The last time I moved was 10 years ago. At the time, I told myself that this is the last time I am moving. The packing and relocation of my belongings was not too much trouble. The main problem is trying to get everything sorted out and put into their proper place in the new home.
When businesses migrate applications to the cloud, the process is similar. They are very familiar with the applications and their data. The problem is that they need to understand how the applications will behave in the new environment. Where does the data reside and how do the clients access the application’s new home?
This problem is compounded when the business keeps the application active in its original location. Now, there are two locations to access the information and while the application and the data are the same, the different infrastructure and accessibility make the management of the application delivery complex to manage.
Hybrid cloud introduces hybrid problems
Hybrid cloud strategies are an evolutionary step to virtualizing the application delivery infrastructure. The challenge with the hybrid cloud architecture is that the private cloud is like the colonial home with a white picket fence, while the public cloud aspect of the hybrid environment is the high-rise condo. They both serve a similar function and can contain the same furnishings, but they offer very different accessibility, security, and management options.
The private cloud has its own business-defined access (concrete driveway), security (locks, home surveillance system), and management (owner does the landscaping and home repair). The business has a high degree of control and customization within the private cloud infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the public cloud has a common access point for all tenants (front lobby), managed security (hired security staff), and a different management system (home owners’ association, housekeeping services). The public cloud is taking ownership for some or all components of the application delivery infrastructure.
When the business has an application in both the private and public parts of the hybrid cloud (cloud migration, cloud bursting), the management of the application is often separated as well. The business needs to define different application SLAs depending on which version of the application is being accessed. Different security policies need to be adopted for each environment. Finally, the monitoring and operational control of the application will depend on which cloud the application is in.
Unifying the hybrid cloud
The application delivery controller (ADC) is one of the key technologies to enable cloud environments. The ADC provides the agility and elasticity that businesses want to extract from the cloud. The ADC is also taking a more central role with the protection of applications and their data. The inclusion and increasing importance of web application firewall (WAF) technologies highlights the important security functions the ADC provides.
When a business utilizes the same ADC technology in their private and public cloud, they are able to start taking advantage of a common solution that delivers consistent functionality independent of the infrastructure the solution resides in. This can only occur if the ADC technology is consistent when residing in proprietary hardware, virtual software instances, or through public cloud offerings.
The management operational control of the ADC technologies for application delivery and security services brings all of this together only when the management of the different ADC instances in each of the different environments is consistent. It does not make sense to manage the same solution with different methods just because of the form-factor or infrastructure that the technology resides in.
A centralized and unified management solution that can manage the technologies irrespective of the platform is a key to the painless, or less painful, migration of applications into a hybrid cloud environment. When companies start looking at their application delivery architectures as business enabling solutions instead of features and technologies, then they will find that moving their applications to a new home is not as bad as it may first seem.