October 28, 2020 By Puru Shenoy 4 min read

Customers face many challenges on their hybrid cloud journeys. Every day, we help them confront difficult questions.

Questions like: How do we safely handle data and workloads moving between our existing clouds? What are the best governance practices for cloud management? How do we improve connectivity between clouds?’

A closer look at a hybrid cloud platform built on Red Hat OpenShift

Our customers realize that a full migration to cloud — where they can take advantage of data and insights, have seamless management across systems, and be more secure and efficient — is the primary objective of their overall technology strategy. Only the cloud can provide agility, security, flexibility, and speed needed for their workloads, applications, and data. More specifically, only the open hybrid cloud platform realizes the promise of cloud and allows all of the different systems our clients need to use — without vendor lock-in. 

Before we go any further, let’s break down exactly what we mean by an open hybrid platform.

  1. First, there’s open. IBM is committed to open source and open governance. We’ve been part of the open source community for decades — as early as helping establish The Linux Foundation. Our hybrid cloud and complete suite of tools are designed to work with Red Hat OpenShift. Open source projects are invaluable to the enterprise, providing interoperability, portability, and security, and expanding our clients’ growth and support needs through access to developer and ecosystem resources.
  2. Second, there’s hybrid. The hybrid model is an architecture that includes many different types of cloud. You can have a private cloud that can be located on-premises with physical servers or hosted privately. Another could be a public cloud hosted by a third-party provider. It also incorporates multicloud, which employs more than one public cloud provider, as well as private cloud and legacy systems, and even newer technology like IoT, distributed cloud, and edge computing. The benefits of multicloud include not relying on a single vendor, increasing flexibility and cost by choosing the right cloud for your requirements – not fitting your needs to your vendor’s specifications. A hybrid approach also gives you more flexibility to meet certain local or industry-specific regulatory requirements by separating workloads or data into locations as needed, but running your systems in a centralized fashion.

Put everything together with a single-plane management system, and you get an open hybrid cloud platform.

The challenges addressed with a hybrid cloud platform

As mentioned above, customers on their cloud journey face numerous challenges and difficulties. Let’s go over them in a little bit more detail. 

Movement between clouds

We have spent the past several years working with customers to move or migrate their legacy systems to the cloud. Now, for a variety of reasons, customers need to move data and workloads from one cloud to another.

Cloud-to-cloud migration projects are performed for a number of reasons. The current cloud may not be adequately meeting the needs of the enterprise, or businesses might see cost improvements with a new vendor. There may be security or regulatory requirements that can only be met after migration.

The specific challenges are similar to customers who have moved to the cloud from legacy infrastructure. Customers must decide exactly which data and workloads are being migrated and must plan for downtime during the migration. Also, it’s essential to consider the financial costs and data security. Downtime costs are a burden that prevent many clients from moving to much more efficient cloud locations, but they don’t have to be anymore.

IBM Cloud Paks® are an open, faster, and more reliable way to modernize and move between public and private clouds, and this approach can reduce your expected downtime from days and weeks to hours. Cloud Pak solutions enable you to easily move and deploy containerized workloads uniformly and consistently on any infrastructure by leveraging Kubernetes as the management framework. This gives clients flexibility and an open, faster, more secure way to move core business applications to any cloud.

Consistency of management

The conventional wisdom is that complexity increases when enterprises add new clouds, but with a hybrid cloud strategy, it no longer has to be that way. How enterprises manage cloud complexity is a key factor in their ongoing success.

When customers say they want a ‘single pane of glass’ to manage their hybrid cloud environment, what they mean is that they want a unified console that allows them to manage all their clouds. Your console should be able to interface properly with all your clouds and manage and shift all your workloads. Managing an open hybrid cloud platform successfully should maintain visibility for each cloud, allowing developers and IT staff to update and deploy applications quickly while keeping data and workflows secure.

IBM Cloud Pak® for Multicloud Management allows for all of these processes — across all of a client’s clouds and workloads in a hybrid environment — and provides consistent visibility, automation, and governance across a range of hybrid, multicloud management capabilities, such as infrastructure management and application management. Complexity no longer needs to be a barrier to moving ahead with cloud.

Connectivity between clouds

Connectivity between the various clouds in your hybrid cloud environment impacts every aspect of your infrastructure. It affects speed, security, portability, data analytics, regulations, and practically every other factor we discussed so far. If your connections are not working correctly, neither is your hybrid cloud platform. Every customer wants to have the lowest latency and the highest speed is available to them. The physical location of your clouds and the connectivity between them has a tremendous impact on latency.

There are many things to consider when building your connectivity network. It is possible to distribute data around the world and allow customers in different locations to get the closest, most convenient data. Customers must also consider how their vendors route their traffic as it may affect their data and workflow. 

IBM Cloud Pak® for Integration helps support the speed, flexibility, security, and scale required to connect applications and data wherever they live. It comes pre-integrated with the capabilities needed to maintain business continuity, while providing differentiated, personalized customer experiences and optimizing channels.

Hybrid cloud is now

Hybrid cloud isn’t the future it’s now.

Our customers want choice, and they can have it by choosing the appropriate cloud for each of their requirements. Our customers have unique needs for latency or compliance and want open, containerized applications that can run anywhere, at any time. They can achieve these critical needs through an open hybrid cloud platform, enabling them to create more intelligent workflows, accelerate outcomes, and drive business transformation.

Learn more about IBM’s unique approach to cloud and how you can achieve an IT infrastructure that propels digital transformation.

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