Today many businesses are keen to move workloads into the cloud, typically with the aim of achieving a hybrid design which is part private, and part public cloud. The challenge is to bring the two halves together so that, from an end user perspective, they present a seamless whole.
While a hybrid set-up will always be more difficult to design and manage than a single-owner private cloud, it is now easier than ever to deploy virtualised workloads across multiple premises, thanks to newly emerging orchestration technologies such as containerisation.
Slow network speeds, once a key barrier to remote workload deployment and usage, are no longer a major concern now that WANs have become faster. And a range of products and services are now available to help enterprises implement a hybrid cloud set-up.
Before embarking on a hybrid cloud project, businesses must first understand how their applications operate and which resources they use, in other to create a robust design that will withstand not just day-to-day usage patterns, but also migration to another cloud provider's infrastructure, if and when that is required.
Integrated Platform as a Service
Packaged development platforms are a popular choice for easily creating custom applications in a hybrid cloud environment. One example is the Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS), which is used for building and deploying integrated apps in the cloud, and between the cloud and the enterprise. iPaaS delivers the integration that was previously provided by on-premise middle-ware connecting multiple in-house applications and cloud-based SaaS applications. But today, it expands that function to include the enterprise's own in-cloud applications.
It typically consists of a number of features such as connectors and business rules that remove the complexity of application integration, with the aim of reducing the time taken to deploy integrated cloud-based applications.
Integrating applications, however, remains a complex process, and iPaaS is just the latest of many technologies aimed at making the process easier and faster. For it to be effective, businesses must be sure to develop clear definitions of key metrics, such as the enterprise's technical, security and business requirements, the expected capabilities of the applications in question, and of course budget.
Cloud integration is a major undertaking with discrete challenges for each organisation to overcome. What businesses of all sizes and sectors share, however, is that success in this area is essential for the future health of their enterprise.