Hybrid Cloud is Real and Right for You!
Today’s IT conversations cannot happen without some discussion about “the cloud”. Generally, this means the different public/consumer technology solutions that are very easy to get into and not necessarily so easy to get out of. The solutions are flexible, work across devices and appear to be very inexpensive since the costs are largely measured “per month”. As a result all walks of technology companies have rushed to put their own stamp on “cloud” and how their solutions are a “cloud” experience. The discussion though really has come down one of two options: the public cloud and the private cloud…or has it? Hybrid cloud has been discussed in forums for some time. Often used in the case of technologies like email, hybrid cloud is the notion of having a transparent experience that leverages the best of a well performing, on premises private cloud with the flexibility and cost of the public cloud; all of this with a single management platform. This is a true challenge to IT. As far as EMC is concerned, challenge accepted.
So where am I going with this? Well, at EMC World this year, EMC showcased the “Build a Hybrid Cloud Live” in Las Vegas. That solution was delivered in less than 48 hours using technologies from EMC, VMWare and VCE that are available TODAY. Consider what we are saying, hybrid cloud is going to be a combination of the public and private cloud environments. Don’t take my word for it; Gartner’s definition says the same thing. A true hybrid cloud consists of three components/characteristics:
1. A Public Cloud environment in use.
2. A Private Cloud in use.
3. Automation and Management that allows for the provisioning and monitoring of services across the combination of those environments.
It is the 3rd component/characteristic that really defines the hybrid cloud. What many customers don’t understand is how to deliver that last component and they don’t recognize that delivering that capability identifies their achievement of a very high level of operational maturity. This is because many customers are still provisioning services manually. The users have to send multiple emails, look through catalogs and submit purchase orders to obtain the compute resources they require. IT doesn’t have a transparent chargeback (or showback) model and doesn’t have the policies and workflow to quickly turnaround user requests. This can all be achieved with technology today and ultimately enable a true hybrid cloud. The solution at EMC world referenced an architecture displayed here. The customer facing services all appear at the top level and represent the best of what makes the public cloud attractive. The middle layers (2nd and 3rd layers) represent the “magic” of policy, (decision services that ultimately determine where resources will be provisioned), and the automation that completes the provisioning in a fraction of the previous time. Finally, the lower layer shows the infrastructure. Could be that it’s the on-premises private cloud, could be the public cloud. The end user does not need to know where the infrastructure they are using is and really doesn’t care. They care about whether they are getting the service they expect.
Example – DaaS
This example has a user that requires a desktop. The user goes to a portal or some form of a service catalog. Once there, the user has the ability to select one of a couple types of desktops including virtual desktops. The user identifies the desktop that best meets their requirements. In this case, it’s a virtual desktop with basic capabilities, such as internet browsing and PDF reading. The user puts that desktop configuration in a shopping cart and checks out. The user will see what the cost of that desktop is on a monthly basis. At that point, if necessary, approvals may be required and those notifications will be sent, but at this point, the user can be notified that upon approval the desktop will be available at “x time and the user will be notified, via email, as soon as the desktop is available”.
Based on the type of desktop selected (in this case a basic desktop), the IT organization may decide that the basic desktop has been identified as one that will be fulfilled via the VMWare Horizon DaaS environment as opposed to internal IT resources. The order is forwarded to IT and the automated provisioning process (perhaps via vCloud Automation Center) kicks in and provisions a basic desktop based on an existing template. Once completed, that desktop is now monitored as part of the organizational VDI environment and the user is notified that their desktop is available along with instructions on how to access the desktop. Quick, easy provisioning that benefits the end user and saves IT the time and hassel.
You may believe that this level of automation is just not possible or not possible in your environment. Make no mistake, the technology exists. Review the materials at the end of this article and see for yourself what was completed at EMC World. This technology will work for your VDI environment, and it can work for your server environment. Taken to the next level, you will want to take advantage of the monitoring capabilities so you can provision additional resources based on need OR ANTICIPATED NEED, based on history. That is elastic computing and is a whole new level of operations insight.
What I offered here is a view of hybrid cloud computing. You can’t buy it in a box, what you buy is a series of products that enable capabilities. Ultimately, it’s the processes and people in addition to the technology that make hybrid cloud computing possible. What kind of transformation would be required for your organization to do this? At EMC world, it took EMC Global Services 48 hours, that’s probably not realistic in most organizations, but what could be optimized to make this happen for you?