Jim Darragh (Global) - Gartner Predictions 2013 (Opinion): The Year of Hybrid Cloud

With 2013 fast approaching, IDG Connect is serializing commentary from industry experts on Gartner's 2013 predictions over this week. Read our full series of pieces dedicated to the technology trends of 2013.

Amazon outages made headlines across the globe throughout 2012, taking popular websites down with it and creating a knock on effect to other services that are hosted by Amazon. If these outages have taught us one thing, it's that putting all your cloud eggs in one Amazon-shaped basket comes with an inherent risk.

Outages have led to growing discussion around the benefits of a hybrid solution using applications that span multiple clouds. There are applications available that can integrate disparate technologies both in and outside the organisation into a simpler, unified platform that enables you to manage multiple clouds. In this hybrid environment, dashboards would allow administrators to easily monitor and manage the allocation, usage and consumption of available resources within distributed datacentres and clouds.

Gartner recognised this in its review of strategic trends for 2013. Gartner's recent IT services survey revealed that the role of an internal cloud services broker (CSB) is emerging. According to Gartner, IT organizations are realizing that they have a responsibility to help improve the provisioning and consumption of distributed, and often complex, cloud services for internal and external users. This role would help IT organizations to retain and build influence inside its organization as the adoption of cloud increases.

This hybrid model is also evolving in the industry of networks and routing software. In 2013 we should expect to hear more about technology developments in this area. Vyatta, recently bought out by Brocade, pioneered the idea of open-source routing software which is built to enhance your router to create an enterprise grade, scalable network appliance. For business, this development means that self-service networking in the cloud becomes possible. It would allow businesses to adopt a hybrid approach by building out networking hardware on commodity boxes instead of expensive switching and routing gear with proprietary operating systems.

Developments in data storage will also follow this hybrid approach as the landscape ultimately changes. This year, Amazon announced Storage Gateway which offers businesses the opportunity to cheaply store lots of data in its simple storage service while also keeping some data on premises. There have been further developments in solid state drives (SSD) for cloud users and providers. Recently some of the leading companies in SSDs have introduced a new generation of products. When you combine that with Amazon's storage strategy, businesses are suddenly spoilt for choice and can cost effectively run many tiers of storage. As more and more businesses catch on to the benefits and cost savings this hybrid storage model can provide, we should see a rise in adoption throughout 2013.

In addition to this, Gartner recognised a hybrid approach to big data. The concept of a single enterprise data warehouse is dying and instead, the industry is moving towards multiple systems, as the new enterprise data warehouse. This would involve companies moving beyond the traditional approach of single, big data projects and instead dealing with data volume, variety, velocity and complexity.

Industry developments in computers, networking, storage and big data are advancing individually. Businesses are being offered more choice in what they can do and how they manage technology. When you pull each of these parts together it becomes possible to create cost effective, hybrid cloud infrastructure with applications that can be managed through a single, self-service interface.

By Jim Darragh, CEO, Abiquo



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