The hybrid cloud and outages: Who you gonna call?
By Benjamin Cher August 10, 2016
- The hybrid model looks set to become the default cloud model
- This raises the issue of accountability and recovery when something goes wrong
IT was not too long ago that vendors were proclaiming the benefits of going completely to the cloud, but today, most are adopting a hybrid cloud approach, keeping some data and functions in-house or on private clouds, while pushing the rest to the public cloud.
But this now raises the issue of accountability and recovery when something goes wrong: That is, who you gonna call?
Finding the cause of a network outage in the past was a lot easier with on-premises systems, as the IT department just needed to ensure all the boxes were working correctly.
In today’s hybrid world, this gets complicated because some of the infrastructure isn’t within the company’s walls, noted Joseph Kim, chief technology officer at IT management software provider SolarWinds.
“Without that visibility, it’s hard to know where the issues are coming from, and you end up burning a lot of time,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Singapore recently.
This was exactly what SolarWinds faced a few weeks back. “Back in our headquarters in Austin, Texas, we had an issue hitting Salesforce.com,” he said, referring to the US Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) giant.
“The IT department got a call from my boss Kevin [Thompson, the chief executive officer], asking what was going on with Salesforce.
“They [the IT department] were running around trying to ping it and nothing was coming up – using our toolsets internally … they found an actual fibre issue in Dallas; the actual cable got cut,” he added.
There are three fundamental things that businesses need to be cognisant of, according to Kim.
The first is that “the network backbone is directly linked to the business – it is no longer just about IT,” he said.
The second is the growing complexity of the network as more and more devices are connected, which means network visibility is even more important.
The third and final fundamental is “that hybrid is real” and companies need to handle situations with that understanding.
That does not mean that the vendor hype about the benefits of the cloud was merely that: Hype.
“All the benefits around the cloud are still true – [the cloud] is still very useful, it gives your business flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiencies, depending on the type of service,” said Kim (pic).
In the Solarwinds IT Trends Report 2016: The Hybrid IT Revolution, which surveyed 100 IT professionals in Singapore among others, 92% said that adopting cloud technologies was important to their business.
In the survey, 92% of those in Singapore said that if they did not go to the public cloud, their business would be at a disadvantage (and 38% of those said it was ‘extremely important’ to adopt cloud technologies).
“If you look at the numbers globally, they are very similar – in Australia, it hiked up to 95%, in North America it was about 90%, and globally more than 90% believe that the public cloud is important for their strategy,” said Kim.
“More importantly, more than 90% of those people have already shifted some infrastructure out to the public cloud – in Singapore, about 43% intend to move half of their compute to the public cloud, some even more than half,” he added.
But 62% of IT professionals in Singapore said it was unlikely that all their infrastructure would be migrated to the cloud. “So hybrid is real at least for the foreseeable future,” said Kim.
Which leads back to the accountability issue: Most of the focus has been on migrating to the cloud and managing the public cloud pieces.
“So a lot of the hybrid management capabilities did not really exist in the market,” said Kim.
Barriers and issues
Like with any new technology, there are barriers to adoption and it is no different with the hybrid cloud model.
The SolarWinds survey identified the top three barriers as:
- Security/ compliance concerns;
- The need to support legacy systems; and
- Convincing business decision-makers of the need or benefits.
These three barriers can be addressed through visibility, monitoring and management, according to Kim.
“Without having that visibility, and if your tools are only for on-premises or only for the public cloud … that middle section becomes really grey.
“Once you move your compute [to the cloud], your traffic patterns really change … your endpoints will be all over the place, but the visibility, monitoring and management need to be in one place,” he added.
This would also help in vendor management, allowing the IT department to zero in on whom to call about any network outage.
“Vendor management is difficult, especially if you don’t have visibility,” said Kim.
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