Can we talk about transparency for a minute; in the hybrid cloud that is? According to Jim Ganthier, vice president and general manager of engineered solutions and cloud at Dell, “The challenges most customers face on their cloud journey are clear. They tell us it’s too complex, the cost-risk is too high, and control isn’t transparent.”
That last part, transparency or cloud visibility, can be a big challenge. At issue is the fact that the hybrid cloud comprises internal (private cloud) and external (public cloud) resources, and while organizations may have good visibility into their internal resources, the same cannot always be said of external resources. And what about the connection between your external and internal resources? The benefit of a hybrid cloud is that it gives organizations the flexibility to shift workloads quickly and easily, whenever the need arises. But if those resources come from different cloud providers and the connection between those external and internal resources isn’t transparent, shifting workloads and accessing critical performance information and usage metrics becomes all the more challenging.
Then there’s the issue of the end user. More and more, end users are demanding transparency into their service provider’s environment. If something goes wrong, they want to know what the problem is and when it will be resolved. For those organizations that don’t have control of their resources in the public cloud, that could pose a problem since the performance possible with the public cloud doesn't always mirror the organization’s Service-Level Agreement (SLA) with its customers. Regardless, not being transparent with the end user can degrade the quality of their experience and that may well impact not only the organization's reputation, but its bottom line as well.
With hybrid cloud transparency such a critical necessity for any hybrid cloud environment, is there any answer? Actually, there is and it involves leveraging a number of different technologies to give organizations the greater transparency they need. An excellent article by John Burke, CIO and Principal Research Analyst with Nemertes Research, highlights some of these options; including: virtual switches, especially when deployed in a Software-Defined Network (SDN) built around the OpenFlow standard; virtual appliances, and transaction monitoring systems.
Of course utilizing available technology and tools is not the only way for organizations to improve transparency into their hybrid cloud environment. To get the utmost transparency, organizations need to consider it from the outset and be sure that whatever hybrid cloud solution they chose, it fully meets their needs. After all, some hybrid cloud solutions are better than others when it comes to transparent control.
A solution built on a consistent hybrid cloud platform, for example, offers much more control and transparency than say, a separate public and private cloud solution from two different cloud providers. The Dell Hybrid Cloud System for Microsoft, the industry’s first integrated modular hybrid cloud solution, is a prime example of just such a solution. It delivers a level of hybrid cloud governance, control, and policy-based automation for Microsoft Azure and other cloud environments, that’s just not possible with other hybrid cloud solutions.
At the end of the day, whether you employ a tool or technology to improve transparency in your hybrid cloud, opt to use a hybrid cloud solution specifically designed to ensure transparency, or do both, the important point is that you recognize achieving transparency can be problematic and take steps to alleviate that problem in whichever way works best for you.
If you want to weigh in on this discussion, send me your thoughts at [email protected]. And be sure to check back here next week for more information on the hybrid cloud and other important IT-related topics.
This blog is sponsored by Microsoft.
Cheryl J. Ajluni is a freelance writer and editor based in California. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of Wireless Systems Design and served as the EDA/Advanced Technology editor for Electronic Design for over 10 years. She is also a published book author and patented engineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online publications. Contact her at [email protected] with your comments or story ideas.