Over the last year, cloud deployments represented one third of our new Equinix business and we expect to see more and more hybrid cloud migrations as this business continues to grow. Kurt Marko confirms this trend in his InformationWeek article, “5 Hybrid Cloud Gotchas,” reporting that 47% of the respondents in InformationWeek’s 2014 Hybrid Cloud Survey either have already or plan to move to hybrid cloud environments.
According to Marko, “Hybrid promises the best of both cloud worlds,” but he also points to some of the “gotchas” of hybrid cloud migration. Working with thousands of businesses, our team of Equinix Global Solutions Architects, has seen how these challenges can be mitigated and, in some cases, totally avoided by strategically mapping out the right plan for designing, sourcing, deploying and configuring a cloud infrastructure. This is the first in a series of articles where I, and other technical experts from our Global Solutions Architects team, will respond with practical advice on how to avoid the five hybrid cloud gotchas.
Gotcha #1: Design, Deployment, Configuration
In this first gotcha, Marko addresses how difficult it can be to integrate different hybrid cloud infrastructure elements (i.e., hypervisor platforms, storage, data protection systems, business applications and management systems). Enterprise CIOs need to first understand how this new model of hybrid cloud-based services changes their role. In this model, cloud services are a primary sourcing entity, which means you’ll need to add to your role as technologist the responsibility for procuring and managing virtual services. You should know who the major cloud players are, how their services are consumed and how they fit into your company’s fulfillment process.
The following are key sourcing decisions that enterprise architects will face in their cloud deployment and hybrid migration plans:
- Maintaining hypervisor continuity is a primary driver for selecting cloud service providers or vendors when migrating from a private to a hybrid cloud. Migrating workloads that have been designed and installed on a diverse set of systems has driven the demand for enterprise orchestration companies like Docker to become a key part of the hybrid cloud movement. This concept of containerizing the hypervisor or workload helps to streamline the migration from private to public cloud in a multivendor environment.
- Integrating and optimizing the corporate WAN (most likely MPLS) into a competitive on-net model can reduce cost and increase performance. Our Equinix IBX data centers have one of the highest on-net carrier densities in the industry, with access to more than 1,000 networks. Layer-1, 2, and 3 services are centralized for our customers to purchase, which helps them reduce their CAPEX and access fees to get to carrier service nodes. This concept drives arbitrage models that enable an enterprise to look, act, feel and purchase like a top-tier web presence – someone like an Amazon or Google. High capacity Ethernet access aggregated into carrier neutral interconnection points will become the catalyst for enterprise cloud enablement.
- Aligning applications in the hybrid cloud model, with an understanding of how different cloud service providers can support the needs of the enterprise, is critical to hybrid cloud success. Building the right application profile and understanding the integration and orchestration capabilities needed to move to a cloud-based environment will dictate the pace of adoption.
Finally, one of the most challenging aspects of the cloud sourcing process involves your company’s technical resource base and how adept you are at designing, integrating and operating a flexible IT cloud model. Hybrid cloud success assumes your data center foundation is flexible enough to allow the interconnection of a broad range of networks, cloud services, IT providers and business partners.
This kind of ultra-flexible IT model and extensive interconnection platform is exactly what we deliver to our more than 4,500 customers worldwide within our 100+ Equinix data centers. Our Global Solutions Architects provide the rich, knowledge base and hands-on experience required to help businesses reduce complexity and avoid missteps when deploying cloud infrastructures. Equinix is also the home of the interconnected cloud. The Equinix Cloud Exchange enables access to more than 450 cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Our Equinix Solution Validation Centers™, located in key strategic markets around the world, enable the planning, testing and implementation of distributed hybrid cloud deployments.
Cloud adoption, and specifically hybrid cloud adoption, will drive the enterprise IT architecture design for the foreseeable future. Having a programmatic approach, a modular implementation plan and the expert technical resources that help you avoid the gotchas, will ensure a cloud success story for the enterprise CIO.