Pictures can say a thousand words, we hear that all the time. I found this picture on the internet and I couldn’t think of a better representation of how customers feel today when thinking about Hybrid Cloud. I think most customers can relate to the guy walking across the trusses of the bridge, with high risk, difficult migration paths and no simplicity. What good is a bridge if it’s difficult to cross or in only allows traffic one way?
The body of water, or “obstacle” represents the challenge(s) businesses have today to move applications from their Data Centers on prem to the Cloud and back again. This two way approach is ideal for any business. While today, there are some providers that allow for two way application migration, these solutions force you down a single path, in other words you are locked in to their cloud, their terms and choice is nonexistent. Let’s break down what I believe are the three paths to cloud today that do not provide the simplicity, choice, and application mobility that should be the main tenets of any Enterprise Cloud:
Disjointed Cloud: This model is sometimes related to terms like shadow IT where teams outside of the IT Org that provides the Infrastructure Services are going into Amazon or Azure and swiping their credit card to get the IaaS that they require to develop and/or run their applications. This is less than ideal in any organization, not only from a cost model or security perspective, but also think about the impact that this has overall on the organization itself, rogue teams doing their own thing without the IT Organization even knowing whats happening. This model typically falls flat when the Amazon bills start to roll in and/or there is no thought about how to get these applications migrated in house for consumption, if required.
One of my favorite movies, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Anyone who has ever tried to move an application out of Amazon can relate to this! Once you cross, it’s quite a feat to get back, just ask Facebook about their Instagram migration.
All-In Cloud: This model is all or nothing. Typically, moving 100% of your applications to the cloud comes from a directive from Senior leaders within an organization, CIO’s, CFO’s etc because it comes down to a key assumption that is not quite accurate and that is cloud is cheap or cheaper than having your own Data Center for ALL their applications. The perception is that Cloud is a panacea that will solve all their problems and eliminate the issues that legacy IT models have. Don’t get me wrong, there are tremendous benefits here, life cycle MGMT goes away, Data Center space is not needed or re-purposed, agility to stand up services quickly, simple MGMT interface(s). Sounds great doesn’t it? Wait for the monthly bill. Don’t fool yourself, you are still paying for these things and since you have opted to house everything in the cloud, worse yet, you’re paying for both predictable and unpredictable workloads. Why would you pay high costs for workloads where you fully understand the performance/capacity usage characteristics? If you did a comparison of cost for these workloads, on prem vs cloud, you’ll discover that it’s very costly to house these applications in the cloud.
This is typically the reaction once the CIO/CFO sees the bill from an “All-In” Cloud Model!
Locked-In Hybrid Cloud: In this model we see tech giants like VMware and Microsoft offering their own Cloud Services, ie vCloud Air and Azure. This means that VM/Application Mobility are tied directly to their technologies, vSphere and Hyper-V. The expectation from these companies is that since you are already are invested in their products, you’ll be more apt to consume their cloud services. Because of this, you simply lose choice. You are tied into Azure or vCloud Air, their technology and their terms. Today’s Enterprise Cloud platform should allow you do deploy your applications anywhere. Any Hypervisor, Containers, Bare Metal AND/OR Multi Cloud offerings.
Source: Red Hat
Today, more and more, customers are looking at different Hypervisors, and run-times. We are seeing everything from a complete migration away from costly Hypervisors like Apple’s move to KVM, or what I see in the enterprise, migrating workloads like Tier2, Tier3 workloads to KVM and keeping Tier1 workloads on vSphere or Hyper-V. Same applies to container technologies like Docker. This is a choice customers have today however, these choices are not offering the simplicity and ease of movement of applications between these run-times and the same is also true for Cloud. When you look at consumer technology, choice is paramount for success. Take for instance a Roku Streaming Media Device. Roku has created a “platform” to deliver multiple types of content. You aren’t so interested in the device itself more than the choices you have with that device. One of the biggest benefits of Roku is that there is a ton of content and no “lock-in” to the media apps you want to use. You want to use Hulu or Netflix as your TV service, go ahead, you want to use Vudu or Amazon for your movies, sure thing. This is what we are used to in the consumer world and we will EXPECT this type of choice in the Enterprise. This will require a new way of thinking and a platform to get us there.
What does this world look like? Let’s go back to the bridge analogy. Think of this new world as a multilevel bridge with bidirectional paths to different platforms and Cloud Services.
The bridge is just part of the story and you’ll hear this analogy used time and time again. It’s the other part that’s the missing piece and that’s how traffic (applications) flow across the bridge to the destination and back. This process must be simple, without change to the application and with minimal risk and skill set much like today’s consumer devices provide all of us daily. It must provide consistency in application availability and performance between the different platforms.
At Nutanix, we are delivering on this promise. Our vision and direction is true and we continue to provide mind blowing innovation in the Application Mobility space. It’s companies that will provide seamless bi-directional travel across the bridge that will be successful today and years to come. I want to leave you with some demos that drive this point home.
Nutanix is more than just a Hyper-Converged Infrastructure company, we have evolved into the Enterprise Cloud Company!