True Hybrid Cloud Remains Elusive

Survey reveals organizations need a simpler way to enable consistent operations and experiences across multiple clouds. And clusters could be just the ticket.

By Erin Poulson

By Erin Poulson October 16, 2020

Eighty-five percent of enterprises consider hybrid cloud to be the ideal IT model, but a new report indicates that many are struggling to successfully deploy it.  

For the report Hybrid Cloud Is Here to Stay: Now What?, conducted by Vanson Bourne for Nutanix, 650 IT decision makers around the world were surveyed. A significant majority (69%) say their move to hybrid cloud is taking longer than anticipated.

The report defines a hybrid IT environment as one “with interoperability between private and public clouds that gives the flexibility to choose the right cloud for the right application.”

A hybrid IT environment also streamlines management and allows organizations to centralize security posture visibility and policy enforcement. That flexibility is needed now more than ever as the global pandemic continues to redefine where and how work takes place, according to the report.

“But flexibility no longer means simply using both public and private clouds,” the report stated. “It means having a consistent experience, tooling, and operational practices across multiple clouds to dramatically simplify the ability to move applications and data to the most appropriate cloud environment.”

What’s Holding Things Up?

That’s where enterprises are hitting a wall with hybrid adoption. The survey showed 96% of enterprises say they struggle managing applications and data across both on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

Another challenge is ensuring that IT teams have the right skills to maintain a hybrid cloud environment. 

“Public and private clouds require different skill sets, tooling and policies, meaning most companies often need separate teams, with different skills and knowledge,” the report stated.

Companies also face issues with moving applications to the public cloud. Survey respondents said migrations have been slowed because of the need to re-architect or re-platform applications (75%) and the associated complexity (71%). The report also revealed that shortages in cloud skills prevent 69% of enterprises from moving more applications to the public cloud.

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These are among the sticking points driving 95% of respondents to say they would benefit from a “symmetric cloud” solution that provides consistent constructs and operations across clouds — and that’s where clusters come in.

Easing the Hybrid Transition

New technologies are making it easier for companies to build out true hybrid multicloud IT operations. But as the report shows, that evolution has been challenging. Traditionally, if an enterprise wanted to migrate data or an application from its on-premises environment to the public cloud, it would have to begin a large, complex re-platforming initiative.

Re-platforming is more than a simple “lift and shift.” It’s an attempt to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities and up-version the application to run optimally in the cloud environment. These projects, along with re-architecting and re-factoring, require specific skill sets – such as the ability to completely rewrite an application – and can run into many problems along the way. 

Gartner estimates that “at least 60% of [database] re-platforming projects will fail, go over budget, or run late.” This is mostly because while it might be simple to migrate data to the cloud, it’s very difficult to get applications to work with that data, the researcher said.

With offerings like Nutanix Clusters, however, enterprises can move and manage applications across public and private clouds without having to re-platform or re-tool. Applications can run in multiple public clouds just as simply and straightforwardly as they run on-premises.

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Another new technology called containers, such as those used in Kubernetes, also make it simpler to migrate data and applications across environments. Much like virtual machines, containers are decoupled from foundational infrastructure. Each container has an application (or piece of one), along with its runtime dependencies, such as CPU, memory, filesystem, processing space, and more. Because these dependencies are included, the application works the same way every time, regardless of which cloud or operating system it’s on.  

“Kubernetes clusters on-prem and in the cloud can be managed in a unified manner. They have fundamentally changed what’s possible,” said Deepak Mohan, research director, infrastructure systems, platforms, and technologies at IDC. “[You get a] common experience and oversight across multiple platforms.”

Nutanix Clusters for AWS and Microsoft Azure takes the cluster concept even further in data centers running hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). 

“Nutanix Clusters allows enterprises to run the entire Nutanix software stack directly on bare metal public cloud infrastructure,” said Madhukar Kumar, VP of Product Marketing at Nutanix. 

“The Nutanix stack essentially becomes an application running inside the public cloud platform, and there’s no need for WAN connectivity services, or a new public cloud account, which can result in unwanted operational and data silos.”

IT can create a hybrid cloud “in just a couple clicks,” he said. They can use a single platform to move and manage VMs, applications, and licenses the same way in the public cloud and on-premises. This simplifies the need for a wide range of skill sets because teams can use the same “IT generalist” skills, tools and practices across the entire blended infrastructure.

Achieve Business Goals

True hybrid cloud capabilities empower organizations with the agility to respond quickly to evolving market or customer demands. According to a blog post by Steven Kaplan, VP of Customer Success Finance at Nutanix, deploying clusters can help a company in a variety of beneficial use cases.

Clusters can allow a company to temporarily add capacity via the public cloud when needed through “cloud bursting.” The organization can move workloads to the public cloud when extra capacity is needed, then move them back on-premises later. Clusters also form a bridge to public clouds, enabling a company to move some workloads to benefit from the simplicity, resiliency and scalability of the public cloud. Enterprises can also use Clusters to set up backup nodes in their desired AWS or Nutanix Xi Cloud zone for disaster recovery purposes, according to Kaplan.

With the growing flexibility to move, manage and secure data and applications easily across clouds and on-premises environments, enterprises are poised to experience the promise of true hybrid cloud.

Erin Poulson is a contributing writer who specializes in IT and business topics.

© 2020 Nutanix, Inc. All rights reserved. For additional legal information, please go here.

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