The hybrid cloud is not a silver bullet

As more enterprises seek the flexibility of hybrid clouds, many end up driving them into the ground instead

"Hybrid clouds can save us" -- that's the mantra I'm hearing more and more from corporate IT these days.

You can't blame these folks. With hybrid clouds, you can leverage both private and public clouds and dynamically choose where processes and data should reside. Indeed, many of the cloud technology vendors talk about dragging and dropping images, data, and processes from private to public cloud. But it's not that easy.

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The problem comes when enterprises rely too much on vendor promises and not enough on their own architectural requirements. The vendors show up with their interpretation of what a hybrid cloud should be, enterprises understand the actual limitations too late, the budget runs out, and the plug is pulled.

The problems are the lack of architectural forethought around the business requirements to the technology requirements, as well as the absence of a clear understanding of the advantages and limitations of the technology available. Workers involved with these projects get caught up in the hype, feel pressured to get something cloudlike up and running, and hit walls they don't see until it's too late.

There's an easy fix. First, you need an honest assessment of the core requirements to determine if a hybrid cloud is appropriate. In many of the problems that I see, private clouds or public clouds -- not a hybrid -- are a better fit. However, some people are so sold on the hybrid idea that it's difficult them to change their minds.

If a hybrid cloud is needed, make sure to understand your requirements in the context of the available technology. Yes, you can knit it together yourself, but I do not recommend that at this point.

And remember that there is no silver bullet: Cloud computing platforms and products require that you make some trade-offs. That's fine. Just understand them before committing.

This article, "The hybrid cloud is not a silver bullet," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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