Hybrid Clouds as far as the eye can see

If Hybrid dominates, shouldn’t you develop for them?

I was talking to my friend Misha Govshteyn of Alert Logic the other day about the latest versions of Alert Logic's Threat Manager and Web Security Manager. Misha was very excited because, with the latest version of Threat Manager, Alert Logic has enabled customers to have a consistent feature set and user experience whether on a public cloud or private cloud or even in an on-premise data center. At first, I didn't quite understand why Misha was so excited by this, but then I realized it - the future belongs to hybrid cloud deployments, and it is important that solutions are geared for that.

While the rush to the cloud is certainly in full-flight, no one argues that everything is moving to the public cloud, at least in the foreseeable future. In fact, enterprises only have about 10% of their applications and data in the public cloud, if at all right now. This number is rising and is expected to continue do so in the coming years. But even if it goes from 10% to 20% and from 20% to 40%, that will still leave a majority of the data and applications outside of the public cloud. 

That fact makes it plain that if you want to serve the enterprise you can't just have a public cloud solution, unless you expect your customer to have one solution for the public cloud and one for their private infrastructure. 

On the other hand, there is a significant hurdle to have one solution that works in both the public cloud and in the private. Inevitably, compromises are made. A solution optimized for the public cloud, if done right, is architected differently than one for a private data center. 

This problem perplexed Misha and his Alert Logic team for a long time. They spent a lot of time perfecting their public cloud security solutions. Over the course of 12+ years they had also developed a best-in-class, SaaS-based security solution for private data centers and infrastructure. Mixing chocolate with that peanut butter has resulted in Alert Logic's newest offering. It gives feature parity and consistent UI across the board. Having one solution that serves both environments is a big deal.

So if Alert Logic is doing this for security, what about other cloud solutions? Are they thinking along the same lines? Having two different solutions - one for public cloud, one for private infrastructure - may not sound like too big a problem. But put yourself in the customer's shoes. You have dozens of different IT products and services. Do you really want to double that number because you need one for the public cloud and one for private? It makes no sense at all.

So if you are a solution provider serving the cloud, you should be thinking of what your customers in hybrid environment will do. Conversely, if you are a solution provider who only makes an on-premise solution, think about what your customers that have data in the cloud will do. If the answer to each of these questions is they will have to use two different solutions, think again. Someone is going to come by and offer them one solution that works in both environments. When they do, you are probably through there.

The future belongs to hybrid environments. If you are not preparing your solution to be hybrid-friendly, you are making a big mistake. If hybrid is the dominant form of infrastructure going forward, how can you not be optimized for hybrid?

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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