We all feel ourselves getting sucked into the soul of technology at times, the glow of the screen summoning us into the light, accompanied by a siren song of zeros and ones – that, like the ominous notes of Igor Stravinsky in the theme song of Jaws, seem to pull us into a windowless digital abyss in which, rather than our avatars representing us, we represent our avatars. Sure, getting 100% of your life energy vacuumed into the Matrix may seem unsettling, but as it turns out, a recent study suggests that you want to be as close as possible to some parts of your hybrid cloud.
Debutante Ball for the Hybrid Cloud
Apparently the hybrid cloud deserves an introduction, as indicated by the title of an August 18 Forbes piece, “Get Ready for Hybrid Cloud” (as if it hasn’t been a standard IT setup for years). Well, maybe an introduction is in order. The concept is certainly becoming much more prominent this year, with Gartner predicting that almost half of large enterprises will have active hybrid clouds by 2017.
OK… what is it? Richardson Seroter, writing in Forbes, describes a hybrid solution as a composite of two different choices that allow us to experience the positive elements of both (such as hybrid cars, which combine the sustainability of electric power with the convenience of gasoline refueling). In the case of a hybrid cloud, a business is – in most cases – combining the benefits of a private cloud (proximity, control, security) with the benefits of a public cloud (cost-effectiveness, speed, flexibility). A community cloud can also be part of the mix, according to the US government’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Not everyone agrees on the governmental description above, though, reports Seroter. James Staten of Forrester defines a hybrid cloud as a cloud service that is “connected to any other corporate resource.” Staten’s picture is incredibly broad: it seems to suggest that I could claim I am running a hybrid cloud because iCloud is installed on my laptop. However, it is fair to say that even industry experts are still figuring out exactly what a hybrid cloud is. If anything, it involves slicing and dicing the various cloud technologies to meet custom needs of companies, as opposed to full commitment to one data model, infrastructural architecture, and/or location.
Why Did I Bold That Last Part?
Location, location, location: it’s a good reason not to buy swampland from a telemarketer. Heck, if you’re going to live in Florida, why not choose a neighborhood that isn’t overrun by flesh-eating reptiles? You know what, though? Location isn’t just about avoiding alligators. It can also be critical for data, according to a September 2 report by Wikibon CTO David Floyer outlined in Silicon Angle.
Floyer recommends that the location of an application should be determined by the location of data in order for a hybrid cloud to perform as well as it possibly can. Studies by Wikibon have revealed that, despite the chatter that hybrid cloud is more expensive due to its sophistication, the mix-and-match model offers the “highest value” for large enterprises and some midsize organizations. It can be more cost-effective to store huge applications on-site, says Floyer, but the key concern when creating your hybrid cloud is that applications reside physically close to the data they need to access. Location, location, location.
To make his point, Floyer notes that a common method for constructing hybrid clouds has been to maintain mission-critical data on-premise and host applications that sometimes use that data in the cloud. Floyer thinks that approach is unwise: you don’t want applications to have to travel a long way to get the data but to have it directly available – especially for cases in which there is a delay in the transfer of updated data between various locations.
So Where Do You Put Everything?
Rather than letting the nature of apps determine their location, look to the data to determine location, says Floyer. What this means is different for different scenarios. Software as a Service (SaaS) makes sense in some situations, as does a cloud hosted architecture through a provider such as Superb Internet. Floyer also emphasizes that some organizations can benefit from moving mission-critical applications and data to a colocation center, with hyperscale capabilities and immediate access to data streaming through the public Internet.
A major strength of this approach that will not be immediately evident to all readers is the effect on enterprise employees: by carefully constructing a hybrid cloud so that automation is functioning at its highest capacity, you allow those in your IT department to liberate themselves from mundane repetition and turn toward innovation: creating an app that performs all their work for them, so that they can watch reruns of MASH all day, because they love Alan Alda.
By Kent Roberts
Image Credit: Squarespace