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The future is in hybrid clouds

Many enterprises have commenced deployment of hybrid cloud models, receiving the dual benefits of public cloud offloading of infrastructure concerns and private cloud safeguarding of data.

Recent research by IDC indicates that almost half of large enterprises globally will have deployed hybrid clouds by the end of 2017.

Intel is a leader in hybrid cloud technology, and has contributed code, expertise, best practice experience, and leadership to the OpenStack open-source cloud platform. This platform is an ideal basis for any environment's cloud, allowing IT teams to immediately benefit from a proven, trusted cloud platform. With Intel's contributions, the OpenStack platform also leverages the unique benefits of Intel architecture, thus optimising investment in Intel servers.

In reality, the arguments of moving to the cloud are a new veneer on the debate from yesteryear about "buy or build". Should the IT department write its own software or buy an off-the-shelf product? In the same vein, should it adopt a cloud platform or manage infrastructure in the conventional manner?

The pros and cons now, like then, relate to costs versus competitive advantages. In the case of, say, a payroll system, there is probably not going to be a compelling business advantage in designing, programming, and maintaining your own payroll system. Therefore, you are best served buying an off-the-shelf product and customising it, if need be.

When it comes to infrastructure, is your company best served by having its limited IT staff maintaining ageing servers, while the IT manager fights for budget to upgrade old equipment, add storage, and implement automated backup systems, or is the company better served by offloading these low-end infrastructure nuts and bolts to a third party?

Enterprises make the decision to adopt public cloud services when there is a cost, flexibility, and risk management benefit -- much like choosing software. The immediate benefit is that IT teams can focus more on activities that add business value, rather than maintaining the infrastructure.

Yet, this does not mean that a company is constrained to only go in a single direction. There is no reason why an enterprise cannot move aspects of its business to a public cloud, and continue to manage in-house resources where business needs, or costs, dictate.

This is particularly true when products like OpenStack permit the enterprise to run a cloud platform on its own infrastructure, thus turning servers into virtualised commodities that scale up and out, and down and in, as load changes.

The hybrid model allows IT departments to save money and speed up the delivery of core services, while at the same time not sacrificing the security or sovereignty of important and critical data.

Using a hybrid cloud, businesses can still manage core applications and systems in-house, while freeing up the IT team to spend more time focusing on delivering business value and less time simply managing infrastructure, such as conventional datacentres.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure provides business continuity, and allows enterprises to scale up some parts of its infrastructure while retaining other components in-house, thus maintaining performance and security.