Business leaders today are heavily growth-oriented and are looking at new ways of deploying applications to obtain greater agility. That is where we see hybrid cloud becoming mainstream as it frees businesses to run applications on-demand and where it’s most cost-effective. Cisco InterCloud was announced to address this opportunity and facilitate optimal hybrid cloud deployments.
Cisco InterCloud comes with unique capabilities that enable enterprises to connect their private cloud to heterogeneous public clouds. It creates the notion of a single scalable hybrid cloud for all physical, virtual and cloud workloads -- an infinite datacenter where the public cloud is treated as a virtual extension of the data center. Cisco InterCloud is designed with these tenets:
Open: Customers are excited about Cisco InterCloud, as it is an open solution that gives customers the freedom to choose hypervisor on private cloud and select their public cloud from a rich ecosystem of cloud providers. Service providers like InterCloud as it is open API based, integrates with multiple cloud platforms, e.g., CloudStack, vCloud, and OpenStack and enables them to rapidly offer a hybrid cloud solution. It reduces the effort to onboard enterprise customers. Cisco InterCloud thus provides a multi-cloud, multi-hypervisor cloud experience.
Secure: Another key factor in hybrid cloud adoption is the need to address the security and compliance concerns of public cloud deployment. Cisco InterCloud provides end-to-end secure connectivity by encrypting traffic between the enterprise private cloud and the service provider cloud. It also ensures workload security by encrypting all data-in-motion within shared multi-tenant public cloud. Additionally, customers can also deploy network services such as zone based virtual firewall and edge firewall for further workload security within public cloud.
Flexible: Customers demand bi-directional workload portability across private and public clouds. With Cisco InterCloud, customers not only can provision workloads from a self-service portal, but also with a click, migrate workloads to the public cloud and back. All of this activity happens behind the scenes as InterCloud converts workloads to the right VM format, such as VMware VMDK to AWS AMI, or to CloudStack format for providers such as BT. It makes workload portability easier as applications don’t need to be re-architected as IP addresses are retained upon migration and enterprise VLANs are extended into the cloud.
I believe that lines of business and developers are leading the journey to hybrid cloud adoption. IT has realized that it needs to shift away from its role as gatekeeper to instead being a partner to Lines of Business but IT faces certain challenges in doing so. IT has to deal with the overhead of integrating with each cloud provider and find ways to do in a secure manner. Cisco InterCloud enables IT to act as a cloud broker on behalf of lines of business. Cisco InterCloud provides unified hybrid cloud management through a built-in IT Admin portal and an extensible northbound API layer. It also allows IT to enforce consistent network security, L4-7 services and workload policies throughout the hybrid cloud.
This week’s Cisco InterCloud announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to customers. We envision a future where customers have an array of cloud options and can pick the ‘best fit’ based on workload needs, performance, cost, and location requirements. We are going into beta next quarter and have announced general availability soon afterwards. As 2014 dawns, we see a shift towards mainstream hybrid cloud adoption — hybrid cloud is finally here for real.
We have a very clear strategy for cloud and I will talk more about it in future blogs; however, for the time being here’s a quick overview (Imagine a New IT Video)
Strategy per se is great … but without execution…. it is not fascinating . With our comprehensive cloud portfolio in conjunction with our partner ecosystem, you can deploy and capitalize on the World of Many Clouds™ in the way that makes the most sense for your business. And we do have a cloud portfolio to match and that we can put to work for you in context to help you achieve your goals. Here is my attempt to outline our cloud portfolio more broadly beyond the recent announcement.
Plan your Cloud
Let’s start with services .… At any stage of your cloud journey, you can consider a Cisco Domain TenSM engagement. This industry-uniqueframework, embraced by global businesses to guide their IT and data center transformation, helps you methodically plan the next stages of your organization’s journey to the cloud. Starting from your current state of readiness, you gain a holistic view of your IT environment, and then project your desired state and identify the gaps that must be filled to address infrastructure, application, security, compliance, process, and governance implications for your cloud plans. It is extremely comprehensive!
As cloud-enabled services transform IT departments everywhere, your path to success as an IT professional was made easier today with Cisco’s announcement to expand its cloud portfolio. With Cisco’s comprehensive cloud portfolio offerings, you can easily and securely combine workloads to manage cloud services across different clouds. By increasing your flexibility for strategic sourcing of cloud-enabled IT services, you can increase your influence as a trusted business partner to your stakeholders. And, as you take on these new strategic roles, Cisco and our channel partners can help you and your organization gain control of cloud services.
While defining and deploying a comprehensive cloud architecture presents tremendous opportunity for IT chiefs, this task is not without its challenges. Successful cloud implementation requires a cloud governance model fueled by strategic vision and a holistic approach that addresses all aspects of your data center and IT operations in the new application economy fueled by cloud.
Following on the heels of our launch last fall of Application Centric Infrastructure, our enhanced Cisco Services for cloud portfolio provides strategic assistance to transition to a cloud governance model within your organization based on business outcomes. With our solutions spanning the plan, build, manage, and go-to-market phases of the cloud project lifecycle, Cisco Services has been recognized as an industry leader in cloud services by both IDC and Forrester.
