Hybrid cloud has gone mainstream, with enterprise IT embracing the increasing heterogeneity of the sector. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, cloud adoption has grown by 83% in seven years, with 88% of UK enterprises now currently using the cloud and 58% of those businesses taking a hybrid approach.

The need for hybrid cloud solutions has grown rather organically in the last decade. It was first popularised by the mobile gaming company Zynga back in 2011. The company was releasing so many new games at this point and it had no way of knowing which of its games would take off. So, Zynga decided to launch all new games in the public cloud (in this case Amazon Web Services – AWS), which had a greater capacity for growth, before moving them to a private cloud after they were aware how well the games were going to perform.

For most businesses, quick and easy public cloud utilisation has been a necessity for years as they have had to juggle and find space for various diverse and increasingly complicated SaaS, IaaS and PaaS solutions. Cloud migration has been streamlined in recent years and is more agile than ever, particularly with major cloud providers such as AWS (which claimed 64% of the public cloud market in 2018) and Azure, Google and IBM.

Spinning up on-premise servers can take weeks, whereas it takes mere minutes to spin up potentially thousands of public cloud servers offering services that range from data storage and analytics to artificial intelligence. In some cases, however (particularly when dealing with personal data), a public cloud might not be an option. So, a private cloud will be used to store sensitive customer data whilst the public cloud is used to run front-end applications and manage seasonal demand.

This leads to most businesses dealing with a combination of public and private cloud vendors, with different applications being run across multiple public and private cloud platforms. Of course, it’s unlikely you’ll be operating from a cloud-only approach either, with 54% of UK enterprise work still on-premise, so most businesses will be managing a range of applications and assets across their entire IT infrastructure.

Cloud Management

Keeping all of these platforms online and adjusting to your changing business needs can be incredibly stressful, which is why strong management is key. A hybrid cloud management solution exists to integrate the infrastructure, applications and services from different cloud service providers into a centralised platform and a single UI. From here, administrators can view, control and orchestrate all assets from all public and private clouds as well as on-premise resources.

With hybrid cloud very much the new norm, what benefits could a hybrid cloud management (HCM) solution bring to your organisation? And what tools and strategies could it offer to help increase businesses efficiency?

The Benefits and the Strategies

Simple Governance – Through a HCM platform, the administrator is able to provision or decommission instances, assign application loads, and view performance characteristics all from a single point of control. This simplifies the adoption and enforcement of all policies and procedures.

Security and Flexibility – When it comes to IT infrastructure, there is seldom a one-size-fits-all solution. Network security is always going to be slightly compromised in a public cloud environment, but a private cloud system allows a high level of data security for storing sensitive personal data. However, businesses can also rely on both cloud platforms to run their front-end applications. A hybrid cloud solution allows administrators the flexibility to portion assets between public and private clouds. A HCM solution, meanwhile, allows them the freedom to manage multiple clouds, synthesize and migrate date from one UI.

Analytics – A HCM solution will offer a keen birds-eye view of your entire cloud-based operation so you can quickly and conveniently locate operational bottlenecks, assets that are not being properly utilised and resources that are not being distributed effectively. It also allows for more vigilant problem shooting, as it’s easier to spot and mitigate potential system outages. This is particularly useful for regulated sectors such as Finance and Healthcare, which need to meet the requirements associated with government legislation.

Colocation – There’s a misconception that colocation and the cloud are mutually exclusive, but the two can comfortably be deployed together as part of a hybrid model. For example, a business could choose to use a colocation facility to house their more critical systems and then use the cloud for system testing or development. Colocation also offers greater connectivity opportunities – creating new revenue streams, offering Remote Hands support and reduced risk. Telehouse is a London Docklands-based colocation provider that can offer direct, secure and real-time access to Cloud Service Providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure Office 365. It also offers the ability to provision multiple private cloud services via Telehouse Cloud Link. This multi-cloud exchange can be managed via one UI in collaboration with your HCM.

Conservation – Managing various cloud services, servers and applications over numerous platforms can be rather time-consuming and can lead to significant cloud wastage. Indeed, in 2018 Rightscale – a company that specialises in cloud management software – calculated that $10 billion was wasted across the cloud in the US alone and the latest predictions from Gartner estimate that $14.1 billion will be wasted in 2019. With a HCM system in place, it’s far easier for administrators to keep on top of how cloud space is being utilised, leading to less wastage.

Streamlined Budgeting – A HCM platform allows for greater visibility when it comes to budgeting your cloud resources, with functionality that also allows you to add limits for certain projects.

Cloud Computing Trends for 2019

  • Research from Ovum points towards hybrid multi-cloud architectures replacing “one cloud fits all” approaches in 2019, with 80% of mission-critical workloads and sensitive data still being run on-premises due to regulatory and performance requirements. By using a combination of architectures, the hybrid multi-cloud seems the ideal solution for those businesses who want to utilise the convenience of the cloud without sacrificing security and computing power.
  • With more IT organisations adoption a multi-cloud approach, a cultural shift will be required in the way they work. Teams will need to be equipped with new skillsets and new job titles such as “cloud architect” and “cloud automation engineer” will become increasingly commonplace.
  • Siloed IT processes are a thing of the past and many businesses are already managing a number of different cloud vendors. This introduces new potential security risks into to equation and to overcome these risks, businesses look set to invest more heavily in security in 2019 and integrate it even earlier into the development stage.
  • 2018 saw the arrival of the “service mesh” with the release of AWS App Mesh and Google’s open source Istio. This technology connects, discovers, monitors and authenticates communications between micro-services running across environments and is expected to gain popularity with more businesses looking for ways to manage complexity and unify traffic flow management, access policy enforcement and telemetry data aggregation across micro-services into a shared management console.
  • Back in November 2018, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels focused heavily on serverless computing, describing it as the “next generation,” whist Danish web company Trustpilot announced they had gone completely serverless. Indeed, a Cloud Foundry Foundation survey found that across the EU, 17% of business said they are already using serverless, with 31% evaluating the technology. Expect server less to become a term used heavily throughout 2019.

The Challenges

Of course, HCM is still a fledgeling product and adoption will always mean accepting a few growing pains. Firstly, there’s a distinct lack of standardisation amongst existing HCM vendors, meaning that the disjointed functions and features offered might not necessarily satisfy all of your needs. HCM adoption also requires integration with numerous tools and infrastructure and whilst all of these disparate pieces are being forced together, you might experience some disruption.

The Bottom Line

However, these challenges are not insurmountable. The future of HCM is strong indeed and will hopefully help businesses across the board realise the true potential of multi-cloud and Hybrid Cloud solutions. So, if your business has recently migrated to a hybrid cloud solution, HCM implementation may well be next on your agenda.

To inquire about how Telehouse can help you colocate your Hybrid ICT environment, assist with your hybrid managed services and more, contact our team today.