In this Consider the Cloud blog series we have looked at the benefits of cloud computing, cloud growth predictions, data gravity, and analyzed the accuracy of how fast and complete cloud adoption will be. In today’s installment, I want to discuss what I believe is the future of cloud computing: the hybrid multicloud.
What is needed for a secure, reasonable IT infrastructure of the future (present?) is an architecture that embraces the cloud, but also on-premises workloads, including the mainframe. The mainframe has been at the core of the IT infrastructure of large organizations for a long time and they continue to drive a significant amount of mission-critical workload for big business.
OK, but what is a hybrid multicloud?
Hybrid implies something heterogeneous in origin or composition. In other words, it is something that is composed of multiple other things. Multicloud is pretty simple; it refers to using more than one cloud computing service. So, when you use the term “hybrid” in conjunction with “multicloud,” it implies an IT infrastructure that uses a mix of on-premises and/or private / public cloud from multiple providers.
This is a sensible approach for most organizations because it enables you to maintain and benefit from the systems and data that you have built over time. There is a sunk cost to those systems and many (if not most) existing systems are still delivering value. So the next logical step is to couple existing systems with current best practices for reducing cost and scaling with cloud services where and when it makes sense.
No one, single system or technology is the right solution for every project. No matter what the prognosticators are saying, we will not be moving everything to the cloud and abandoning every enterprise computing system we ever built in the past. But the cloud offers economies of scale and flexibility that make it a great addition to the overall IT infrastructure for companies of all sizes.
With a hybrid multicloud approach, you can choose what makes sense for each component, task, and project that you tackle. Maintain existing platforms to benefit from their rich heritage and integrate them with new capabilities and techniques when appropriate.
It should be obvious that we won’t just abandon existing mission-critical workloads, because our businesses rely on them. In some cases, it can make sense to migrate workload to public or private clouds, and in other cases, your organization will be better served by modernizing and refactoring applications without having to rely on wholesale recoding on another platform.
Using a hybrid multicloud approach means that you embrace multiple platforms, both remote and on-premises. Of course, deploying this approach means that we need to understand the challenges involved in integrating, managing, and utilizing a complex heterogeneous system of different platforms and technologies. Organizations will need to build practices and procedures to secure, manage, and deliver service across their hybrid multicloud (in conjunction with their cloud service providers).
The bottom line here is simple. Your customers don’t care about the technology you use – they just expect to be able to access your systems easily and for their data to be protected and secure. And that is why most organizations will not rip and replace everything they have built over multiple decades.