Where next for hybrid clouds?

There are many challenges around adoption of a hybrid cloud and those will continue to change as new technologies emerge. Making the right choice requires getting the basics right.

Much has been written about the business feasibility of adopting a hybrid cloud approach. For many companies, the idea of using the public cloud to supplement on premise or hosted systems is a given.

However, one of the issues that we are starting to hear about from customers pursuing this kind of strategy is the problem of finding a single provider that can facilitate both public and private cloud services. Hybrid Cloud as a service is becoming the key enabler for broader cloud adoption.

The challenge for providers

For a service provider, amalgamating privately hosted solutions and public cloud services at a single site means deploying cutting edge data centre architecture. Data centre fabric, right from OTN layer across access, edge and core routers to aggregation switches, must facilitate overlay networking and abstract network orchestration.

Traditionally diverse geographies have been interconnected with Layer 3 solutions. However, demand for Layer 2 inter-DC and intra-DC switching domains to facilitate agility and support varied infrastructure is growing. Key architectural principles must be open, modular and extensible yet secure.

Interconnected clouds for customer advantage

The network that brings together private and public cloud should also bring benefits of interconnection. Businesses should choose a network that connects many data centres around the world and locally, including important points of presence such as Amazon Web Services and other public and private cloud players.

One emerging consideration for organisations, networks and host providers is the global consolidation of data centres.

It’s increasingly difficult for enterprises to host their own data centre facilities in their own building. Aside from the cost of real estate, governments around the world are looking at ways of improving the energy efficiency of prime properties. Locally, such strategies include NABERS, the National Australian Built Environment Rating System, under which high energy tenants will find themselves at a disadvantage with lower evaluations and higher operating costs.

To avoid incurring unwanted costs, organisations are turning to co-location services, placing their own equipment in host data centres that are part of the interconnected ecosystem.

What’s next and what to choose?

With more of the enterprise infrastructure moving off-site, organisations have become increasingly comfortable with the concept of on-demand compute and storage resources.  Everything is a commodity, available as a service, paid for by the hour of use. This trend is now extending to the network layer.

With network as a service, you can now run a fully automated and self-provisioned software-defined network (SDN) that provides a scalable, flexible service platform. It means you can scale your network services just like you can your cloud computing services, and only pay for what you need at that point in time.

There are many challenges around adoption of a hybrid cloud and those challenges will continue to change as new technologies emerge. So how does a company select what is right for them?

I don’t believe any one cloud provider has the complete answer. Enterprises typically operate a very application-centric environment. Sometimes, hosting those applications demands a certain level of subject matter expertise and in those circumstances, the enterprise is best to choose a provider who can meet those needs.

But underneath it all, there’s a common need. Every enterprise requires a connectivity provider that can deliver the plumbing between all the cloud players while keeping the data centres at the heart of the action.

Karun Tank is the Director of Solution Engineering Australia at Pacnet.