It’s official — the hybrid cloud is the “Next Big Thing.” Take the recent industry stats: according to IDC, the hybrid cloud market is expected to grow to $79 billion by 2018. In the next two years, Gartner estimates that half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. But the recent trend towards hybrid cloud is as much about failure as it is about opportunity.
After years of pursuing private and public cloud strategies, IT executives are realizing that a blended or hybrid cloud strategy makes the most sense. Businesses have been both seduced and confused by the promise of the cloud and they want to utilize hybrid cloud as an extension of their own data centers. They also want openness, transparency and ease of use for their workloads — previously unattainable in the enterprise — a scenario where production workloads can be mobilized, centrally managed and protected.
In the simplest of terms, the hybrid cloud means freedom of choice. Companies enjoy the freedom to take advantage of cost-effective cloud services while keeping some IT in house. Done well, adopting cloud services makes a company’s business processes and operations more efficient and its customers more satisfied. Businesses of all sizes are turning to a hybrid infrastructure because it combines the best of both worlds — public cloud and private cloud working together.
But the current hybrid cloud model is in need of refinement. Issues surrounding the portability of workloads: data mobility, protection, automation and orchestration need to be resolved before the hybrid cloud can move from the “Next Big Thing” to a solution that delivers on the cloud computing promise: flexibility, scalability, control and choice.
So where do we go from here? For hybrid cloud to reach widespread adoption, we need to see the development and adoption of an underlying infrastructure layer that allows for seamless flexibility and manageability of data and applications across hypervisors, networks and hardware — something I like to call the “Cloud Fabric.”
As I see it, there are four critical components of this Cloud Fabric layer:
- A powerful transport layer for data and applications — one that is cross-hypervisor and hardware agnostic
- Orchestration of the mobility of complex applications
- Encapsulation of all of the dependencies that are part of an application such as boot order, IP configuration and more
- Production-level tools for the highest service levels of data mobility and protection so that mobility of workloads is easy to manage and report on
My belief is that enterprises will benefit heavily from this new blended model where they can extend their data centers into the public cloud as needed and where production workloads can be easily mobilized, centrally managed and protected. It is what IT departments and CIOs want and is the reason that industry insiders are watching the hybrid-cloud space closely and believe it is indeed the Next Big Thing.
Jennifer Gill is director of global product marketing for Zerto.