Defining a “Well-Run Hybrid Cloud”

Let’s try and build a sensible definition of the phrase “well-run hybrid cloud.”

Many IT departments would argue that they have created a “well-run internal cloud.” This means, for example, that they can place a checkmark next to five common cloud characteristics (as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology or NIST):

  • On demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured service


If each of these attributes is indeed in place does that make a private cloud “well-run?”

Not necessarily.

A private cloud is only well-run if the end users believe it to be so! These end users happen to rely on a different set of metrics – cost, ease, time, and agility. They view NIST’s five cloud characteristics as table stakes.

Therefore the first step in creating a well-run hybrid cloud is to create a well-run private cloud by bringing together IT’s metrics with those of the end user:

Characteristics of a Well-Run Private Cloud

Once this happens, the end user begins to prefer the selection of private cloud IT resources in many cases. If this occurs, your private cloud has reached “well-run” status.

It is then (and only then) that IT can take the next step: becoming a broker for external services. Once again, the end user has a set of expectations that must be met in order to achieve the label of “well-run.”

  • Clear advertisement of services (internal or external)
  • Clear pricing
  • Published service levels
  • Self-provisioned
  • Automated deployment of the services

The first and last bullets in the list above represent two key litmus tests for earning the label of a “well-run hybrid cloud”.  A hybrid cloud is well-run if advertising its services don’t cause the end user to ask whether the services are provided privately or publicly. The end user feels no need to shop for public services that have better metrics.

And finally, the automated deployment of services, often called right-sourcing, seamlessly issues the application internally or externally to give the end user the most benefit across the metrics established above.

For EMC World attendees, I recommend attending Build-A-Hybrid-Cloud LIVE (Booth #850) to see live demonstrations and gain a more thorough understanding of how a well-run hybrid cloud can be built in practice.

About the Author: Steve Todd

Steve Todd is the Vice President of Data Innovation and Strategy in the Dell Technologies Office of the CTO. He is a long-time inventor in high tech, having filed over 300 patent applications with the USPTO, and his innovations and inventions have generated tens of billions of dollars in global customer purchases. Steve actively researches the value of data and is currently the Head of the Data Office focused on extracting new forms of value from internal data assets. Most recently, Steve co-founded and launched Project Alvarium, an open-source research platform for valuing trustworthy data in a data confidence fabric (DCF). Steve is a Dell Technologies’ Fellow with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Computer Science from the University of New Hampshire.