A guide to hybrid cloud transformation

How to create solutions that will bring new life to traditional applications and bring new capabilities to your born-on-the-cloud applications

A guide to hybrid cloud transformation
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Enterprises have made it clear that when it comes to cloud computing, one size does not fit all.  What we’re hearing from the market is the need for consistency with choice, otherwise known as a balanced cloud platform. Unique business needs, along with security, geography and regulatory considerations, dictate a mixing and matching of both public and private cloud solutions—thus the rise of hybrid.

Case in point, Forrester surveyed 1,000-plus North American and European enterprise decision makers and found that in the next 12 months 38 percent are building private clouds, 32 percent are building public clouds, and 59 percent are adopting a hybrid model.

+ Also on Network World: How to make hybrid cloud work +

With hybrid becoming the fastest growing segment of the cloud market, I would like to share some insights on how to create solutions that will bring new life to traditional applications and bring new capabilities to your born-on-the-cloud applications.

Key components of a hybrid cloud transformation:

  • 1 traditional application
  • 1 security model
  • 1 service-level agreement defined (can substitute a suitable service-level objective)
  • 1 or more sets of data (to taste)

Implementation:

1. Separate the traditional application into services.

Traditionally applications have been the way to connect users to data. The problem with them is they force you down a specific path. Today, developers focus on building apps for mobile devices or for consumption on browsers. These apps are flexible and comprise building blocks that can be combined and recombined in different ways. Applications are now built by breaking down those traditional applications into components that represent key functionality of that applications.

By combining and recombining those components into different solutions, the business can build new applications quickly. This can drop the development time, cost and risk to almost nothing. It will also allow born-on-the-cloud applications to make sure of functionality that was only available in the private enterprise.

2. Expand the security model to cover the dynamicity that applications will take.

This is done by eschewing the current model of there being simple layers to your security environment. Traditionally, the most secure stuff is in the center, with less secure stuff sitting closer to the edge. While you will still most likely have the most important stuff in the center and harder to get to, the information that can be generated by that needs to be accessible closer to the edge.

That generally means the need for encryption and other security tools become important. Technology such as Public Key Infrastructure allows you to ensure that data traveling between machines is secure and the requester is identified. Since we are going to have applications out in the cloud accessing information that has been traditionally locked away in the data center, special care must be taken to ensure this functionality is secured. Luckily the method of accessing information this way is through web technologies that have some fairly well-defined security protocols that teams already know how to secure.

3. Build marketable services.

This may be simpler than you think. Start with the capabilities that differentiate the business. Code exists in the traditional applications that make up the differentiation of your business. The key is to unlock them from your monolithic applications and put them to work to make money for the company.

Not sure where to start? Start with capabilities that business units need. Not only will this make it easer for them to move quickly, but it will help you understand the value of the services—a necessary part of determining the price of the services you will provide.

4. Define a storage management plan that is commensurate with application needs.

Today, most companies struggle with a data replication model that is untenable. Data is moved from the database of record multiple times and causes problems as it becomes more and more difficult to deal with latency and consistency of the data. A cohesive storage management plan will not only ensure that latency and consistency issues are kept to a minimum, but it will reduce cost.

Closing thoughts

Hybrid cloud is a paradigmatic change in IT. Not only will it end up changing how resources are consumed, but it will fundamentally change the business model of IT. Traditional IT is charged for by the box or a fraction of a box. As the industry moves to a pay-for-use model, people will pay only for components of the systems that they use.

While that might seem like a losing proposition, the focus on profitable services will drive new revenue into the business. As the services attract consumers from outside the company, IT can turn from being a company’s cost center to a profit center. This will affect the company’s focus on IT, ensuring corporate investment and bringing a new era of interest in corporate IT. This hybrid transformation will quickly become your go to strategy for increased revenue, not only for IT but for the entire company.

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