Two years back, I disparaged hybrid clouds in my blog: “Why Hybrid Clouds Look Like my Grandma’s Network”. Since then the pain and necessity of many clouds in business environment has become acute. I see a great similarity between Hybrid Clouds and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon that has become well-accepted in today’s organization. IT tried to resist it initially, but the consumer movement proliferated into the workplace and was hard to control. Hence IT had no choice but to follow along.
A similar movement is emerging in Cloud. After Amazon Web Services (AWS) made it simple for application developers to swipe credit cards to buy compute and get up and running in a jiffy, the addiction has been hard to stop. Enterprise stakeholders are consuming cloud infrastructure by the hour and in the process running up total costs for their organizations and leaving gaping holes in security and compliance. But this time around, IT has an opportunity to get ahead of the phenomenon.
Challenges with existing hybrid cloud approaches:
Vendor lock-in: It is hard to argue against the flexibility offered by public clouds. However, few realize that the flexibility comes at the cost of vendor lock-in. Public cloud APIs are typically custom and moving the workload back is almost impossible.
Skyrocketing costs: Granted that public cloud vendors have been driving down costs. However, using public cloud for regular application deployments is like using a rental car for long-term use. If you need a car temporarily, say during a vacation, it makes sense to rent it by the day. However, when you are back at home and need a car for everyday commute, using a rental car will run up costs. This is what enterprises are running into when public cloud charges for resources and bandwidth start to add up. However, it is hard to get out once you are locked into operational practices and workload customization in your favorite cloud.
Security & Compliance holes: Security, what security? When you don’t even know what workloads are running in public clouds and you have no control over who accesses them and how, it is needless to say how big a security and compliance hole this is.
The Solution: Embrace Bring Your Own Cloud (BYOC), build hybrid clouds with Intercloud Fabric
Now that we agree that there’s no way around folks bringing their own clouds, IT needs to provide choice to users while driving consistency, control and compliance for its own sake. Here’s how Intercloud Fabric make this possible:
Choice: Intercloud Fabric enables IT to support a number of clouds including giant public clouds (Amazon, Azure) or their favorite cloud provider including Cisco Powered.
Consistency: Although users get choice of clouds, IT can maintain consistency in networking, security and operations. This is made possible by seamless workload portability across clouds, say vSphere to AWS while maintaining enterprise IP addressing and security profiles.
Compliance: Since public clouds appear as an extension of enterprise data center, current compliance requirements like logging, change control, access restrictions continue to be enforced.
Control: IT controls the cloud in a good way. They don’t have to say “No” to their end users in consuming diverse clouds but can still manage them with a single console and move workloads back and forth.
Our customers have been asking Cisco to expand beyond our hosted collaboration and SaaS offerings (such as WebEx, Meraki and Cisco Cloud Web Security) with a richer set of cloud services. Today, in San Francisco, we are announcing a substantial expansion of those services with new infrastructure-as-a-service offerings and cloud disaster recovery applications that leverage the cloud platforms of new Intercloud partners Dimension Data and Sungard Availability Services. They join Telstra as our first Intercloud partners.
How can leaders manage the transition to a cloud services broker? Check out the new Gartner newsletter to learn more.
Is your IT department currently acting as a Cloud services broker?And what exactly is a Cloud services broker?
As our world of many clouds continues to evolve, increased opportunities exist for IT departments to move from the traditional “siloed” working environments to play a more critical role in corporate planning strategies.
Aligning IT and business objectives are duties handled by an IT services broker, who is usually the company CIO.
The time is now for corporations to begin viewing their IT departments as more than the group that resets passwords and helps new-hires with their computer set-ups.
In order to manage the cloud transition and embrace the role of cloud services brokers, CIOs and IT leaders should consider these five steps:
1) Develop your future thinking and let go of the idea of how your IT department has done things in the past and think about what processes can be reengineered or what new capabilities need to be developed. Your IT group is best able to identify technology gaps in an organization’s processes as CIOs contend with hybrid cloud environments.
2) Create your Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Building Block and ensure it’s agile, so your IT department can manage infrastructure services in a highly automated fashion and deliver to users in just minutes. By enabling a hybrid cloud environment in the IaaS layer, IT can more easily play the role of cloud services broker.
3) Add the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which uses the agility in the IaaS foundation. Ultimately, this delivers greater efficiencies and flexibility in the deployment and deployment of cloud workloads. Without PaaS, development and testing of initiatives would require dedicated capacity to be allocated by IT.
4) Ensure required security standards. The SaaS and Infrastructure Security building block is where IT’s ability to serve as a cloud service broker plays a critical role and for an organization’s integrity, cloud-based services are best managed by them as a one cohesive infrastructure.
5) Make your vision a reality and implement transformational change! Now that you’ve assembled all the necessary building blocks, find a trusted partner to help you define and implement your vision. Tools like Cisco Domain Ten can help your IT department create evaluation criteria that helps them play their role as cloud services broker.
If you want to learn more about how to prepare for growing cloud workloads, how to evolve your IT department to harness the true potential of the cloud, and how to develop a more strategic approach to IT operations and service management, be sure to :
In the last two parts of this series, we looked at
Part 1: Why we need to consider virtual care as part of our strategy for pandemic preparedness
Part 2: How virtual care can enable the process transformations to enable business continuity while mitigating the risk of exposure to staff and patients.
In this part, we ask the question: Why Cloud?
When it comes to preparing for a pandemic, there are many unknowns; however, three things are very difficult to precisely predict:
Timing: When will the next Pandemic happen?
Impact: Who will be affected and how much disruption can happen?
Geographical spread: Where will the outbreak happen and spread?
When the scope is unclear, it is always very difficult to plan well. When we look at the options in front of us, we have mainly two options
Commit infinite resources to address the worst case
Leverage a model that can scale based on the need
Obviously, the first option is not a practical business solution. With option 2 being the default approach, this is where the agility of the cloud comes handy. While cloud provides many advantages, let us look at some of the key benefits of cloud when it comes to preparing for a pandemic. They are:
The Convenience of the Cloud:
As we saw in the last part, navigating around the path of the virus can be achieved by using virtual care. Cloud based solutions provide the convenience of accessing services from anywhere, anytime, from any device without having to pre-install. Patients can leverage SaaS based Virtual care solutions to interact with the care teams without leaving their home. New work flows can be pushed out quickly to enable Self-service and dynamic process changes. Read More »
We’re generating digital information at an exponential rate. It’s coming from more devices that are more connected than ever and getting smarter all the time.
In 2013, global mobile data traffic stood at 1.5 exabytes per month – the equivalent of 4,100 text messages each second.
By 2018, that will reach 15.9 exabytes per month – or 43,709 text messages each second! And 96% of that mobile data traffic will be “smart” traffic!
Welcome to the next wave of the Internet – the Internet of Everything. Imagine the amount of data we’re creating in this evolving digital world as more and more people and things connect. Technologies like cloud and mobility are fueling this growth – with the cloud as key enabler in helping us make sense of this data deluge. Global data center traffic is expected to triple by 2017, and cloud services and applications will make up 69% of that traffic.
Data itself (or simply storing it in the cloud) only gets you so far, however. The value lies in what you do with it, gaining insight and knowledge derived from data to empower your life and lead you to greater wisdom. That’s the real power behind connectivity. On a personal level, it calls for taking ownership of your “digital self,” leveraging cloud-enabled services not just for storage but to “talk” and interact with the digital world in a dynamic way and in real time. This can lead us to understand aspects of ourselves in ways never before possible – and harness actionable data to make better decisions that improve our lives.