Hybrid Cloud Computing Faces Multiple Challenges

Many IT groups will need to upgrade their infrastructure before they can realize the true advantages of dynamic hybrid cloud computing environments.

According to Navin Thadani, senior vice president of product management and marketing for Ravello Systems, this approach allows developers to deploy application workloads on any cloud computing environment without worrying about what particular virtual machine environment that cloud service provider supports.

But once those issues are addressed, there remains a host of networking and database challenges.

Cisco has addressed some of the networking issues with the recent launch of the Cisco Nexus 1000V InterCloud, an implementation of virtual switching that makes it easier for a cloud service provider to extend the reach of its network fabric to the on-premise systems of its customers.

Meanwhile, TransLattice has created a database platform that can be federated across multiple instances of private and public cloud computing platforms. According to TransLattice CEO Frank Huerta, TransLattice Elastic Database 3.0 gives organizations a single instance of a database that can be globally distributed across multiple cloud computing environments.

Despite these advances, however, it will take several years before most IT organizations can upgrade their infrastructure environments to support dynamic hybrid cloud computing environments. In fact, most IT organizations are still debating what types of workloads should be run on private versus public cloud computing platforms.

“Right now we’re focusing our efforts on our own private cloud,” says Kirk Larson, CIO for Children’s Hospital Central California. “We’re still evaluating where public cloud service makes sense.”

Many application workloads that were initially developed on a public cloud are likely to migrate to either a private cloud or a dedicated managed hosting environment. As those transitions occur, IT organizations will find themselves managing multiple hybrid cloud computing scenarios at the same time.

“When it comes to cloud computing, it’s a mixed bag out there, especially when it comes to security. You have to do a lot of due diligence,” says Thomas Janus, CIO of PLS Financial Services. “The reason to put something in the cloud is to get it out sooner, not because it’s cheaper.”

The good news is that emerging cloud management frameworks, such as OpenStack and CloudStack, promise to simplify the management of hybrid cloud computing. The bad news is that the frameworks are still under development, so IT organizations will need to wait until vendors can roll-out mature cloud management applications based on the frameworks. It could be several years before any of these cloud management applications are truly enterprise class.

In the meantime, Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty says it’s critical for IT organizations to start preparing their IT houses now so they can support the hybrid cloud computing scenarios that will soon be available.

“Hybrid cloud computing is still an emerging technology,” says Daugherty. “But you need to start preparing now for a world where virtual machines and the applications that run on them have maximum flexibility.” 

This article was originally published on 02-22-2013
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