Hybrid Clouds: The Next Frontier

hybrid-cloud-next-frontierAs the discussion about cloud computing becomes more intense, one question becomes clear: companies do not want to get locked into a single cloud provider. Seek freedom to move between private and public clouds, and switch vendors according to computing needs, whether they are growing or shrinking. Another great desire of the business owners to move applications and workloads according to business requirements.

But users and cloud providers are at different stages in relation to this issue and the integration will likely take to happen, or may never happen.

Standards are emerging now and can take years to be fully developed

In the opinion of Gartner research institute, even on an open cloud computing legislation closes, each provider will continue to implement their own standards to differentiate their offerings and products of the competition. Expert from Gartner team points out that vendors do not want the clouds become commodities only because they do not want to compete based on price.

It is unlikely that the industry reaches a point where there is some format that allows applications to “magically” move to different clouds. In part, this situation is driven by the fact that “there is so much innovation going on right now”.

Hitherto, the lack of standards is not preventing customers migrate to the cloud, although it is perhaps an inhibitor. The company’s strategy has been to demonstrate that the internal migration of applications to public clouds is possible.

For this, the executive set up two scenarios for proof of concept, one for disaster recovery and other technical support. Selected the eNlight Cloud software to migrate applications, because of the safety and ease of use. And the initial tests were successful and managed by internal IT staff.

After doing research for a couple of days, we learned that it takes a little longer than we thought to make the communication between the clouds, mainly because it was migrating physical applications to the cloud and it was necessary to convert them to a virtualized version before moving them to the cloud of destiny.

The feasibility of migrating an application to a cloud destination has to do with the maturity of the application, legacy applications are costly to be virtualized. Virtualization is the first step to move applications to the cloud and this is a point that most experts agree.

Legacy applications do not always work well or consistently when virtualized and this increases the complexity of migration. The strategy chosen was to select the executive non critical applications for day to day as a way to validate the cloud model and also the internal gain.

Defining integration in the cloud and why getting there is difficult

Like the word cloud, integration can have different meanings. You could say, for example, which is the ability to move applications from one environment to another, running the right way at the two sites. Or it may mean applications running in different clouds, but sharing information, which may require a set of interfaces in common.

For still others, cloud interoperability refers to the ability of the client to use the same management tools, server images and software, with a variety of cloud providers.

The essence of the problem, however, is that the environment of each cloud provider supports one or more operating systems and databases. Each cloud contains different features like hypervisors, processes, security, storage, a network model, a cloud API and licensing models. Rarely, if ever, it is possible to have two service providers implement their clouds exactly the same way and with the same characteristics.

As in traditional software and hardware world, interoperability in the cloud will occur first in the lower layers. In the infrastructure layer, there is the Open Virtualization Format (OVF) and the rules for XML, HTML and other protocols. A laborious process.

If you are only moving parts of the application, and then the other, it may be that the company is returning to the cloud of origin and the data interface and then switch Application Programming Interface (API). After that, there will be questions about security, performance and latency. If you are moving heavy applications – like database, middle-tier software, user interface software, and so on – then you will not need to worry about any of these points.

Versions of operating system and hypervisor that do not correspondence, can produce conflicts that are not easy to solve. The application may have been designed to use specific storage technologies to achieve performance targets – storage technologies that target the cloud does not use.

Nearly every cloud has a unique infrastructure for the provision of network services and applications between servers and storage. The differences are sensitive to network addressing, directory services, firewalls, routers, switches, identity services, naming services and other resources. Other cloud providers may have a different network architecture of cloud origin.

Cloud providers make their own choices about security policies: who has access to what resources, software update rules, policies for use of data and records and so on. Application users and owners often have little choice in terms of security in the cloud. Applications must operate within certain areas of security and cloud providers cannot support them, or they can make changes that impair the safety requirements of the application.

Familiar management tools often are not available in the cloud destination or work in a limited way. Differences between the drivers, tools, operating system configuration or version of each play key role at this point. Upgrade solutions and software used on original cloud need to be adapted to the target cloud. Encryption also need to be present in the “bridge” between the cloud and the source destination.

Gartner firm explains that even if there are integration issues in the cloud, these are resolved over time, the movement of large volumes of data between the clouds will still be a challenge because of latency issues and the time required for migration them. When you move an application usually has to take the store with him.

While many people weigh the costs of sending data between the clouds, do not like what they see.

Migrating an application cloud to cloud means separate it from the original ecosystem. Each company must decide whether this action is appropriate for the business, since it can involve the reconstruction of applications of cloud origin. Are you willing to redo the application to send it to another cloud? The differences between the clouds can trigger a series of problems of integration.

Standards are close

What is needed to eliminate these concerns is the creation of standards for the cloud, similar to TCP / IP, targeted networking. It would be something like an API implemented on all products and cloud services, providing seamless interoperability.

But for Forrester Reaserch analyst, a common cloud API is not part of the future plans of the suppliers. It sees pressure creations of patterns far from where the market is at the moment.

Some cloud vendors are creating their own APIs with open standard. VMware, for example, submitted its vCloud API to the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) that molds and Red Hat also showed his Deltacloud platform. Now the VMware vCloud is VMware for use in private clouds and public cloud partners, offering users some options for interoperability in the environment.

The only cloud pattern that exists yet is the Open Virtualization Format (OVF). However, it only refers to the packaging of virtual machines for easy mobility.

As interoperability standards between cloud platforms are not yet defined, what to do when adopting the hybrid cloud model?

For starters, do not expect interoperability standards are established or changed. While you wait, you lose the benefits of cloud computing. In an environment of large changes in the potential benefits can be great, the best decision is to study and make a choice.

Market consultants recommend two steps to developing a flexible architecture in this scenario. The first is to make sure that the application and its supporting components do not rely on operating system and infrastructure. Ie, use mature languages of fourth-generation, such as Cognos, Focus, Clipper and other systems or as Java, to improve application portability.

The second is to find a management platform for applications that can support in any other environment.

Some cloud users indicate that they will use a set of strategies to select the provider of cloud. They plan to mix and match the best suppliers to ensure that the company will receive all the innovation that is available in the market. But even if this works out for mixing software on premise, there may be significant problems in integration and other issues related to cloud.

For a given supplier, the company will have to pay higher operating costs to manage this type of implementation strategy. It is likely that the company still needs to rely on multiple management tools and a group of people dedicated to the operations of tools and still may be a need to manage multiple contracts. Without standards, the overhead with the approach best-of-breed can be very high.



1 Response

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