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The Future of Hybrid Cloud

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...

An interesting and almost ancillary point was made during a recent #cloudtalk hosted by VMware vCloud with respect to the definition of "hybrid" cloud.

Sure, it implies some level of integration, but how much integration is required to be considered a hybrid cloud?

The way I see it, there has to be some level of integration that supports the ability to automate something - either resources or a process - in order for an architecture to be considered a hybrid cloud.

A "hybrid" anything, after all, is based on the premise of joining two things together to form something new. Simply using Salesforce.com and Ceridian for specific business functions doesn't seem to quality. They aren't necessarily integrated (joined) in any way to the corporate systems or even to processes that execute within the corporate environs.

Thus, it seems to me that in order to truly be a "hybrid" cloud, there must be some level of integration. Perhaps that's simply at the process level, as is the case with SaaS providers when identity is federated as a means to reassert control over access as well as potentially provide single sign-on services.

Similarly, merely launching a development or test application in a public IaaS environment doesn't really "join" anything, does it? To be classified as "hybrid" one would expect there be network or resource integration, via such emerging technologies as cloud bridges and gateways.

The same is true internally with SDN and existing network technologies. Integration must be more than "able to run in the environment". There must be some level of orchestration and collaboration between the networking models in order to consider it "hybrid".

From that perspective, the future of hybrid cloud seems to rely upon the existence of a number of different technological solutions:

Putting these technologies all together and you get what seems to be the "future" of a hybrid cloud: SaaS, IaaS, SDN and traditional technology integrated at some layer that enables both the business and operations to choose the right environment for the task at hand at the time they need it.

In other words, our "network" diagrams of the future will necessarily need to extend beyond the traditional data center perimeter and encompass both SaaS and IaaS environments. That means as we move forward IT and operations needs to consider how such environments will fit into and with existing solutions, as well as how emerging solutions will enable this type of hybrid architecture to come to fruition.

Yes, you did notice I left out PaaS. Isn't that interesting?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.