Companies are struggling to manage hybrid cloud models

With cloud services still largely proprietary, moving workloads between on-premises and cloud platforms can prove challenging for businesses, says HPE exec.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Businesses are struggling to manage their hybrid cloud environments, as public cloud services remain largely proprietary and do not always provide the same flexibility as on-premises platforms.

Enterprises are benefitting from public clouds while keeping some workloads on-premises, but connecting these two environments is still a challenge for them, said Joseph Yang, HPE's Singapore managing director. 

He noted that because hyperscalers are no longer just cloud infrastructure providers, offering various application services as well as APIs, it has become easy for business customers to build and roll out applications on public clouds. 

However, these are largely proprietary, making it difficult to navigate applications developed to run on one cloud in an on-premise environment. It makes it challenging to effectively run a hybrid cloud model.

"When customers think about hybrid, it's about being able to move their workloads between on-premises and public cloud as well as between [different] cloud platforms," Yang said in an interview with ZDNET. 

Cloud and software vendors have taken various approaches to address this, such as running an on-premises stack in a public cloud, on a bare-metal environment. However, this locks customers into the software vendor's infrastructure, and the cost of running bare-metal on a public cloud is high. 

Solutions currently offered by cloud vendors to manage hybrid workloads often have limited capabilities and flexibility, compared to what enterprises are used to with their on-premises environment, Yang said. 

He said HPE is looking to plug the gaps and offer a "unified" experience through GreenLake, a pay-as-you-use offering that encompasses the necessary hardware and software to help enterprise customers better handle their hybrid environments. 

Also: How edge-to-cloud is driving the next stage of digital transformation

The tech vendor is pitching its GreenLake as a cloud management platform that enables businesses to manage their workloads and data across multiple public clouds, data centers, and edge networks. Its GreenLake Central provides a single, integrated control plane and self-service portal, from which customers get a unified view of their IT operations across the hybrid environments as well as monitor various metrics, including usage, security, cost, and compliance. 

Private 5G networks can offer businesses more autonomy

In addition to the ability to better manage hybrid cloud environments, organizations could benefit from more control over applications they plan to deploy over 5G networks. 

As one of the first countries to have nationwide 5G coverage, Singapore should look at how it can facilitate and drive adoption amongst local businesses, Yang said. 

Specifically, he urged the need to look at how policies can be tweaked to allow for more experimentation around 5G. With spectrum currently distributed to telcos, this can be limiting for businesses that do not want to be reliant on a telco's infrastructure for various reasons, such as security and availability concerns. 

Telcos also may not be willing to invest in scaling up where needed to support on-site deployment. For instance, 5G mmWave signals are transmitted at higher frequencies with shorter wavelengths easily blocked by walls. This means more access points are needed to provide adequate coverage and connectivity. Telcos may not be willing to pour in necessary investments, posing challenges for businesses if they rely on a telco's 5G infrastructure.

Yang added that businesses would want to address other issues, like how to build a commercial model that supports service contracts and how corporate data will flow over the telco's public 5G infrastructure. These can be better managed with private 5G networks, which offer organizations control over data flow and network performance. 

In written feedback to industry regulator IMDA, Singapore IT services vendor Arete M also recommended the opening up of frequency spectrum for private 5G network deployments. This would ensure quality-of-service (QoS) could be achieved with minimum interference from adjacent deployments, where some coordination amongst 5G licensees might be necessary, Arete wrote. 

HPE offers private 5G products and services in its 5G portfolio, which runs on its 5G Core Stack native, a cloud-native container-based standalone 5G core network platform.

For now, Yang said HPE's Singapore strategy centers around GreenLake alongside data and artificial intelligence (AI), so customers can gain insights they need to better manage IT and cloud operations.  

When asked about the potential of generative AI such as ChatGPT, he underscored the need to look past the hype and assess its ability to scale. He noted that the compute and storage power that backs ChatGPT is significant, so there is work to be done around sustainability and optimization before it can be scaled. 

There also should be focus on how the data and content that powers ChatGPT can be kept secured, he added. 


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