Analysts place their bets

Rising in popularity? Why 2014 is the year of hybrid cloud

Elliot Bentley

In the wake of NSA revelations, are on-premise datacenters about to become fashionable once again?

Last year’s NSA
revelations demonstrated the US government’s near-unlimited access
to data stored by American companies. Amidst the myriad
repercussions of this, perhaps one of the biggest commercially was
the effect it would have on the burgeoning cloud industry,

Some speculated that US companies could
lose up to $35bn
in revenue over the next three years as
privacy-aware foreign companies (and consumers) lose trust in
publically-hosted cloud services.

However, rather than some sort of digital migration to Europe
and elsewhere, this could be a driving force towards ‘hybrid’
clouds, predicted by some to be one of the biggest enterprise
trends of the year.

Proponents say that hybrid cloud provides, with full
interoperability, both the security of traditional on-premise
datacenters and the scalability of pay-as-you-go public clouds.
Many providers, such as VMware and Rackspace, are counting on this
trend – the latter of which sees hybrid clouds as a key advantage
of running OpenStack.

In comparison, Amazon have mocked the idea of private and hybrid
cloud for years. It was only
last November
that VP Andy Jassy revealed that AWS was
“spending considerable resources” on support for on-premise
datacenters, marking a change from the company’s claims that
private cloud is a marketing gimmick of the “old guard”.

Cloud hosting providers
told Data Center Knowledge
that they are already seeing
interest in these hybrid options. “We also see the
private-or-public cloud debate of yesteryear shifting to the
private-AND-public cloud debate,” said Equinix.

Peer 1’s senior VP of business development, Robert Miggins, also
weighed in with his opinion, stating that he was even more
confident, and is quoted as saying: “We have heard demand for
hybrid computing and the requests have intensified over the last 12

Influential analyst firm Gartner also sees 2014 as a big year
for hybrid cloud, recommending that enterprises “design private
cloud services with a hybrid future in mind and make sure future
integration/interoperability is possible”.

In their enterprise IT trends
for 2014
, it also suggested that a “cloud service broker” would
be necessary for seamless transition between the private and public
clouds, handling “aggregation, integration and customization of
services”. This so-called CSB would make it trivial to utilise of a
secondary (potentially private) cloud in cases of high demand –
sometimes referred to as “cloudbursting” or “overdrafting”.

However, Gartner says the infrastructure for this kind
of seamless transition is still far from mature, and that “the vast
majority of hybrid cloud services will initially be much less
dynamic”. Instead, early hybrid clouds will likely be engineered
only to share specific data or functions.

Still, it’s a sea change in terms of attitude towards
on-premise datacenters, already relegated by some to history. If
enterprises make moves towards hybrid datacenters, it could burst
Amazon’s bubble and see open source projects like OpenStack

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