By Ashwin Krishnan
Yes, this is about technology—specifically, the hybrid cloud journey that every enterprise customer is or will be on shortly, so don’t get spaced out—pun not intended—by the title. But before we get there we need to hit the pause button for just a bit and try to make some sense of it all.
Given all the hyperbole on one side, doomsday predictions on the other, ROI calculators that can fit any logic—from why Amazon Web Services (AWS) is eating everyone’s lunch to how investing in private data center is the only way to keep spiraling public cloud costs under control—it is no wonder that many enterprises are in quasi-paralysis mode or have moved too quickly and are now questioning their early adopter rationale. None of these extreme approaches makes logical sense.
In this article we explore options that do make sense. We put the hybrid cloud into perspective and attempt to establish a thesis that is universal so choices can be made in a sane fashion even as the chaotic gyrations continue unabated.
Evolution of the Hybrid Cloud
Let’s start with an analogy. Our Milky Way galaxy serves as the rich backdrop of our hybrid cloud. Let’s start with the planet we know best.
Mother Earth over the Neolithic, Paleolithic, and Modern era has seen much transformation, death, and destruction as well as renewed life. Our ancestors learnt how to fight for food, water, and shelter. As the Darwinian principles took root and we evolved into the modern ages, hunting gave way to farming while living, breathing, and eating continued—and of late artificial intelligence (AI) and Snapchat happened. In other words, a few things stayed the same but a lot changed.
Let’s map this to our private data center evolution. The mainframe era, the PC era, the server-based computing era, the HyperConverged era, and the SDDC era. All mega transformations that happened in a relatively accelerated fashion over the past 30 years and each one left the previous generation’s adoption rationale and ROI thesis in the dust while quickly evolving to more efficient and cost-effective infrastructure.
Let’s switch focus from Earth and look at Mars and Jupiter. Two very dissimilar planets yet look tantalizingly similar in certain aspects. Mars is certainly much better understood and it won’t be long before a human sets foot on it. Compared to Earth, it is much more pristine and there is a lot to be discovered every step of the way by the initial inhabitants who are much like the pioneers that inhabited Earth when life unfolded. Jupiter on the other hand is less well known but offers immense possibilities. It holds similar promises as Mars but has some unique challenges. Now let’s assume that we are in year 2050 and inhabitants have made it to both Mars and Jupiter. Would the original inhabitants of Mars having learned from that exploratory experience be better off should they decide to explore Jupiter subsequently as well? Or would that be a brand-new experience for them and a lot of unlearning of their Mars discoveries would need to take place first? And what if I want to have my progeny on Earth, Mars, and Jupiter—all co-inhabiting all three planets at the same time—is that too much to ask? Maybe you already guessed where I am going with this.
This is analogous to the public cloud of today. Recall that we equated Mother Earth’s evolution to the private data center evolution. Mars could be equated to AWS—constantly evolving and offering immense possibilities and tantalizingly like Earth yet at the same time very different and offering new possibilities and challenges. The initial inhabitants—AWS users—are clearly pioneers and much ahead of their brethren still on the private data center (Earth). And their success is clearly beckoning others from the private data center to join them but the laggards are petrified of the journey and what they must leave behind. Now analogously, if Jupiter were Azure, like AWS yet very different. The journey to Azure is going to be different and maybe easier for those going to Azure from AWS versus straight from private data center to Azure? Maybe. And what if I want to be truly hybrid—have a private data center for certain workloads, some on AWS, and some on Azure? Is that just a theory or the only way forward for enterprises to truly retain control and capitalize on the public cloud efficiencies?
This is episode one, in part two of this series we will delve into some of the approaches that enterprises are being offered by vendors in this hybrid cloud journey. And, always keeping the Milky Way exploration analogy in the background to make this journey easy to comprehend and highlight some of the stark choices that enterprises face and based on the approach they take, some are going to be harder to unwind than others. SW
Ashwin Krishnan is the SVP product management, strategy, and technical marketing at HyTrust.
Aug2017, Software Magazine