED TRANSITION TO FULL-CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURES. Inevitably, of course, IT organizations are rejecting the either/or paradigm as a false choice and asking, How can I get the best of both worlds? and devising their own individualized hybrid cloud strategies. Even enterprises that have not outsourced any of their computing resources are likely to have virtualized certain components within their four walls essentially creating their own internal hybrid cloud. The broader scale of an intern-enterprise hybrid cloud simply becomes a logical extension of this strategy. The days of the single-app-on-a-single-server with no virtualization will come to a close at some point in the not-too-distant future. As enterprises move toward that day, a hybrid-cloud strategy becomes the sensible foundation of a planned transition to full-cloud infrastructures. 8

8 Conclusion FOR MORE INFORMATION To learn about cloud services from NaviSite, visit: While corporate computing is unquestionably headed into the cloud, IT strategies must nonetheless remain firmly rooted on the ground through pragmatic approaches that combine the best of a variety of cloud strategies: onpremise corporate, hosted private, virtual private, and even public cloud architectures. Since few organizations will immediately move all of their computing needs to the cloud, hybrid architectures will dominate the corporate computing landscape for several years. For IT and business executives alike, these hybrid cloud approaches require careful analysis and management of a variety of factors, including licensing, security, performance, previous IT investments, billing terms, and the cloud vendor s overall performance with respect to infrastructure management and service levels. ABOUT NAVISITE NaviSite, Inc., a Time Warner Cable Company, is a leading international provider of enterprise-class, cloudenabled hosting, managed applications and services. NaviSite provides a full suite of reliable and scalable managed services, including Application Services, industry-leading Enterprise Hosting, and Managed Cloud Services for organizations looking to outsource IT infrastructures and lower their capital and operational costs. Enterprise customers depend on NaviSite for customized solutions, delivered through a global footprint of state-of-the-art data centers. For more information, visit 9

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