Cloud Computing

The Case for the Hybrid Cloud Approach

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Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are moving to the Cloud to meet a variety of objectives. Chief among them are (1) shifting costs from fixed capital to operating expense, and (2) responding faster to business opportunities and threats. Some CSPs want to handle their variable workloads by using elastic computing capacity.  Others seek to try out ideas and get feedback fast but at a low initial cost. If an idea does not work, they can shut it down, without having incurred a large investment.  Conversely, if an idea succeeds and becomes popular the CSP will need to quickly ramp up computing capacity. A shared, off-premise, Public Cloud can satisfy those requirements. Indeed many OTT companies, and particularly start-ups, use only Public Clouds for their IT needs.

But most CSPs do not want to place all of their IT services on a public cloud. Over the last decade, CSPs invested hundreds of billions of US dollars on infrastructure and digital assets. It is very difficult and costly to migrate the applications that control and protect these assets to a public cloud. Indeed, the migration costs may be so high as to invalidate the potential economic benefits of moving the applications to a new Cloud platform. Also, in many cases, legal regulations constrain the placement and movement of data, for example, by preventing its movement out of their home country.

Most CSPs are combining their traditional data center environments with both public and private clouds into a Hybrid Cloud model. Sometimes these enterprises will need a cloud broker to integrate and manage the access to multiple private and public clouds, and their interoperability with legacy non-cloud systems. The Hybrid Cloud approach blends multiple unique entities, each providing its own deployment model and its corresponding benefits for different use cases.

Examples of these use cases include:

  1. Some CSPs are placing their Systems-of-Engagement (social, mobile, etc.) on a public cloud, while keeping their Systems-of-Record (CRM, billing, CDR etc.) in a private environment behind the firewall.
  2. Development teams can gain from combinations of private and public clouds for developing and testing, leveraging the ability to quickly provision and use computing resources for different periods of time.
  3. A CSP may run their production systems in a private infrastructure, and when they reach peaks of usage, apply public cloud resources for spillover.

Successful Hybrid Clouds must provide some critical capabilities:

  1. Connectivity, to provide interoperability between the private/public clouds and the legacy systems, enabling to shift workloads within a governance framework.
  2. Open Standards, to support open architectures that give clients choice of vendors, and to enable open technologies supporting multi-vendor environments.
  3. Security, to protect access to assets, to ensure that customer data is not stolen, and to meet regulatory and privacy requirements.
  4. DevOps, to support agile software development and enable real cloud innovation to deliver new services to the market faster
  5. Disaster Recovery, to survive disasters on a data center site by rapidly moving to an alternate site.

IBM has a comprehensive cloud portfolio of products and professional services to assist our clients and ensure their success in obtaining the benefits of using hybrid clouds.

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IBM Distinguished Engineer, Lead Cloud Advisor

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