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CloudSigma 2014 Predictions: Hybrid Solutions, Private Patching Mean Bright Future Ahead for Public Cloud

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Robert Jenkins, CloudSigma CEO

Hybrid Solutions, Private Patching Mean Bright Future Ahead for Public Cloud

With practically any technology that stands the test of time, there is an evolutionary process during which the original concept is modified to fit the demands of its users. After all, people's needs and wants change with time, like anything else. Technology has to keep up with users as much as users have to keep up with technology. This notion is clearly evident in the evolution of the cloud landscape up to this point and is what we can expect in 2014 and beyond.

According to Gartner, not only will cloud computing account for the bulk of IT spending by 2016, but nearly half of all enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017. This means growth for both public and private cloud infrastructures, and a healthier and more robust cloud landscape overall.

It is the evolution of cloud projects and what users are looking to accomplish that are leading to the rise of these hybrid cloud solutions. Simply put, they bring together the best of both worlds - public and private - while assuaging many of the concerns related to security (i.e. security of data traversing the public Internet) and functionality (i.e. scalability, provisioning of resources, etc.) that are typically associated with public cloud options. Consequently, hybrid solutions, while beneficial for the private cloud market, will actually prove to be more of a significant driving force behind public cloud adoption in the months and years to come.

Private Patching Takes Aim at Security Issues

Specifically, private patching-enabled hybrid clouds are going to make a big splash in 2014 and beyond. Private patching allows enterprises to connect their own private infrastructure directly to the vLANS of a public cloud. This way, they maintain the flexibility, scalability and accessibility that they love about public cloud, while eliminating the security concerns about having sensitive information traverse public IP. Their information will be protected from cyber criminals, data leaks and other risks that have worried would-be public cloud adopters for a while now and support certification requirements that many users face. Although, more and more cloud users (both public and private) are realizing that security ultimately comes down to the user - a cloud is only as secure as you make it. Private patching technology will afford those users more direct control over the security of their data and eliminate that feeling of vulnerability they've been struggling with for years.

It's true that despite serving as an effective POC environment for a myriad of new products and technologies in recent years, public clouds still present concerns for many enterprises that deal with highly sensitive information. Finance and trading information, for example, is far less likely to be found in public cloud environments than on premises because of a lack of trust in public cloud security. However, as private patching-enabled hybrid clouds effectively address those concerns and begin to establish the level of trust that enterprises seek, such organizations will have far less to worry about and far more to gain. There's certainly no shortage of enterprises that want to take advantage of the benefits offered by public clouds. And now, there's a way to do so without opening themselves up to security threats.

What about Functionality?

There's no question that private patching can protect organizations against public cloud security threats, but the bottom line is that no one is going to embrace a solution unless it can also offer the functionality they want. So, how can private patching and hybrid clouds accomplish this? Well, for starters, the combination of the two affords users complete authority and control over their cloud environments, meaning that there are no deployment, operating system (OS) or application restrictions that prevent them from doing what they need to do - or what they're accustomed to doing. If they've been using a particular OS for a long time and want to stick with it, they can. No longer will they be forced to make arbitrary changes that, in the end, only create additional work and headaches for enterprise users. Organizations will have more options than ever before, covering everything from software choices to resource utilization.

What's more, by using a public cloud provider that not only offers a hybrid, private patching-enabled solution, but also an open platform without deployment restrictions, any on-premises or private environments can be exactly mirrored in the cloud. That means that companies don't have to manage two separate environments or hire special teams to manage different applications or operating systems, thus reducing their deployment and operating costs. It also means that they can enjoy seamless bursting when certain workloads or processes need additional capacity, storage or power.

A greatly simplified disaster recovery process with streamlined data portability is yet another major benefit for enterprises using hybrid cloud solutions with private patching technology. In the event of a system outage or unexpected downtime, data, applications and systems residing in the public cloud will remain safe and can be easily used the way companies have always been accustomed to using them. This drastically reduces the negative impact such disruptions could have on business operations.

Changing Private Hosting Economics

The year 2014 will see end users increasingly taking advantage of dual homing for private and public infrastructure. By locating their private infrastructure in the same data centers, or immediate area, as their chosen public cloud provider, users can significantly reduce their connectivity cost to the public environment (sometimes to zero) and eliminate latency. Network-as-a-service offerings and cross subsidization of public cloud spend against private hosting costs will also become increasingly widespread.

As a result, companies will increasingly come to understand and take advantage of these possibilities to not only access public cloud benefits, but rationalize their private infrastructure hosting needs and reduce overall cost of ownership at the same time.

The Future of Public Cloud

Consider hybrid solutions as a stepping stone to more widespread public cloud adoption. There are plenty of people who love public clouds, and only a small number of things holding them back from fully embracing it. But, if they can enjoy all of the pros without any of the cons, public cloud appeal will skyrocket - and that's exactly what private patching-enabled hybrid solutions provide. By nullifying those security concerns, hybrid solutions will open the floodgates for unprecedented public cloud adoption in a plethora of new industries.

David Bartoletti, principal analyst at Forrester research, noted, "Hybrid is indeed the cloud architecture that will dominate. We're seeing over 50 percent of enterprises prioritizing private cloud in 2013 to 2014, and there will likely be very few private clouds that don't have a public [hybrid] component."

As these organizations solidify their private infrastructures and find the hybrid offerings that work best for them, public cloud adoption has only one way to go: up.

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About the Author

Robert Jenkins is the co-founder and CEO of CloudSigma and is responsible for leading the technological innovation of the company's pure-cloud IaaS offering. Under Robert's direction, CloudSigma has established an unprecedented open, customer-centric approach to the public cloud. 

Published Monday, December 16, 2013 6:29 AM by David Marshall
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