ESG Blog: Applications Drive Hybrid Cloud, With On-Premises Being the Key to Hybrid, Not Public Cloud (Video)
Terri McClure, ESG's Senior Analyst for Cloud Infrastructure, and I did an ESG 360 video about the hybrid cloud research that I have conducted.
Edwin Yuen   ESG Blog: Applications Drive Hybrid Cloud, With On-Premises Being the Key to Hybrid, Not Public Cloud (Video)
Author: Edwin Yuen


Cloud Research Screen Shot.jpgTerri McClure, ESG's Senior Analyst for Cloud Infrastructure, and I did an ESG 360 video about the hybrid cloud research that I have conducted.  Two key points that came out of that research were the following:

  • Hybrid cloud is about applications and the infrastructure that supports them, not just about infrastructure, servers, and VMs. An application-centric view is the cornerstone of hybrid cloud and vendors need to recognize and adjust for this. This doesn't mean that infrastructure doesn't matter anymore, but the management and optimization of hybrid cloud workloads needs to be done at the application level, not the infrastructure.
  • On-premises environments are the key to hybrid cloud. My research found that compatibility and integration with existing on-premises systems was most important to hybrid cloud users, as opposed to their public cloud vendor. This point is especially important as the overwhelming majority of respondents in the survey said they expect to have half or more of their workloads on-premises, five years from now. On-premises environments and hybrid cloud will be the long-term future of IT.

For more information about these data points, see the video below or read my research about how On-premises Infrastructure Is the Key to Hybrid Cloud and Applications Help to Define Hybrid Cloud.

Video Transcript

Terri: Hi, I'm Terri McClure, Senior Analyst for Cloud Infrastructure at ESG. I'm here with our Systems Management Analyst, Edwin Yuen. Today we're gonna talk to you a little bit about hybrid cloud. We kicked off the year this year talking to Edwin about cloud and workload mobility, and how people are using clouds. But maybe that was a little pre-mature. What we really need to get to is, what is hybrid cloud? What does it mean? What do IT organizations think it means? Because it seems to mean different things to different people. And Edwin's clarified that with some research and we're gonna talk to him about that today.

Edwin: Yeah. It's great. We actually just completed some research and I really wanted to answer that first question, what exactly is hybrid cloud? Because I think there are a lot of different definitions. And what we found is kind of two things. First, it's really about on and off-premises. So it really needs to span both on and off-premises. It's not necessarily managing, let's say, different environments, a VMware environment, or a Microsoft environment on premises. It could be managing multiple cloud environments, but it really is not about just on-premises or off-premises. It needs to be both.

And the other one is that it's really application related. Well over half of the respondents shows either managing applications that have resources that span on and off-premises, or deploying applications that have resources that have on and off-premises. Only about one in five answered either managing disparate vendors or different cloud vendors, or just managing resources. So it really has to be within the context of applications. That means the resources are really important. You're still managing them, but it really needs to be within the context of applications.

Terri: In years that we've been talking about hybrid cloud, kinda one of the conventional definitions is, you know, being able to have almost an infrastructure that spans on-prem and cloud. So, really, is that how people are thinking of it? Is it like, I can have storage that spans...breaks down that wall between IT and the cloud? Or is it more about the application?

Edwin: It's about the application, but it's important to leverage that infrastructure. It's about that infrastructure that you can use. So, it can be either infrastructure itself that spans on and off-premises, or it can be an application that has resources that is both on and off-premises. Either way, infrastructure is still incredibly important in the research that we found.

Terri: Are we past this spanning into the cloud? And a hybrid cloud means, I run my apps on-prem and I back them up to the cloud. It sounds like we're past that now.

Edwin: Yeah. I think we're past that now. I think people are using infrastructure as a service, but they're also using a lot of platform as a service, but they're still leveraging a lot of on-premises infrastructure. That was the other thing we found in the research. When we asked people what they saw in five years, the majority of the people said, they're either gonna have a significant amount of resources still on-premises, which is most things on-premises, or at least split half and half. Really only a much smaller percentage of people said, we're gonna put everything into the public cloud. So, I think even five years from now, we're gonna have either a split or still have a pretty significant amount of resources on-premises.

Terri: Okay. So contrary to the marketing that's out there. We're not gonna be all cloud in five years, you don't think?

Edwin: No, no. I don't think we're gonna be all cloud in five years. I mean, it doesn't mean people aren't gonna use public cloud, and it's probably gonna be growing both, but I think people are recognizing...once they use public cloud a lot more, they recognize what really should be there, what should stay back on their premises, and really how they can manage both.

Terri: Okay. So, when people are looking at hybrid cloud or creating this hybrid cloud infrastructure, what are the characteristics?

Edwin: Well, the characteristics we found is they really wanna have management software that can control things back and forth. They wanna make sure that their infrastructure is compatible between on and off-premises. They're even looking at important things such as having a compatible hypervisor or a compatible VM infrastructure, that goes back and both. Probably the characteristic that was selected the least in our survey was really about being able to manage disparate vendors. So, really, it's about the compatibility of the infrastructure itself, not about trying to reduce the incompatibility between vendors.

Terri: It needs to be easy?

Edwin: Correct.

Terri: It needs to be easy. Okay. So, when IT organizations are looking to deploy a hybrid cloud, what are they really trying to accomplish? What are their main objectives?

Edwin: Well, in that question in our survey, the highest response is, they wanted to have compatible infrastructure. They wanted to make sure that it's gonna be easy to move their applications back and forth between on and off-premises. The second highest one was actually maintaining the vendor relationships that they already have, which is a little bit surprising...

Terri: Given they were all on-prem vendors, right?

Edwin: Exactly. But the ones that came in the smallest amount in the survey was having consistent management, which means they really care about how to get their systems working, maybe they can use different management tools. And then finally, was taking advantage of new cloud startups, which you'd think would be one of the largest things that people wanna go ahead and into the hybrid cloud or public cloud use. It kinda shows this orientation that they've got a lot of on-premises infrastructure, they've got a lot of applications there. They wanna leverage the cloud, but they're oriented from their infrastructure going on up, not from the cloud down.

Terri: Would you say there's just too much legacy stuff out there for us to just make this jump into the cloud? We can't ignore history.

Edwin: Yeah. I think the best way to put it is, we don't wanna think of legacy as a negative. Legacy is what it is. There are some great things running on there. And I think companies as they use more and more cloud resources and public cloud resources, are realizing they just wanna go ahead and be smart about what to put in there. Not just to push everything up there, but to take advantage of what you can in the cloud, re-architect applications as you need. But we're gonna have a long term of legacy on-premises systems for a while.

Terri: Okay, good. Great view. Thank you.

Edwin: Great.

Terri: Thank you Edwin, and thank you for spending time with us today.

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