Numerous studies show that organizations are rapidly adopting a hybrid cloud model. According to the Rightscale 2016 State of the Cloud Report, 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, and 71 percent have adopted a hybrid cloud. A 2015 Forrester Consulting survey of large multinational organizations found that 58 percent were already using some type of hybrid cloud.
Before we go any further, it’s important to establish a common definition for the term “hybrid cloud.” Many people seem to equate a hybrid cloud model with a multi-cloud environment, which simply has one or more public and one or more private clouds. The Rightscale report found that organizations are running workloads in an average of 1.5 public and 1.7 private clouds, and are experimenting with another 1.5 public and 1.3 private clouds. That’s six clouds total.
There’s a lot to be gained from a multi-cloud model. The public cloud minimizes capital investments while providing rapid time-to-value and virtually unlimited scalability. A private cloud gives you more control over mission-critical applications and sensitive data while gaining greater agility. By combining the two you get the best of both worlds.
The problem is that it’s not always easy, or even possible, to move workloads around in a multi-cloud environment. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a prime example. Once you put an application out on AWS it’s going to going to be difficult to bring it back in-house.
We have a different definition of hybrid cloud. In our view, a true hybrid cloud integrates public and private clouds in a way that makes it easy to move applications and services between the two environments and manage it all through one interface. You can maximize your existing IT investments while supporting highly dynamic workloads with public cloud scalability. You gain greater control over your cloud spend, and the ability to optimize performance and reliability. Instead of six clouds, you effectively have one.
Microsoft Azure enables the creation of a true hybrid cloud. Azure is an open and intuitive cloud platform that seamlessly integrates with your existing IT infrastructure. With Azure, Microsoft has not only built a world-class public cloud, but developed enterprise-scale solutions that provide a consistent architecture across public and private cloud environments.
- The Azure cloud platform is a suite of integrated tools and services that enables rapid deployment and efficient management of a wide range of applications and workloads. Azure also supports a wide variety of operating systems, programming languages and frameworks, with pre-built templates that make it easy to develop cloud-native applications. Pay-as-you-go pricing with per-minute billing can be scaled up or down as needed.
- Windows Azure Pack layers the self-service and management capabilities of Azure onto the core foundation of Windows Server platforms and Microsoft System Center. The Management Portal provides the same cloud experience as Azure, enabling users to provision virtual services and access web applications and frameworks.
- Azure Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform that allows you to bring Azure services into the data center. Azure Stack provides not only the cloud experience but re-creates Azure’s extensible service framework and cloud infrastructure so you can easily move workloads between public and private clouds.
In future posts, we’ll take a deeper dive into the features and capabilities of these solutions. Meanwhile, let us show you how Azure enables you to implement and manage the optimal combination of cloud services to meet your unique requirements.
Written and composed by our Senior Managing Partner, Stephen Soper