Data and application portability in the hybrid cloud

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Hybrid-Cloud-Dummies_TOC_400x640_Chapter-5You know those messages that show up sometimes when you’re logging into your bank account to check your balance? They’re the ones that say something like, “Due to scheduled maintenance, access to online banking will be limited,” usually over the weekend in the middle of the night.

Would you miss them if they went away? I’m asking you not just as a bank customer, but also as someone who works in IT.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could put a process in place to automatically move data and applications from platform to platform, to ensure that whatever IT is doing wouldn’t conflict with what customers want to do?

That’s an important question, and in hybrid cloud environments, IBM Cloud Orchestrator is the answer. It’s the cloud management feature that enables you to define patterns of activity that prompt data and applications to move among different platforms and systems based on where they’ll perform best.

To return to our banking example, you can set up a pattern related to when a particular batch update takes place, such as Sundays between midnight and 4 a.m. When Sunday morning rolls around, the online banking app and relevant data automatically leave the on-premises server where they normally reside and move to a cloud server where there’s no batch work to interfere with online banking performance.

Of course, this is all invisible to customers, who only know that they can bank online any time, and that they never seem to see those pesky “online banking will be limited” messages anymore.

To achieve the flexibility to move between cloud-based environments and on-premises systems, you need technology and standards that support portability. IBM hybrid cloud uses container technology to package up applications and data, and move them from place to place within the hybrid cloud environment. IBM is part of the open-source OpenStack project for managing those movements.

Open standards are essential to the portability that enables hybrid cloud to deliver IT flexibility and, in turn, business agility. That’s why the IBM Bluemix platform for app development in the cloud relies on writing apps in open, portable languages that provide those apps the flexibility to run wherever they’ll perform best, regardless of platform.

Portability also requires the ability to reliably synchronize data. If you’re sometimes replicating on-premises data to the cloud, as in our banking example, it’s critical that data sync between the two environments. Data synchronization capabilities are innate in resources such as Gravitant cloud service brokerage and Cleversafe object storage, which are part of IBM’s hybrid cloud infrastructure.

You can learn more about data and application portability and why it’s so important in the hybrid cloud by downloading a copy of the IBM limited-edition book Hybrid Cloud for Dummies. You’ll find it a very useful guide to take along on your journey to hybrid cloud.

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