“Cloud Is Not A Magic Button”

by March 1, 2016 0 comments

– Pratima Harigunani, CIOL

Cloudbusters may not be as popcorn-friendly as ghostbusters but they do have a lot going for them – public cloud issues like bad neighbourhood, pricing flux, outage-pinned domino effect, networking underbelly etc and at the same time private cloud question marks around cheap hardware, management layers, and application segregation.

John Yung, Appcara’s CEO, thumbs through this interesting plot that is building up between the two lands called public cloud and private cloud. What makes hybrid cloud tick? He answers on many levels.

Hybrid Cloud is coming up on the radar again and more strongly this time. How do you defend that proposition?

Currently, 82 per cent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, up from 74 per cent in 2014.While adoption of the hybrid cloud continues to grow, enterprises are still slow in adopting a cloud security infrastructure to fit their specific hybrid cloud needs. What we do at our organization is more than connecting to the cloud by making applications easily portable across the cloud, and that’s been a missing thing. Most enterprises have some sort of cloud solution but the level of sophistication that is needed in terms of production-ready answers is still a basic issue. When you have a hybrid cloud, interoperability is very important. One control panel has to give visibility into two different entities and if it cannot give that for two environments, it is not truly hybrid. Integration, portability and visibility are real attributes of a hybrid cloud. Not many enterprises and products have been able to achieve those aims.

Why?

It is both a technology and product issue. Why would a private cloud vendor give incentives to connect to AWS and vice versa. It is both about the technology and the model. Due to differences in base virtualization, interoperability becomes unwieldy.

Even with CloudStack, OpenStack etc around?

Yes, that’s the problem we are trying to solve. Typically, Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) started five to six years back and enterprises started looking at open models for lower costs and multiple environments, We are trying to bring control panels cloud connectors and single UI.

Can you tell how it works under the hood, given the multiple breeds at work?

It is possible through APIs. Our secret sauce is a generic work flow engine that allows us to hide all the complexity and keep things simple for the enterprise. We have been looking at a good footprint and some of our customers include One Asia, British Telecom, HP Cloud Serviews and Global Cloud Exchange.

Now that most companies have started to come out with management layers over the cloud core, would that concern you in a competitive sense?

Yes some major vendors have started offering services. Like VMware. But it eventually benefits us when vendors compete with one another. The more mixed environments come up, the more we have a chance at simplifying things. Customers like BT show the way we have expanded our footprint well. We enable SPs to offer services to their customers. We offer control panel and manage multiple environments and sometimes we also enable networking.

Talking of that, would you say that companies like Verizon or BT have an edge in the end-to-end cloud play due to their strong networking lineage?

Yes, networking is a big element in a cloud model. Some enterprises have their own legacy environments (like 80 per cent or so) and they know well that they need to migrate to a cloud world. Now there may be applications with dependencies on one another and that’s what makes the cloud game super complex. That can make a networking major’s cloud proposition strong by giving room for point-to-point connections throughout applications and back-end. We too have seen some telecom majors using their networking part to the edge here.

Thinking of Cloud, one tends to worry about outages. How does one address the fear of a domino effect on applications if one part of a cloud environment suffers something?

That is not likely as the control panel integrates visibility and not the data path. Applications keep running in their own SaaS environments.

What about enterprises that are tinkering with cheap hardware and private clouds of a new making?

For some large users that can make sense but for most enterprises it makes more sense to mix bare metal with cloud. There may be some applications where a virtualized environment will not be apt. Mixed metal can be a good option.

Any challenges that have surfaced?

With the rise of hybrid IT, security professionals have identified new challenges, including a greater number of network-connected devices (66 per cent), more network traffic (56 per cent), and new application implementations (51 per cent).

To conclude – what’s happening with the Cloud movement in general?

CIOs in the last 18 months have become more practical here and they have come to realize that cloud is not a magic button. I would suggest them to take the cloud move slowly and at the pace which their skills and resources allow.

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