Unless your IT organization has been living under a rock for the last decade, it recognizes the need to leverage cloud computing for improved cost savings and agility—and the need for a comprehensive cloud strategy to ensure security and control. More and more IT shops like yours are coming to the conclusion that the sweet spot for cloud implementations needs to be HYBRID—a unified approach to cloud that delivers the best of on-premises and off-premises resources.
The benefits of adopting hybrid cloud are well understood. Chief among them is the ability to continue leveraging existing investments and skills in secure, protected on-prem infrastructure, while benefitting from the agility and cost effectiveness of rapid access to on-demand resources in the cloud. This enables business to quickly access resources to build or test new applications in the cloud but deploy them in the controlled on-prem environment. Alternatively, integrated hybrid apps are becoming more widely adopted. In this scenario, an application can be built and deployed in the cloud and leverage a secure gateway (like IBM’s Secure Gateway Service) and API connect services to access core business data stored in the controlled and secure environment of the enterprise data center.
While the benefits of hybrid cloud are clear, getting the technology pre-reqs right and implementing a successful strategy can be challenging. Fortunately, IBM has been helping clients through this process for years, and there are a few things we’ve learned about getting this process right.
1) Get the right private cloud infrastructure.
The most important component of a hybrid cloud is the infrastructure you keep within the four walls of your datacenter. These systems house your most critical business applications and data. They need to be always available, always protected, and always prepared to scale with the evolving needs of your organization.
The performance, availability and security of these on-prem Systems of Record are table stakes for a properly functioning business. To get the advantages of cloud, your core on-prem infrastructure also needs to speak the language of cloud. It needs to interoperate seamlessly with today’s prevalent management and automation tools to deliver simplified application provisioning, elasticity and optimization.
Sound familiar? It should. IBM and IBM Power Systems has been laser focused on ensuring our cloud and cloud infrastructure solutions adhere to open standards and can be integrated and managed by leading open source tools.
Of course, cloud, at its core, is all about delivery of workloads—and not all private cloud infrastructure is created equal. Power is purpose-built to deliver leading performance for the most demanding data-intensive workloads being deployed today—performance so solid that we GUARANTEE twice the price-performance as x86 for workloads like MongoDB. And while we’ve recently introduced systems specifically for cloud (Enterprise cloud servers like the E870C and E880C and scale-out models like the S812LC and S822LC) , any POWER8 system makes a great substrate upon which to build a superlative cloud environment. This remains true no matter what operating systems (Linux, AIX, or IBM i) you use.
2) Put the right tools in place to ensure security, availability, and seamless flexibility.
Building upon the PowerVM or the KVM hypervisors, Power is a virtualized, cloud-ready platform prepared to deliver the highest levels of security, availably and flexibility. It can be managed with the same open source tools you use for x86 with OpenStack distributions from Canonical and Mirantis—and the PowerVC tool exposes key OpenStack APIs for higher level management tools such as VMware vRealize Automation and IBM Cloud Orchestrator to integrate with.
Advanced levels of security and high availability are provided with PowerHA and PowerSC. We also offer Geographically Dispersed Resiliency (GDR), which is a cloud DR solution to provide minimized downtime through rapid relocation and restart of your most critical applications.
Power offerings build in elasticity and flexibility with Capacity on Demand for the high end systems. This capability will automatically activate and begin managing compute resources when demand exceeds available capacity. Customers only pay for the time resources are activated to address the needs of the business.
Finally, a new offering called IBM Cloud Management Console for Power Systems provides a cloud-based service to monitor your entire Power Systems landscape—no matter how many systems or datacenters comprise it. Performance data can be consolidated and then analyzed to optimize utilization and performance across all your data centers.
3) Keep your options open with public-cloud-based services.
The key to any successful hybrid cloud deployment is interoperability. You should plan on having more than one public cloud partner. This will ensure flexibility to identify the most competitively priced offerings and provide a variety of infrastructure options that can be integrated with your on prem systems.
Ensure your cloud providers support open source standards and APIs. OpenStack is the de facto standard for cloud delivery—and is supported by most clouds. Docker is the most common structure for containers which are being more frequently deployed by public clouds. You want to make sure the integration points and APIs provided by the provider are compatible with your environment.
There are many public cloud options that include Power. IBM offers Cloud Managed Services for AIX LPARs and bare metal systems for Ubuntu Linux workloads. The IBM Hybrid Power Systems for SAP HANA offering is intended to provide customers with the ability to integrate their SAP HANA solution with both Power Systems infrastructure and an IBM managed service through GTS—all in a hybrid cloud environment. If you are looking a rapid application development environment, Bluemix has integration services to securely connect to private cloud Power servers.
Additionally, there are hundreds of partner cloud providers around the globe delivering a variety of options for AIX, IBM I and Linux on Power in the cloud.
It’s not enough to feel a drive to move to hybrid cloud – you have to know why. Are you trying to improve agility? Reduce costs? Make your infrastructure future-proof? All of those things? With your priorities identified, you will be in a better position to guide your organization going forward. And for maximum assurance, consider getting help from a trusted partner such as IBM. IBM has a wide range of consulting services—from engagement as short as day, to full-fledged deployments. We have helped many take a successful journey to hybrid cloud and we can’t wait to help you get started.
Learn more about Cloud Solution for IBM Power Systems.