The hybrid cloud is evolving along a strange sort of dichotomy as the year comes to a close: It is getting easier to deploy but more challenging to optimize.
This is partly due to the fact that the enterprise itself is tasked with managing multiple types of workload – everything from traditional business applications to mobile computing and device-driven analytics. But it also points to the fact that the hybrid cloud is not a single entity but a collection of components that must work together near-flawlessly in order to provide the seamless data experience that users expect.
Tech writer Alan Joch noted on BizTech recently that the emergence of turnkey solutions and hybrid management tools is making it easier to deploy distributed cloud environments. Leading IT vendors have taken to leveraging both their home-grown systems portfolios and third-party contributions to craft hybrid architectures that can be easily launched and then quickly scaled to production-level environments. VMware’s Cross-Cloud Architecture, for example, provides for consistent deployment models, security policies and governance across multiple clouds and can be delivered under the company’s Cloud Foundation architecture that incorporates legacy platforms like vRealize, vSphere and NSX software-defined networking.
But what are the critical elements of a functioning hybrid cloud? According to IT consultant Keith Townsend, the three pillars are advanced networking, orchestration and automation. In distributed data architectures of any kind, latency is an application killer, and since hybrids require a high degree of multipoint connectivity, the new enterprise network will need both more bandwidth and advanced fabric-style architectures. This drives the need for both orchestration and automation to handle the diversity of data flows and the scale of operations that far exceed the capabilities of traditional management practices.
Already, says Digital Realty’s Andrew Schaap, the difference between success and failure in the digital economy is coming down to networking. Speed and scale are the two main opposing forces in the hybrid cloud: As data loads increase, network resources become overloaded and performance suffers.