Software to manage hybrid cloud environments, which VMware defines as the use of both private and public cloud platforms, working in conjunction, is not a new concept. Recently, however, hybrid cloud management software has become more in demand as businesses discover their public cloud services and on-premises infrastructure are more interdependent than they realized.
Back in 2017, Dave Bartoletti - Forrester’s principal analyst - said, “When a business builds a web app in the public cloud and maintains data from the app in an on-premises data center, you have a hybrid cloud”. Based on that definition, hybrid clouds have been around since August 2006 when AWSs launched its Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) service. This is true insofar as it’s a hybrid cloud strategy, but a true hybrid cloud is more than a strategy, hybrid implies that there is some level of integration between the public and private cloud. This is, of course, what most enterprises are seeking and vendors such as VMware have responded with new services such as VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS). A true hybrid cloud, however, presents new management and optimization challenges.
Cloud Service Providers offer proprietary cloud management software to manage their specific cloud service. Identifying an opportunity to develop software for managing multiple public clouds as well as on-premises private clouds, several vendors, including CloudHealth developed multicloud management software and later extended multicloud capabilities to include hybrid cloud.
Today, enterprises are migrating workloads to public clouds, evolving traditional data center infrastructure into a private cloud, and exploring how to bring the two worlds together as a hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud promises the best of both worlds - the flexibility, speed, and economics of public cloud and the security and control of a private cloud. In reality, customers face a new level of complexity and new requirements for visibility, governance, and optimization. Technology vendors are moving quickly to bring new solutions to market.
The acquisition of CloudHealth Technologies by VMware is an example of how a leading technology vendor is striving to meet the needs of customers. VMware has not only introduced VMware Cloud to accelerate hybrid cloud adoption, but brought CloudHealth into the fold to offer consistent multicloud and hybrid cloud management.
Increasing Complexity is not the Only Reason
The increasing complexity of hybrid environments isn’t the only reason why cloud management software is adding hybrid cloud capabilities. Indeed, it may not be the main reason. Many businesses are only just waking up to the fact that they’re operating in a hybrid environment, and likely have been for some time. This phenomenon - known as “hybrid by accident” - is widely regarded to relate to businesses that have moved into a hybrid environment organically without a plan or strategy.
According to Forrester’s “Hybrid IT Strategy Insights” (PDF), two-thirds of businesses who acknowledge they are operating in a hybrid environment got there without realizing it. Considering many surveys report hybrid cloud adoption rates at around twenty percent, this implies a further forty percent of businesses are operating in a hybrid environment without knowing it. This assumption is supported by Forrester’s Dave Bartoletti, who believes sixty percent of businesses operate in a hybrid environment.
The reason why businesses are only now waking up to the nature of their environments is attributable to a better understanding of what a hybrid environment is. Most industry professionals use the following definition:
The term “hybrid cloud” describes the combined use of at least one private cloud and at least one public cloud service, with some degree of integration between the two cloud environments.
The “some degree of integration” does a lot of work in that sentence. VMware defines it more precisely by noting that hybrid cloud features common infrastructure and consistent operations. The benefits to customers include application and workload portability and streamlined management. But regardless of how enterprises define their hybrid cloud, they are most certainly driving the demand for hybrid cloud management solutions.
Solving Challenges is a Further Reason
Business operating in hybrid environments - whether they know it or not - tend to experience more challenges than businesses operating exclusively in a public or virtual private cloud, or exclusively in an on-premises environment. Even with a common hybrid cloud infrastructure, there are new operational and optimization challenges that vary from business to business, but primarily consist of:
- Consistent visibility and management of public and private cloud resources
- Workload migration and management
- Cost Management
- Cloud Governance
- Security and compliance
The current generation of hybrid cloud management solutions has been developed to address these challenges, based on the experiences of businesses who were quick to acknowledge they were operating in a hybrid environment. As a result, it’s not too late for “hybrid by accident” businesses to implement measures that reduce the frequency of hybrid cloud challenges and mitigate their consequences.
Find Out More about Hybrid Cloud Management Solutions
If your business operates in a hybrid environment - either by accident or by design - find out how CloudHealth from VMware can simplify the management of your environment, help resolve security and compliance issues, and better control costs and performance. Our friendly team of cloud experts will be happy to answer your questions, and invite you to take advantage of a free demo of the CloudHealth platform in order to see hybrid cloud management in action.