2016: Year Of The Monkey (And The Hybrid Cloud)
At the end of last year, Hewlett Packard split itself in two to create a spin-off company dedicated solely to Enterprise IT. While HP will continue to offer the classic PC and printer hardware that became their staple, the newly formed HP Enterprise (HPE) will work to develop a new strategy for competing in the emerging cloud computing market. How? By abandoning the public cloud, and switching to the hybrid.
For those who need a little more background, the cloud computing industry has been divided into two distinct fields for many years: public and private. The public cloud is essentially an off-site data center; a massive pool of shared resources hosted by service providers who rent multi-tenant space to businesses who can't or don't want to own the cloud infrastructure equipment. The private cloud on the other hand, is a secure data center owned by a company for its own consumption, built using either Tier 1 or white box server solutions, and housed either on-premises or at a colocation.
While the public cloud service model has become a popular choice for growing companies, it is not without drawbacks. Many smaller businesses get trapped with hidden fees that make it difficult (if not impossible) for them to migrate to a private cloud as they scale past a certain point. And the public cloud industry is a tightly controlled oligopoly, with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine engaged in aggressive price wars over the Enterprise market.
The costly HP Helion Public Cloud will be shutting down for good next week, closing its doors on January 31st. With AWS holding a consistent 50-60% market share in the public cloud, HP is leaving the industry to focus on where it believes it can find better, more viable market opportunities in the hybrid world. HPE's hybrid cloud solutions are built on the Helion OpenStack platform. The assumption is that increasingly popular hybrid cloud models offer the best of both private and public clouds, allowing companies the flexibility to scale in a cost-effective manner and still burst into public clouds in times of greater utilization requirements.
The hybrid cloud was designed as a modified take on the cloud infrastructure, where businesses build a small private cloud to host sensitive information, often using white box server solutions for best cost and configuration flexibility. If IT requirements at any given time exceed existing resources, the cloud can easily "burst" into an integrated public cloud such as AWS to utilize additional resources as needed, taking advantage of the best of what private and public clouds have to offer. 19% of businesses are using a hybrid cloud of some sort as of Q2 2015, and Gartner estimates that hybrid cloud adoption will reach 50% worldwide by 2017. But integrating public and private clouds is not as easy as flipping a switch, and additional support problems often arise.
So how do you adopt a hybrid cloud system that is safely secured and easily managed? By using a cluster management tool that lets you create and manage everything through a virtualized, OpenStack cloud. For AMAX's hybrid cloud offering, we integrate our highly-efficient rack-level cloud solutions with a comprehensive OpenStack distribution from Bright Computing that is uniquely suited to this task.
Bright OpenStack works by discovering bare-metal hardware and installing a Linux distribution over top of it. This Linux platform then serves as the foundation for a fully operational OpenStack cluster, which in turn can provision and manage virtual machines compatible with any major public cloud (AWS, Azure, etc.). The OpenStack cluster utilizes on-premise hardware resources and serves as a company's private cloud platform, and is capable of bursting workloads to the public cloud as necessary, making it a very effective hybrid cloud. A further benefit is the software's ability to deploy virtual HPC or Hadoop clusters using the same pooled resources that can be spun up as needed and shut down with a few mouse clicks after use, lending further versatility to a company's IT resources without adding further infrastructure overhead.
The hybrid cloud offers several advantages to companies looking to scale in a cost-effective manner. Hybrid clouds mean you don't have to overprovision hardware for private clouds, and are more secure and more flexible than mainstream public clouds. The biggest issue with the hybrid cloud right now is crossover capability, but using a scalable OpenStack distribution like Bright OpenStack that has built-in burst capability into public clouds is a turnkey way to shorten time-to-market for a company's cloud strategy. What's your company's cloud strategy for 2016?