Cloudy with a chance of hybrid

So it’s been 4 weeks since I attended my first ever EMC World in Las Vegas. One of the discussion points for the conference was “Hybrid Clouds” alongside the announcement of “EMC Hybrid Cloud” offering and the plan to extend the VIPR to become an all-encompassing Software Defined storage solution.

So to start what is a “Hybrid cloud”? Like any good techie I googled it then I asked some associates in the industry and to be honest I got 22 different answers from 22 different people. Here is my definition:-

a hybrid cloud is a computing solution where by an organisation combines two different cloud platforms such as public cloud and private cloud or community cloud and private cloud

Simple isn’t it? Well in truth it’s the next phase of our cloud journey.
If you were to compare the Cloud Journey to life then I’d say it’s like finding your life partner and just like that it has some standard phases that most, but not all, will follow.

Discovery: “The teenage years”

You and all your mates are talking about cloud in fact one of you might even have a cloud partner and as it’s so new everyone wants to follow but in truth do we tell all our mates about our cloud relationship “warts and all”? Furthermore just because it’s the Cloud that you fancy the most doesn’t meant all your mates fancy it as well.

Adoption “Dating”

So you’ve found a “cloud” and whilst it has its issues you believe the benefits outweigh the negatives and so we make our first level of commitment to a cloud service. We start off saying it not serious, hell we may even engage with multiple cloud partners. Eventually in some small, but most importantly easily reversible, way we commit some of our services to the cloud. It may work, it may grow or in some cases it will fail and some will retract vowing never to go to the cloud again. Howevere let’s be honest most of us will.

Commitment: “part time co-habitation”

So you’ve been with a cloud partner for a while now, you’ve gotten to know them, you understand them and believe you can work with them. Now it’s time to extend the relationship hell even, in most cases, become “Cloud monogamous”. This is where the question of “what do I do with my own private cloud?” comes in. Do I move everything to the cloud? Well I’m still not sure, so what do I move? If I move it to the cloud, will I be able to use it form my old place? Or do I need to duplicate it in both places? Or do I just keep transporting it back and forth with me like a trusty tooth brush? Thats fine if it’s a tooth brush but what if it’s my 52” TV and Xbox? Difficult and time consuming to move, unusable during the migration and possibly too expensive to have two of.

Despite the fact the fact that I need two “TV subscriptions”, how do I keep my SKY+ or Tivo in sync between my two clouds? Or do I use my Tivo for “Sport” and theirs for the “Rom-Coms”?

This is where the cleaver cloud provider convinces us to “Move In” you don’t need your own place, you don’t need all that expense just “live” with me. This makes a lot of sense and to be honest when it comes to life that’s what the majority of us do, and we will do with the cloud will do in years to come.

So where does the Hybrid fit, what is it, and have EMC got it right? Well in my opinion the Hybrid Cloud is that perfect solution that has the right capabilities to help us jump from the early adoption phase into the heavier commitment phase. To be honest EMC reference architecture looks good, with its partnership of software and hardware platforms as well as a strong Hypervisor relationship in VMware. It’s a hard story to beat!

Hybrid Clouds allow us to identify those services that we feel happy to relinquish to a public cloud provider and further more can benefit from being there. Whilst still maintaining our own private clouds for the other services that for whatever reason, security or compliance, we just don’t want to give to a cloud partners just yet.

With the additional announcement of the VIPR product set expanding to deliver EMC services as software across multiple vendor platforms then the ability to integrate that still important private cloud, which to be honest I can’t see us giving up for the foreseeable future, to the public cloud will be easier. Hey presto we all can have a hybrid cloud.

My only word of caution is choose you partner carefully. Understand what this relationship means. To illustrate this, I reference the recent case in which Microsoft has been told that as an US entity providing cloud services, a search warrant issued in the US for email, extends to its Dublin Data Centre.

This all seems to be down to the fact that the warrant was issued against Microsoft, a US based company, therefore covering any Data Centre that they use globally. Microsoft are appealing this, “”, with the backing of other cloud provider such as Verizon and Cisco.

Remember this partner is for life, or at least lifespan, and just like life divorces and separation can be expensive!!!