Amazon Web Services cracks open the door to hybrid clouds

Its public cloud focus intact, Amazon nonetheless is making on-premises integration part of the official story

Amazon Web Services has always pushed back on private clouds — it's a public cloud, after all. But that tune changed a little when enterprises started to use hybrid clouds that mix AWS with private clouds and the enterprises' own traditional systems.

For example, at its Re:Invent conference this week, AWS shored up support for hybrid cloud deployments. But it did so without compromising its vision for the public cloud.

AWS’s recently launched services show it's becoming more aware that some items still, and will always, reside inside the enterprise. Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), for example, lets enterprises deploy a private cloud within the AWS cloud. Another example is AWS Directory Services, announced last month, which lets you connect your AWS resources with an existing Microsoft Active Directory if desired. Clearly, AWS's management understands that its cloud will have more value if it addresses the on-premises needs of the enterprise.

But for the most part, AWS relies on third parties for enterprise-to-cloud integrations. LogicMonitor, for example, has integrated its IT infrastructure monitoring technology with AWS’s CloudWatch API, so IT can monitor both cloud and noncloud resources through a “single pane of glass.”

Datapipe offers hybrid cloud services around AWS as well. The managed services provider can furnish private cloud infrastructure with direct links to the AWS public cloud. Other vendors offering similar types of services include Logicworks and CloudNexa.

In essence, the third-party vendors become hybrid cloud providers, picking up where AWS leaves off. Moreover, AWS can point at someone else when customers ask for hybrid cloud support.

Of course, AWS has been a part of hundreds of hybrid clouds over the years, so this approach is nothing new. What is new is that AWS is being more intentional about and accommodating of the hybrid approach, even as it continues to rely on third parties to handle the burden.

In the past, AWS pushed the responsibility to integrators and other third parties, and focused on providing its public cloud service. But with the recent announcements and services from AWS, it’s clear that support for hybrid cloud computing within enterprises is on its radar, and further support is likely forthcoming.

But don’t count on AWS to provide a private cloud any time soon.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.