Analysts place their bets

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

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 months.”

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 vindicated.

Elliot Bentley

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