In my previous blog , I noted that IT is increasingly transitioning towards an IT service broker role, taking advantage of multiple sourcing options to become an intermediary of cloud services offered to the business constituents. The role of IT as a broker of cloud services enables them to add value on behalf of its users by dynamically aggregating, integrating, and customizing the delivery of multi-cloud services (whether public, private or a combination of both) to best meet the needs of the business.
It’s now time for Cisco to take the next bold step in leading the evolution of the “World of Many Clouds,” journey with our partners. Today, at Cisco Live! in Milan, we announced important news in the significant expansion of our Cloud Portfolio to enable a new Fast IT model. The new products and services in Cisco’s extended cloud portfolio include:
These solutions that we will detail in coming blogs are designed to provide major benefits for your organization as you move to the world of many clouds. They allow you to
Reduce your exposure to risk in cloud environments.
Enhance your business flexibility with a choice of consumption models in the world of many clouds.
Increase agility and reduce TCO by managing and automating your cloud environments
Our breakthrough hybrid cloud solution, Cisco InterCloud, which lowers total cost of ownership for organizations and paves the way for interoperable and highly secure public, private and hybrid clouds. The addition of InterCloud to our Cloud portfolio also broadens Cisco’s commitment to openness and shows the unique value our partner-led model.
In this series of articles I’ll articulate the challenges customers face in hybrid cloud adoption, the key hybrid cloud requirements and ways to address them.
Organizations are trying to transform their business and innovate faster by getting access to resources on-demand per business needs but enterprise IT has not been able to provide that. This has led to a new challenge of “shadow IT” -- employees going direct to the public cloud to get fast and easy access to resources by going around IT. Shadow IT proves that business users are looking for the flexibility of cloud, but IT is wary of public cloud due to associated concerns of security, loss of visibility and control.
Hybrid cloud enables organizations to innovate faster by enabling rapid, self-service provisioning of resources, with the choice to deploy workloads in enterprise’s own data center or in the public cloud in a pay-as-you-go and scaled out manner. Hybrid clouds enable multiple use cases such as dev/test, capacity augmentation and disaster recovery besides control of Shadow IT. There is an increased trend towards hybrid cloud as it offers flexibility to respond quickly to business needs and allows reduction in cost. As per Forrester, more then 70% of enterprises plan to complement their in-house server and storage resources with IaaS resources from public cloud providers for primary or peak workloads. This points to the fact that customers want Hybrid Clouds, not just private or IaaS public clouds.
While we see the advantages of hybrid cloud, we don’t see large-scale customer adoption yet. The factors that have been preventing this are
- No easy way to deploy and manage on-premise and public cloud resources through a single-console.
- Lack of security for workloads running in public cloud and unsecure connectivity from private to public cloud.
- Slow and complex management processes such as need to re-architect the application while migrating workloads across hybrid cloud.
Customers are also concerned about getting locked-in to a particular vendor’s solution or a particular public cloud. Today one particular public cloud may be right for certain class of applications but tomorrow another public cloud provider may offer better SLAs, cost or application performance. There are some fragmented solutions that allow migrating workloads from customer’s private cloud to a public cloud but then there is no easy way for the workloads to move back to enterprise or migrate easily to another public cloud. Customers have seen that with such solutions neither they get the complete agility nor the long term cost benefits. As a result, they are weary of getting locked-in to a particular public cloud or a solution that works only across a single hypervisor or over a certain compute, network or storage device.
Customers are looking at true hybrid cloud capabilities that means more than just running some applications on-premises and some in the public cloud. “Hybrid” clouds require a functional extension of local resources to the cloud to the same degree that local resources are connected/integrated. Lets look at the key customer requirements of a true hybrid cloud:
Self-service access: A true hybrid solution will provide self-service portal to users and IT admins. It will enable users to seamlessly deploy applications both on-premise or in the public cloud from a unified console. It will allow IT admins to manage workloads from a single pane of glass and enforce complete security for workloads in multi-tenant shared public cloud as private cloud.
Workload portability: It will offer bi-directional migration of workloads from private to public cloud independent of the underlying architecture.
IT as a broker: It will enable IT to act as a broker on behalf of Line of business while minimizing risk by enforcing that application network and security policies are identical regardless of the location of the workloads.
Open architecture: It will enable choice and flexibility for users, IT admins and cloud service providers by being based on Open APIs and architecture. It will allow users flexibility in workload sourcing options without getting locked-in to a particular public cloud or vendor solution. It will enable service providers to rapidly offer a hybrid cloud solution.
We believe that an open and as easy-to-use approach is essential to delivering real hybrid cloud capabilities and help transform the way IT services are delivered. With such an approach; IT will not have to live in the shadows of “Shadow IT” rather can act as a broker of cloud services for LOBs. As the above requirements are addressed, we will increasingly see organizations taking a hybrid approach to cloud.