Hybrid Clouds: From reluctant acceptance to strategic imperative

It’s been well over a year that Forrester’s James Staten (@staten7) has been gently orating from the rooftops that “you are already hybrid.”  In his foresight, he was referring to the broad existence of so-called shadow-IT, the tendency of competent non-IT folk to pull out their credit cards and purchase public cloud services and SaaS services, thereby solving their own problems.


This week, a spate of articles from Forbes, WSJ (requires login) and elsewhere are telling the tale of a far more intentional approach to hybrid cloud. This acceptance that certain workloads, for logistical, financial, or pragmatic reasons, are best housed locally – and that others, due to spikiness (technical term) or proximity to endpoint or resource profile, are best deployed to a service provider. In fact, the Forbes article cites different tiers of an application potentially residing at different places.


There are a few implications of this current discussion worth calling out:


a) Inherent in this approach is the acceptance of IT departments of the role of public cloud in their footprint. 12-18 months ago, I would argue this was far from universal. Public clouds were often mistrusted – so this is a huge cultural shift forward.


b) The complexity of this architecture necessarily requires a hybrid cloud management solution, lest IT administrators become the unwitting and overworked keepers of the registry of services. Even then, communicating that information across all departments who would require it – operations, audit, security, etc. – would be a formidable and painstaking task.


c) Increasingly, the logic by which services are deployed here or there is being congealed into policy – so provisioning technologies should be enabled to facilitate those decisions automatically, without requiring manual intervention.


All of this speaks to the breadth of requirements associated with a cloud management platform today, which are far more interesting than the VM-Xerox-machine of recent years. If these are the needs of a professional grade cloud, CIOs shopping for their cloud solution will grow more discerning with time. And rightfully so.

These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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