Walk, Don't Run to the Cloud - Page 2
The Hybrid Theory
In response to the concerns of the market, vendors such as HP and VMWare are promoting the concept of the hybrid cloud, which essentially allows an organization to continue to utilize their existing infrastructure, while developing new platform rollouts and migrating some existing technology to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud in their provider’s datacenters.
The idea maintains that a company could seamlessly and securely link their private resources with a highly scalable external cloud provider. Picture it as a proverbial ladder to the cloud; an evolution of current practices rather than an entire rewrite of the current playbook.
This solution could potentially ease the transition to fully cloud based services while allowing greater control of sensitive data, applications and mission critical services. In choosing a hybrid approach, a company could offload as much or as little of their I.T. needs as they choose at a pace that suits their particular business model. Even if only used as a test bed for product development, cloud infrastructure allows rapid deployment of services and equally rapid takedown when demand for products changes.
Most industry planners estimate a service lifecycle of approximately five years for server hardware and other support infrastructure, and following the recent rush towards virtualization, a mass migration to the cloud seems unlikely in the near term.
For all of the hype, this may be a blessing in disguise, as it will give providers ample time to refine and clarify their offerings to the marketplace. In addition, the delays may allow for regulatory agencies to update compliance requirements to account for cloud services, and for providers to develop and implement concrete safety and security measures to allay the fears of IT managers and their corporate handlers. For now, the industry will continue the slow march to the cloud, charting many individualized routes along the way.
There’s little doubt that the economy of scale associated with the cloud will eventually overwhelm whatever obstacles remain in the coming years, but in the meantime, slow and steady may truly win the race.