"We see a surprising amount of hybrid cloud," Cantrill says. "When we sell private clouds, there is virtually always a public cloud component to it." The advantage of having your private and public cloud on the same platform, he says, is that over time the business can shift between the two. Applications should run on whichever platform is best suited for their needs, not just in whatever platform the IT shop has gotten around to supporting. If it's a highly dynamic app with unknown spikes, the public cloud is best. Highly secure and performance-intensive apps may be better in a private cloud. Having a hybrid cloud creates one platform for apps to run in either.
Hybrid cloud is the platform that will dominate the industry moving forward, says Vikrant Karnik, a senior vice president at Capgemini who oversees the system integrator's cloud consulting business. He works with large enterprise customers to plan and execute their cloud strategies and says that many of the big financial and pharmaceutical companies, for instance, will likely never be comfortable migrating their entire IT operations into the public cloud.
The largest companies in the country, which are also the ones with the largest IT budgets, are using the public cloud sparingly for development and testing or backup and recovery. They have massive infrastructures already that support their operations they're not just going to throw those away. Because of that, the world will have to be a hybrid one, Karnik says. If these types of companies are going to use any public cloud, it will be as part of a hybrid cloud.
So then, how important is it to have a consistent platform between your public and private cloud and to be "all-in" with one vendor's cloud management platform? Today these big businesses already have mixed environments; they have dozens of vendors across their IT shop today and they haven't standardized on any specific vendors. So why would the cloud be any different?
Hybrid cloud is coming, and in many cases, it's already here. 2013 was the year vendors got their hybrid cloud strategies out in the open, and 2014 will be the year when customers start using them.
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