Are we any closer to hybrid cloud nirvana?

Hybrid cloud was supposed to mean the freedom to run workloads where you want

Hybrid cloud has become the standard model for IT operations within most organisations today, with some workloads running internally on the organisation's own infrastructure, while others are handled by a cloud service provider. However, one of the oft-cited aims of a hybrid architecture, that of being able to move workloads easily between the two, is rarely achievable.

Such workload mobility is becoming more of a possibility with new platforms now coming to market, but there are still limitations, such as the fact that many of these solutions largely tie the customer to one platform or to one cloud provider.

One such solution that has recently been released - in beta form for now - is Google's Cloud Services Platform (CSP). This is built on the Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) service, and so is designed to operate containerised workloads on Google's cloud, but it includes GKE On-Prem, a managed Kubernetes service that can be deployed onto the user's own infrastructure.  This means that users can choose where to place workloads; either on-premise or on Google's cloud.

There are a number of other Kubernetes-based container platforms, all of which offer the ability to build and run modern cloud-native workloads, either on-premise or in the cloud. Where Google's CSP stands out is that the on-premises component is a managed offering, in the sense that it will automatically be updated with the latest code, keeping it consistent with the version of Kubernetes running in Google's cloud, for example.

In addition, Google claims that GKE On-Prem can be deployed and run on existing infrastructure in the customer's data centre, unlike some hybrid solutions that call for new-build specific hardware configurations, often clusters of hyperconverged infrastructure nodes. This means that customers can continue to use the networking, storage, and identity capabilities they have already invested in.

Analyst Clive Longbottom told us that Google's CSP is a good step for those who want to embrace a true hybrid platform. "What we see here is a good underpinning of a standardised workload management tool (Kubernetes) which should allow users to not only run a private/Google public cloud platform, but also to embrace other third-party clouds using Kubernetes as an orchestration system," he said.

However, Longbottom added that this will only become more important once organisations start to wean themselves away from monolithic enterprise applications and start to better understand and use aggregate apps based on pulling together microservice-based functions from across a range of cloud platforms.

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