Feeds

Future of the cloud is hybrid

Mix and match data centres

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration

Cloud Unless hosting is your business, it is unlikely that the premises your organisation occupies was chosen with its use as a data centre in mind. Far more likely, space was carved out of the premises, bringing issues of power, cooling and square footage to the forefront when adding new equipment.

For small to medium enterprises (SME), the chance of moving buildings to address these issues is statistically slim. Full-blown hosted cloud services lack the warm fuzzies of having your own data on hand, and raw co-location can get quite expensive.

For some services, the fully hosted option will always have its place. The accounting database, and industry-specific and mission-critical applications are another matter entirely.

What is needed are technologies that allow businesses to keep their data in hand but make the heavy lifting, and associated power, cooling and space issues, someone else's problem.

This hybrid approach, not the oft-touted vision of fully hosted cloud services, is the future of IT.

Layer cake

The hardware layer required for private clouds has been commoditised. From SME offerings to data centre-in-a-can, enterprise virtualisation now comes shrink-wrapped with a remote monitoring service thrown in.

Data centre design – including power and cooling – has been offered as a shrink-wrapped service for ages. So long as Intel continues obeying Moore's Law, the hardware side of the equation will offer no surprises.

The real tricks are in the software. Hypervisors are becoming more than a dumb layer between the metal and the bits. They are the service management layer.

Eight years ago, live migration of a workload between two physical servers without interruption was the bleeding edge. Just as this neat trick became old hat, the latest hype – private/hosted migration – will also one day pass pass into the realm of tickbox features.

Juggling act

Environmental awareness is the missing piece of the puzzle. The ability to fling workloads to and fro amounts to nothing if you those workloads don't move when they need to.

Network-enabled sensors exist; software just needs to make better use of them. When the uninterruptible power supply serving a host reports a battery problem, a humidity issue or a thermal excursion, workloads should automatically be moved to other systems.

Workloads could be programmed to be moved into the hosted cloud if they pass a given activity threshold and push up the data centre's temperature too high, or even if the local spot price of electricity rises above the cost of hosting.

These technologies exist and some are production-ready

A fully environmentally aware hybrid cloud is not pre-canned reality just yet. To truly realise this vision with today’s technology requires a lot of scripting and a great deal of diverse experience. These technologies do exist, and most are even production-ready.

This is the next generation of back-end IT, the inevitable evolution of what is already in scattered use today. Software and services able to recover gracefully from failures, or even to offload compute-intensive tasks to a remote instance while keeping the data local.

Over the rainbow

To see this over the horizon is important, as the flexibility of these technologies offers a competitive advantage.

More than simply driving down the costs associated with data centre expansion, true hybrid cloud systems will enable applications to be launched first in the cloud and then migrated internally when the server refresh gives you more local processing power to work with.

That these technologies are still a few years from mainstream should not be taken as incitement to apathy. It will take time to prepare. Workloads that haven't been virtualised need to be, legacy applications need to either be updated or jettisoned.

Yesterday’s private cloud technologies helped to make the operating system less of a barrier to servicer delivery. Today’s public cloud offerings enable systems administrators at companies of all sizes to work around the data centre’s hardware limitations.

Tomorrow's hybrid offerings will change how we think about data centres altogether. Will you be ready? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Nice computers don’t need to go to the toilet, says Barclays
Bad computers might ask if you are Sarah Connor
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
VMware builds product executables on 50 Mac Minis
And goes to the Genius Bar for support
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?