When cloud makes sense — and when it doesn’t

Public cloud computing has surfed an extended wave of hype that may finally have crested. Sure, public cloud is fast and you can buy it with a credit card, but IT organizations have learned they have little visibility into what’s going to the cloud. Which apps are moving? Are they the right apps? Are they secure?  Do they meet compliance requirements? How much will this cost? Do they meet SLAs?

The reality is migrating compute, storage and workloads to the public cloud isn’t always the right decision. It comes down to cultural choices organizations must make about their risk tolerance and costs.

And the public cloud doesn’t necessarily save money compared to private clouds. The individual compute portion may be cheaper, but cloud vendors are offloading services onto the users, so organizations have to manage the cloud service catalog along with legacy IT infrastructure. Plus, it takes highly skilled IT staff to manage these complex hybrid cloud deployments.

A few years ago, options were limited. Organizations could choose between public cloud or an internal private cloud, but those clouds weren’t connected. Today, organizations can manage workloads across a hybrid environment and options for private and virtual private cloud have greatly matured. As enterprises migrate to this hybrid infrastructure, costs are going down. This is, in turn, freeing up money to rewrite apps as cloud native, create containerized apps and modernize strategic applications.

Let’s consider the options:

  • Public cloud. Leading public cloud vendors such as AWS, Azure and SoftLayer are providing a growing menu of services and applications to support the enterprise from dev-test to deployment. Costs are competitive and security concerns have diminished. Questions still linger related to latency, performance and service level management.
  • Private cloud. For a higher level of security or to meet data residency requirements, private cloud environments can come fully configured and are supported by a wide range of hardware vendors. Today, an integrated cloud management platform can now easily connect and manage public and private clouds together, providing greater visibility into cloud usage and governance.
  • Virtual private cloud. You can access multi-tenant computing resources within a public cloud environment and ensure isolation between the different users of the cloud. It’s a little less restrictive from an enterprise perspective than having your environment in a public cloud, plus more choices and options for configuring your preferred ecosystem.
  • VMware Cloud on AWS. Through an extension of VMware HCX, you’ll be able to extend your private cloud into a virtual managed cloud running in an AWS data center and get some of the benefits of public cloud without having to go cloud-native on an AWS build. This option is an important step in the quest for the holy grail of cloud — fully automated portability of workloads based on business rules. This option is uniquely positioned to bridge the gaps between public and private clouds.
  • Brokering services. Through the advent of APIs and automation, you can interconnect disparate public and private clouds through brokering services. Now you have workloads in all of these landing zones, and you can control them from one central location — operationally and from a business perspective. Brokerage services are now far more than simple cost monitoring tools. Providers can break down services by security, latency and region. Some systems include automated movement of workloads based on a set of profiles defined by users, which makes it much easier to manage when you’ve got a large volume of workloads.

Taking the next step

Unfortunately, most enterprises don’t spend enough planning time to weigh these options and make the most of their investments. Decisions are typically forced by a qualifying event such as a hardware refresh or the need to replace an aging data center.

Another deciding factor can be irregular operations. For example, we helped an airline client spin up virtual cloud deployments during harsh weather events. For the few days airlines are disrupted by a snowstorm or a hurricane, our client’s private cloud-based systems easily handle re-routing flights, baggage and cargo. When the weather event subsides, we spin down the environment. The airline doesn’t have to maintain the application – that’s something we do.

Incorporating change

In other cases, companies hit a wall because they haven’t changed their business processes. One of our clients in Europe, for example, was using a virtual private cloud, and they were wondering why it took two weeks to provision a virtual server.

We visited them on site and confirmed that the actual provisioning of a virtual server took less than 15 minutes. Upon further investigation, we found that the issuance of a logon ID and password was being sent to an internal security group that only met every two weeks to review requests. In that case, the company hadn’t changed its business processes to mesh with the flexibility of the new technology. So, to their end users, nothing had changed!

Looking ahead

Moving forward, we think companies have the tools they’ll need to make better decisions on what type of cloud deployments make sense from a risk and a cost standpoint.

Aside from the relatively few start-up companies that have grown up in the cloud, the reality is that most enterprises need hybrid cloud environments with some workloads in the public cloud, some seasonal applications in a virtual private cloud, and mission-critical data or intellectual property in a private or virtual managed cloud.

It can get complicated, which is why DXC works with clients to identify when and where cloud makes sense and how to get the most out of cloud deployment. Learn more about DXC’s Managed Cloud Services.

This is the first in a series on Making Sense of Hybrid Infrastructure by Jeff Moyer, DXC. Stay tuned for part 2, “The Brave New World of VMware on AWS.”


Jeff-Moyer-headshotJeff Moyer is Global Director of Infrastructure as a Service Offerings at DXC. He leads offering managers who create, design, and deploy service offerings for Managed Services for VMC on AWS, Managed Services for VMware (private cloud), and Managed Services for Virtual Private Cloud. Jeff has more than 30 years of IT industry experience and previously served as the Director of Global Storage Services for HP Enterprise Services.

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