Multicloud vs. hybrid cloud
Somewhere there’s a business that’s still using dial telephones and paper rolodexes. That’s not your company. In fact, it is all but certain that your operation is using more than one cloud service, and perhaps a dozen or more distinct services for particular purposes. Multicloud is today’s business reality.
According to Rightscale’s most-recent State of the Cloud report, companies have an average of six separate clouds. In a November 30, 2016, article, Information Age’s Neil Ismail defines multicloud as any situation where apps are deployed across two or more cloud platforms. The goal is to improve performance and cost efficiency by matching app components to the tools and technologies best suited to them.
One of the misconceptions about multiclouds is that they are synonymous with hybrid clouds. As Ismail explains, hybrid clouds are a specific type of multicloud distinguished by “traditional” application deployment via on-premises computing or managed hosting on a combination of public clouds and private clouds. Orchestration tools are used to manage the various hybrid platforms.
Make long-term management the core of your migration plan
The cloud is not some place you’re going to visit for a short while before returning back home. It’s the place your company’s systems are going to live for the long run. Of course, you don’t plan for a vacation the same way you plan for a permanent move. Even if you’ve got a good start on your cloud operations – initial apps in place and running smoothly, core competencies well developed in your staff – your plan isn’t complete until you’ve laid down a foundation for the long run.
In a December 19, 2016, article on EnterpriseTech, Logicworks’ Jason McKay cites a recent Gartner study that found for each dollar a company invests in innovation through 2019, it will spend $7 for core execution. According to Gartner, “[d]esigning, implementing, integrating, operationalizing, and managing the ideated solution can be significantly more than the initial innovation costs [because] the deployment costs of the Mode 2 ‘ideated solution’ are not necessarily considered during ideation.”
McKay offers three suggestions for building an at-scale cloud-computing practice:
Debunking the myths surrounding multicloud management
The success of any project depends on having a good understanding of where you’re starting from. For a multicloud management plan, that means knowing the characteristics and status of all existing cloud operations in the organization. As Information Age’s Ismael writes, this initial step can be the trickiest of the entire process because IT managers may be in denial about how people in the company are currently using the cloud.
The result, according to Rackspace CTO John Engates, is that “businesses often end up employing multicloud by accident due [to] other departments employing cloud services without their knowledge.” After investigating cloud use in the company, IT may discover that the marketing department is using one cloud, for example, while human resources relies on an entirely different cloud service. The solution, Ismael says, is to offer “a menu of cloud providers which have been researched and pre-approved by the IT department.”
Two other common misconceptions about multicloud are that they are less secure than in-house systems, and that they require technical expertise that is in short supply. To debunk the first matter, Ismael points out that a carefully planned and implemented multicloud strategy improves overall security by giving companies more control over the physical location of their most-sensitive data for compliance purposes. Firms also exercise more precise control over the methods used to protect their information.
As for the shortage of cloud-management expertise, Ismael recommends that companies survey their IT staff and business departments to “assess the level of expertise that already exists in the business and find out where the gaps are.” Once those gaps are identified, you shop for just the skills you need from cloud brokers or managed cloud providers. Doing so frees up in-house staff to spend their time on activities that move the business closer to its goals.
Laying the foundation for virtualization management
The multicloud setups that have evolved from initial pilot projects and shadow IT form the basis of an integrated virtualized approach to application management. Embotics President Jay Litkey calls automated cloud management “IT as a service” because it places resource optimization, lifecycle management, workflow and automation, IT costing and chargeback, and self-service and service catalog in a single platform that accommodates cloud services of all types.
The software-defined data center (SDDC) shifts management of applications and workloads to a single layer where they are abstracted and aggregated apart from any particular resource, physical or virtual. Only then are the instances comprising the workloads able to be distributed most efficiently to the multicloud and hybrid cloud resources optimized for them.
A service that gets you from cloud ‘migration’ to cloud ‘management’
It’s understandable that companies introduce cloud computing to their operations through small, targeted projects that serve as proofs of concept. Over time the migrations become smoother, and the cloud projects grow in number and complexity. The problem is, many organizations remain stuck in “migration” mode and struggle to get to “management” mode, which entails the gamut of IT duties.
The Morpheus cloud application management platform bridges the migration and management phases for your company’s apps. Morpheus delivers all provisioning tools for databases, applications, and app stack components in a single pane of glass for all servers and clouds: on-premise, public, private, or hybrid. The service supports asynchronous provisioning, so you can work on multiple IT systems at the same time.
With Morpheus, cloud lock-in is a thing of the past. In addition to one-click provisioning, you can migrate clouds and hypervisors quickly and simply between AWS, Google Cloud Platform, VMware, Microsoft Azure, Xen, Nutani, and other platforms. Automated monitoring lets you group apps and systems for an immediate view of all your instances. Calculating an app’s overall uptime is more accurate via Morpheus’s built-in redundancy layers.