Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: The Art of the Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud growth leaves enterprises scrambling for control

While the uptake of hybrid cloud has been solid this year, enterprises are now scratching their heads about how to bring governance and control back into their business.

Earlier this year, cloud adoption was still ramping up. But now, as 2014 draws to an end, Accenture Australia's cloud computing lead Alison Cairns said the market has moved so quickly it has done a complete flip.

"We've now reached the point where everyone and anyone out there are trying the cloud," she said.

Cairns said there are three distinct customer groups that are emerging as a result of the mass uptake.

"The first are called native, which means you're born in the cloud, so if you've got some unique piece of business or you want to do something new, you usually go out and purchase the cloud so it's not coupled to your legacy," she said.

"The next one is transformational, where clients are saying, 'I've had a taste of the cloud and now I want to move my traditional data across the cloud'.

"The third group is what we call legacy, where there are certain workloads that some will never move from legacy — or not that we can predict in the next five years."

However, a majority of enterprises — from industries including media and communications, technology, the public sector, logistics and transport, financial and insurance, and resources and energy — make up a combination of all three customer groups, which essentially means that they are all leveraging hybrid cloud infrastructures, Cairns said.

"Six to nine months ago, people were saying they wanted to get into cloud, but only in private. The public cloud has come so far so quickly that people want to put their stuff out in public, as well as private, and move their workloads around," she said.

Cairns explained that the reason why there has been such a quick uptake in such a short period of time is because enterprises have realised the advantages a cloud environment can provide, such as the increased freedom to be agile and innovative.

"It's almost the freedom to fail quietly. So you can go out and be innovative, and if it does work, you can expand madly on public and on private. It's just so much more accessible," she said.

But because the uptake has been so rapid, Cairns said many enterprises are now wrangling with multiple cloud accounts, while learning how to balance shifting workloads from legacy and into the cloud.

"Some of our clients are saying they think they have about two or three cloud accounts, but it turns out they've got as many as 20, mainly because the cloud is so incredibly accessible you don't need to go to IT; you can just get your credit card out and log on. It's happening across the board, be it from the home user to enterprises," she said.

In turn, enterprises are realising the need for a cloud management solution to bring the governance and control back into the business so that the company has a single view of its entire cloud operation, Cairns said. This covers knowing about all the cloud contracts that exists within the business, when workloads are spun up and down, what workloads exists in the cloud, who has access to it, and whether the business is getting the best out of its private and public cloud.

"It's a great problem to have, but at the same time you need to bring the governance and control back in as well," Cairns warned.

More specifically, Cairns said enterprises are demanding help in two areas when it comes to cloud management. The first is around managing and provisioning their own virtual machines, and the second is around how to manage their cloud infrastructure before it's too late.

"We don't want them to turn around and go, 'How do I manage this?'," Cairns said.