Towards The Blended Cloud

08 Apr Towards The Blended Cloud

Hostworks’ Executive Program Manager and coffee afficianado Tim Hartnett shares some sound advice.

Cloud computing means many things to many people. Like plenty of IT terms today, there is no standard definition for the cloud. There is, however, agreement that there are three different types of cloud – public, private and hybrid. It’s a bit like coffee: you can chose a single origin coffee or a blend, it just depends what taste you are after. Here’s how the clouds differ, and how your organisation can adopt a customised mix that works – and tastes good!

Public, private and hybrid clouds

Public clouds are those offered by providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft’s Azure. Private clouds have many of the characteristics of public clouds – they contain applications and data in a shared resource accessed through the internet – but they are owned and operated by the organisation that uses them. Hybrid clouds are a blend of the two.

In practice, most cloud users employ a mixture of these models because they are at different stages of cloud maturity with different applications. Their applications are a combination of internally developed and off-the-shelf systems.

Some are legacy systems depending on physical hardware that may be at different stages of migration to the cloud, and some may employ the cloud-based ‘as a service’ model – software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) – among others.

Attempting to manage these different types of applications, at different levels of maturity, can cause problems with configuration and harmonisation. It is difficult to merge multiple cloud applications into a coherent whole so that your organisation’s applications portfolio works together in an optimal fashion.

To bring it back to coffee, some folks like drinking single origin to really appreciate the nuances of the bean, but more often roasters look to create a blend that capitalises on the specifics of each one. The trick is getting the balance right.

Getting the right blend

Different types of applications and different workloads lend themselves to different types of architecture. Bringing them together – a process called configuration management – can be tricky.

What we here at Hostworks do is help organisations orchestrate applications across multiple clouds – public, private and hybrid – and legacy systems to build a consistently managed applications suite appropriate for your business. You might call it ‘a blended cloud’.

The coffee connection? A good blend will have a great mouthfeel. This is coffee lingo for the body of the drink – a bit like the difference between skim (no mouthfeel) and full-cream (better mouthfeel) milk. Then you want to have a nice aroma (just like wine) and finally nail the right aftertaste. This might mean blending some beans from Brazil, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. To get it right you need to know your stuff. That said, we’re better with clouds than coffees.

When looking for the right blend of cloud, it’s important to find a provider that adopts a holistic view, one that assesses the totality of your organisation’s processing requirements before creating solutions. You need to consider a number of factors when building the optimum blend of cloud and legacy applications:

  • Workflow– how business processes best function, and how they progress through the applications suite.
  • Scalability – applications need to be able to grow in size and complexity.
  • Adaptability – no technology and no application is static. They need to be able to evolve as business requirements change.
  • Management – a uniform view of the applications suite, no matter the technology that underpins each component, which allows it to be managed in a consistent fashion.

An important part of this process is determining the suitability of different applications to different types of cloud. Often business is ready to take advantage of the capabilities of the cloud, but needs help with the technology. Sometimes the opposite is the case – the technologists are ready, but the business is not.

Whichever the case, you need a proper assessment to ensure you employ the right technology, at the appropriate time, to best do the job. And when you get the mix right you can sit back and enjoy a really good cup of coffee.

Get in touch with Hostworks today for an obligation-free discussion about your blended cloud future. We’d be happy to take you out for a good cup of coffee.

Hostworks’ Executive Program Manager Tim Hartnett is a Project Manager by profession (Prince2, PMP, MSP) with a passion for technology and the sciences. When not plying his trade, Tim can be found spending time with the family (mostly), out the back on his surfboard (sometimes) or working on his weather control machine (more of a hobby).


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