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The Future of Hybrid Cloud: Greater Flexibility and Unified Management

If you are skeptical about the hybrid cloud revolution and wondering if it’s here to stay, it’s time to look at new partnerships grabbing news headlines. Dell and EMC’s shareholders recently approved the proposed $67-billion-dollar merger; this is no doubt one example of hybrid cloud moving more and more into the mainstream (Source: ZDNet). It’s clear IT service providers are banking on the growing demand and adoption of these multi-cloud, hybrid environments from mid-size and enterprise organizations.

Flexible options in the future

Industry insiders believe Dell’s merger with EMC is in part setting the stage to help customers bridge the gap between legacy IT infrastructure and the modern cloud infrastructure. The idea is that Dell and other IT providers are looking to give customers greater control and flexibility of their IT infrastructures. In this scenario, customers have the ability to run certain workloads in the cloud− and probably more and more over time- and mission-critical applications will run on traditional in-house systems or on private clouds. The next frontier is in providing ways to transfer data and workloads seamlessly between on-premise, private and public clouds as needed. This is happening through partnerships like EMC and Dell, as well as from services from managed service providers, built-in APIs, and Platform-as-a-Service (iPaaS) platforms.

To this end, Microsoft Azure also recently announced the Azure Logic Apps, Microsoft’s Integration iPaaS platform that will sync these environments more closely (Source: Microsoft blog). They are working to offer a comprehensive hybrid integration platform so customers can connect traditional on-premise systems and cloud applications. Another example is AWS offering an iPaaS platform using TechConnect; they also rely on third parties for enterprise-to-cloud integrations. Select managed service providers can also furnish private cloud infrastructure with direct links to the AWS public cloud.

Benefits of the hybrid cloud

A primary factor driving the adoption of the hybrid cloud is the ability to seamlessly move existing applications between these multi-cloud environments. Top benefits achieved in hybrid computing are increased flexibility to deliver IT resources, improved disaster recovery, and lower IT capital expenses. However, setting up your environment to realize these requires proper planning:

  • Re-architect for the cloud- With a more flexible application architecture, ideally you can redesign the application to use it in the cloud the same way you would run the workload in your own on-premise data center.

  • Map out a unified management plan- As mentioned earlier, vendors are working to offer a single set of management tools for IT groups to be able to effectively set up and use these hybrid architectures. Many providers are blending SaaS and on-premise–based management tools to monitor, configure, provision, and manage cloud infrastructure and applications. According to a report by IDC, by the end of 2017, over 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud architectures (Source: IDC). This encompasses multiple public cloud services, as well as private cloud and/or non-cloud infrastructure resources. With management tools and policies built around data security, performance, and availability, organizations can essentially replicate the network applications for the cloud without requiring many changes. As hybrid cloud adoption increases it will become progressively important for service providers and cloud providers to offer more business-level automation software around these offerings.

In the ever-increasingly complex world of on-premise and cloud infrastructures, users need simplified and cost-effective cloud systems management software to regulate these environments. SaaS-based offerings and API-based integrations that link public cloud management services with on-premise tools, dashboards, and portals, will close the gap for IT managers. With a more flexible environment that enables the seamless transfer of workloads and more automated management tools, organizations can truly optimize the full range of resources and as a result control costs and increase competitiveness.

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