Cloudy with a Chance of Value – Part 2

In this second blog post in a series about cloud, I’ll attempt to discuss some of the growing trends around cloud architectures as well as help educate.  From my previous blog entry, we discussed that cloud is merely a model through which organizations can consume IT services.

No Cloud

‘There Is No Cloud’ by Chris Watterston ( – Used with permission.

Cost reduction is a major trend for why businesses are assessing the use of cloud services as well as service elasticity and simplicity.  While we probably have all heard the terms before ad nauseam, I’ll reiterate and define them briefly so we can level set the definitions for use in this post:

  • Private Cloud: Dedicated or On-Premise Resources
  • Public Cloud: Shared or Hosted Resources provided by a third-party
  • Hybrid Cloud: Combination of Private and Public Cloud services which are integratedfor service management.

The growing goal for most organizations is to leverage a Hybrid Cloud strategy through which they can be prescriptive on where IT services may live and work.  The challenges most organizations find are two-fold.  First, is the cost of Private Cloud infrastructure.  Paying for resources which sit idle quickly waters down the return on investment.  These resources are usually substantial in capital costs to provide the same availability which the Public Cloud promotes.  The second challenge is maintaining the organization’s security posture, compliance requirements, and financial controls in an environment which is outside of their sphere of influence in the Public Cloud.  Trying to weave these two architectures together can increase operational overhead and effort without the right strategies in place ahead of time.  Below are some strategies I have found to overcome these challenges:

  • Implement policy-based infrastructure framework locally which can extend into the public cloud. The creation of policies which govern security and compliance, wherever the services live, is a prerequisite for Hybrid Cloud functionality.  These need to be controlled and applied universally to enable service portability between Public and Private Clouds.
  • Automate by leveraging the policy-based framework for your infrastructure. If users of your infrastructure do not have the same simplicity for ordering and instantiating services, then they will naturally gravitate to what is easier.  Ideally in a Hybrid Cloud scenario, users will not be aware if their service lives in a Private of Public Cloud.
  • Consider the use of hyper-converged infrastructure to lower the overall TCO for a private cloud solution. These software-defined platforms have built-in features and functionality to simplify IT Operations and are simpler to automate.  They scale quickly and easily allowing you the financial flexibility to provide just-in-time service operations in addition to integrating with Public Cloud providers.
  • Determine the IT service requirements and then design to them. Not all applications need to be highly available or compliant, so solve for what you need at an application level before defining the location for instantiation or the infrastructure to run it.
  • Investigate leasing to provide a consistent monthly bill for your Private Cloud. This allows an organization to defer some of the heavy capital costs up front while providing a predictable monthly bill.  This bundled with the use of Public Cloud economics will allow an adaptive blend of cost savings.

By embracing some of these strategies, an organization can effectively balance the elasticity of Public Cloud technologies with the control found in Private Cloud infrastructure.  A true Hybrid Cloud will allow an organization to take the guess-work and unpredictability of service mobility between cloud types enabling it to make a business decision on where a service lives instead of it being governed by technical limitations.

Copyright Chris Watterston. All rights reserved — Resale, distribution, intension to gain profit, or usage in or out of context of the artwork ‘There Is No Cloud’, in any format, is forbidden without written agreement by Chris Watterston.

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