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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Cloudistics Talks Barriers to Cloud Repatriation


As the world of cloud computing continues to evolve, VMblog spoke with industry expert, Christopher Myhill, VP of Marketing and Channel Sales, at Cloudistics to learn more about the rise of cloud repatriation and moving data from the public cloud to private cloud offerings.

VMblog:  The world of "cloudy things" is ever changing and one trend that is on the rise is "repatriation" from public cloud.  Can you define for readers what that means?

Christopher Myhill:  Cloud repatriation is the act of moving applications, related data and services from the public cloud to an organization's own private cloud or an MSP hosted private cloud.

VMblog:  Why are organizations considering cloud repatriation?

Myhill:  Public cloud service disruption due to bandwidth constraints, concerns over data compliance, control, gravity, locality, security and unanticipated cost overruns, as well as multi-contact support, are all drivers in cloud repatriation. Data is the lifeblood of business, so it is a major concern.

Let's address cost first since it is a major driver in customers moving to public cloud in the first place. Self-service provisioning sounds convenient but without much warning public cloud storage and bandwidth costs can spiral out of control with devastating and often shocking impact to IT planning and DevOps budgets.

Organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to control and manage these spiraling public cloud services costs, as discrete departments self-provision and often pay for seemingly small cloud charges out of pocket, circumventing IT procurement. In a large organization these multiple "small" charges per department can easily amount to combined six-figure spending on cloud services per month.

What's more is that these amounts are unpredictable and can vary dramatically from month to month. "How," you might ask, "is an organization supposed to gain value with such overwhelming OPEX?" How indeed? That's why 53% of enterprises surveyed by IDC are reconsidering their adoption of the public cloud. Returning the workload to the organization and its private cloud is the surest way to put a stop to this and regain control of OPEX. Many companies adopt a public cloud model to avoid shadow IT and yet are unconsciously and unintentionally encouraging it.

VMblog:  What role do data compliance, control, gravity, locality and security play in repatriating data and applications to private cloud solutions?

Myhill:  Data concerns are and should be the major motivation behind repatriation from public cloud to private cloud. Some applications and services are simply not meant for the public cloud. The information contained within them is extremely mission critical and therefore too risky and sensitive to trust outside an organizations private firewall. In the rush to public cloud, however, many organizations failed to consider the legal and user experience risks associated with shifting responsibility for the security of their own and their client's data, sometimes with hefty consequences.

Any time you have the pooling of high-value data from multiple organizations, in a single space, as happens with public cloud, that space becomes an increasingly attractive and potentially lucrative target for cyber criminals. Far better, if you're a criminal, to invest your resources in targeting a public cloud with multiple clients, and thus multiple payouts, than a single entity with limited value.

Thus, the burden of security becomes an increasingly heavy one for public cloud providers, as do the risks for their clients. Often the safest, simplest solution is to simply repatriate high-risk, high-value data.

VMblog:  Where does digital transformation come into play if organizations are leaving the public cloud?

Myhill:  Digital transformation is synonymous with a move from legacy IT to public cloud and discussions and planning for repatriation will in many cases raise the question as to whether this signifies an abandonment of digital transformation. The answer is, "Absolutely not, there is a better way forward!"

Private cloud offerings that are designed to provide the desired benefits of public cloud behind the sanctity and security of an organization's own firewall, or that of a trusted MSP, can and will accelerate digital transformation - offering companies a private cloud infrastructure that is easy to implement, deploy, operate and maintain, and with the added surety of predictable performance and costs.

To determine if the solution you're considering is capable of supporting your organization's quest for digital transformation, you should measure its ability to deliver upon these digital transformation imperatives: 
  • The ability to streamline your operation.
  • The ability to align more closely with business goals.
  • The ability to gain additional value.
  • The ability to increase IT agility.

VMblog:  What factors should companies consider when moving data from the public cloud to private cloud offerings?

Myhill:  First, they should consider if the private cloud solution they are moving data to can deliver on the promises that led them to public cloud in the first instance. In other words, does their private cloud solution offer security, flexibility, agility, scalability and reduced costs?

What about hybrid cloud? Some organizations may consider pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, which sounds great, but they must ensure that their chosen private cloud architecture is compatible with that of the public cloud. The entire value of hybrid cloud is predicated upon the ability to move apps, data and services between public and private cloud, not to mention provides business continuity for backup, recovery and archiving.

Compatibility and code portability for DevOps are imperatives but even if a hybrid cloud provides such capabilities, the scaling is often predicated on homogenous clustered requirements forcing a customer to buy more stamps or scale units than necessary creating an ever-increasing footprint once more tying It an business to costs they were trying to break free from in the first place.

Then there is the problem of multiple cloud management interfaces, dependence on the knowledge of command lines, runbook customization and the deployment of patches and updates that are often disruptive even when conducted during non-peak hours. Such hybrid cloud platform deployments may be limited based on public geographic distribution and the patch and update processes may require multiple contacts and reboots even when no support problems occur during off-peak hours.

The operational simplicity of the private cloud offering under consideration should be carefully examined. The KISS principle remains as valid today in the cloud context, as it ever was; the simplest solution is the best solution.  For instance, can your cloud environment be operated and maintained by a server admin or IT generalist or does it require extensive cloud competency and tribal knowledge due to complexity? It should enable agile methodologies and be easy to operate and maintain so repatriation is non-disruptive.

There are many more factors to consider when planning repatriation, but the ones I referenced here are those common to most organizations, regardless of the unique requirements and constraints of their business.

VMblog:  What are some of the biggest challenges Cloudistics faces in this market and how does the Cloudistics' Ignite platform and services alleviate customer concerns?

Myhill:  The Cloudistics Ignite platform is unique in that it was born from the notion that the customer experience is more important as the strength of the technology. This notion became a philosophy that is reflected in the first truly "Customer-Inspired Cloud." As a result it is built from the ground up with the user top of mind, and thus addresses and alleviates the major pain points for customers, delivering these key benefits as it does so: 
  • Easy to implement, deploy, operate and maintain.
  • Delivers predictable performance and costs.
  • Gives the customer total control over their business applications.
  • Provides flexible and independently scalable network, storage and compute, blocks that are automatically configurable to fit specific requirements
  • Uses open source software and KVM hypervisor - thereby liberating captive customers from the enslavement of a hypervisor license tax.
  • Comes with built-in snapshot and replication software for business continuity and disaster recovery.
  • Offers control over the entire platform via an HTML5-based SaaS (Software as a Service) web portal.
  • Proactive patch and updates and single point of contact support.

Finally, to further simplify and allow customers to focus on their business applications, Cloudistics delivers an integrated application marketplace that is hosted within the portal. This marketplace allows administrators and users alike to launch new operating system instances and application images as needed for test, development, or production deployment.

The result is a platform that is inherently geared to accelerate digital transformation, and which works equally well as a standalone private cloud or as part of a hybrid cloud solution.


Published Wednesday, April 18, 2018 8:30 AM by David Marshall
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