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When “effortless” is anything but: Today’s cloud washing is all about hybrid

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For the past few years cloud washing was a practice IT vendors used to paint their not-necessarily-cloudy products as cloudy. It was widespread and obnoxious. It would be nice to say that the trend dissipated, but that is not the case. It has just morphed into hybrid cloud washing.

Hybrid is everywhere. As companies weigh decisions about what workloads to move to the cloud, vendors are using the descriptor to persuade potential customers that their workloads will move “seamlessly” or “effortlessly” between their private cloud and some public cloud. If only saying it made it so.

HP cloud evangelist Margaret Dawson
HP cloud evangelist Margaret Dawson

The fact is it takes a lot of effort to make something effortless, according to Margaret Dawson, VP of product marketing and cloud evangelist for HP Cloud Services(s hpq). In reality, hybrid cloud is a goal.

“If you look at the auto industry, hybrid means the combination of a traditional engine and carburetor with the ability to use a different power source,” Dawson said in a recent interview.

The upside is efficiency but there’s also a benefit in that the driver doesn’t have to worry which power source is driving the vehicle at any given moment. Hiding the complexity of what makes that power handoff work doesn’t make it any less complex, however. IT consumers, likewise, shouldn’t have to know or care if their application is running in the basement server room or on a private or public cloud somewhere else.

Effortlessness takes effort

Still, Dawson and other cloud experts acknowledge that it takes a lot of good old-fashioned know-how and (dare I say it?) effort to make switching back and forth between the legacy in-house IT and the cloud look effortless.

Virtustream CEO Rodney Rogers agreed. “The fact is beyond simple API compatibility, there is a ton of technology required to truly federate workloads between on-prem private clouds and off-prem public or virtual private clouds,” he noted via email. There is also debate about what features are to be federated.

Structure Europe in article squareCompanies like HP and Virtustream, hope to parlay their enterprise know-how to deliver this hybrid promise, as does VMware(s vmw) which, for the record, called its public cloud option vCloud Hybrid Services.  Other than the technology issues, there’s the whole notion of Service Level Agreements, which these vendors know a little something about.

Look for this topic to be front and center next week at Structure: Europe where Dawson will chat with GigaOM PRO analyst Paul Miller about who does what when everyone is a cloud provider.

4 Responses to “When “effortless” is anything but: Today’s cloud washing is all about hybrid”

  1. Now days we have the option to combine the private cloud and public cloud while having it tailored to a companies goals. Private for secuity with less traffic workloads where public would be the opposite. Hybrid or multi-Cloud deployment is the most cost-effective and efficient method for a business to manage abundant Cloud computing resources, according to Cloud computing experts. The Hybrid Cloud it is a climbable quantifiable solution that can combine the best of both private and public Clouds.

  2. Nate Johnson

    “IT consumers, likewise, shouldn’t have to know or care if their application is running in the basement server room or on a private or public cloud somewhere else.” It’s statements like this that really annoy me. Why shouldn’t they have to know this? Anyone with any common sense should know where their data and work is being performed. Not only should they know where, but they should understand how and why. It’s not rocket surgery! This entire concept of “I don’t want to know” is killing technology. You might not have to DO, but you damn well better know!

  3. Barb – thanks for publishing this article. I wonder if the “hybrid” term is another mile marker in the maturation journey of true cloud computing and if it will fall by the wayside or will persist. Observing some of the latest discussions on cloud computing the term multi-cloud seems to be emerging. In many ways it is more appropriate and more complete that combines SaaS, IaaS and PaaS in its various flavors. As enterprises consume cloud services they might use a Email SaaS service and decide store archives in a IaaS (whether public or private) etc.

    Thanks again.