As you may have recently read, my colleague Sam Cavaliere published a great write-up on EMC Hybrid Cloud, talking through some of the architecture and describing a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) use case example. As Sam explained, EMC demonstrated building a hybrid cloud in just 48 hours at EMC World in May, and it had many of our customers talking. With good reason, too. The cloud, in general, is a constant topic of conversation when we talk to our customers and partners.
I’d like to take you through a series of blog posts that covers the EMC Hybrid Cloud, going from why customers are looking for this type of solution, all the way through a discussion of the architecture that enables it. In this post, I’d like to tackle the important topic of why you need a hybrid cloud.
Define the Problem
When we work with our customers, one the first questions we often ask is “What is the problem you’re trying to solve?” We’ve had many of these conversations with our customers over the last several years, and we hear a lot of common themes, pain points, and problems they are trying to solve. Here is a small sampling of a few, and don’t be surprised if they also sound familiar to you.
- “I want to deliver IT as a Service (ITaaS), not just make it easier for developers and users to deploy new servers.”
- “My customers, the business units within my company, are increasingly moving to services like Amazon or other public cloud providers, because IT cannot meet their needs for self-service, fast provisioning, and scalability.”
- “I want to be able to incorporate both my on-premises cloud services as well as public cloud offerings in my overall cloud strategy.”
With the problem statements defined and pain points understood, we can go about finding solutions.
IT as a Service
Adopting an ITaaS strategy is not just about making it easy to deploy new infrastructure. Sure, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a key component of ITaaS, but a true ITaaS strategy automates all of IT. Examples include: deploying a new server or application for developer in either a public or private cloud; kicking off an HR process for a new hire that automatically provisions a mailbox, a virtual desktop, and home directory; or provisioning storage to support a new project. All of this is done from a single self-service portal that contains the services available in the service catalog—with the heavy lifting to automate being performed completely behind the scenes, so it remains totally transparent to the user.
Today, many public cloud providers can address aspects of that but it’s difficult to address it all (especially from a single portal). Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, can interface with both on-premises systems and the public cloud to provide a seamless solution for delivery of ITaaS.
Going Around IT
If I had a dollar for every time I heard stories about users going around IT to get what they need, I’d probably be writing this blog post from a fancy boat instead of a cramped seat on a flight to San Francisco. The truth is, today it is easier than ever to simply take a credit card and log in to your favorite public cloud provider—and minutes later you’ve got the new server you need. It becomes so easy, you do it again and again until you’ve got a monthly credit card bill totaling in the tens of thousands of dollars (or in some cases, hundreds of thousands or more).
Combine that with the fact that IT has now lost control of that asset. IT can no longer control availability, include it as part of a DR strategy, or properly protect the server or the data it contains. When IT can’t deliver services quickly and easily, that’s when users start looking for alternatives. With hybrid cloud, IT can deliver that same service using both on-premises resources, as well as the public cloud offerings—all with that same easy-to-provision, pay-as-you-go services model from companies like Amazon.
Mixing On-Prem and Off-Prem
IT wants to provide services to users in a way such that the user doesn’t know, or frankly care, where the services are coming from. After all, if users can select the resources they need from a service catalog, and those services are delivered automatically, it is unlikely that they will care whether those services were delivered from on-premises or off-premises resources.
The hybrid cloud is designed to meet these requirements exactly. Hybrid clouds allow IT to provision resources from on-premises and off-premises clouds depending on the requirements for cost, availability, or any number of other pre-defined requirements. The choice can be made transparent to the user, or the user can be presented with different options and can choose based on cost or other requirements.
In this post we’ve covered just a few of the reasons why customers are exploring hybrid clouds and why many are so interested in the EMC Hybrid Cloud solution. In my next post, I’ll cover what the EMC Hybrid Cloud is and how it can help customers start down the path to adopting a true ITaaS model for IT.