Public clouds are great for managing applications and data without the frustration and expense of supporting the underlying infrastructure. When I lease a car, I am able to use it for the standard tasks that I perform. Functionally, the car is able to do the same things as a vehicle that I could purchase. I can run errands, drive to work, or even take trips.
One of the main advantages of leasing the car is that when there is a problem or maintenance needs to be performed, I am not responsible. The automobile dealer where I leased the car from handles all of those tasks. Oil changes, filter replacements, and all significant work to keep the car running well is taken care of without my intervention beyond bringing the car in when requested.
Public cloud environments like Azure give businesses the IT infrastructure to host their applications and data. They create and support the infrastructure so the business only needs to be concerned about the application and data. The IT organization can focus on managing the aspects important to the business and offload the more common and generalized support to the public cloud provider.
Getting from here to there
One of the biggest challenges for businesses to use the public cloud environments is the need to migrate existing applications in their existing legacy networks to the cloud. Variations in the network architecture and how users will access the application make the application migration a non-trivial task.
In an ideal world, the application is copied from its current legacy environment to the cloud and all is well. We know that this is often not the case. There is a need to have hybrid solutions where the application resides in both the legacy network as well as the public cloud for an interim duration. Also, some security and application delivery technologies used to support the application and its delivery may not exist or be supported in the public cloud architecture.
Even when the technologies are available in both environments, the migration process can be tedious and lined with multiple issues. Configurations from the application delivery components need to be mapped and migrated from the existing to the new locations. This can be a complicated and error-prone process with detailed configurations and complex service chaining requirements.
Migrate with ease
Ideally, one would like to drag and drop an application from one location to another just like the way we drag a file from one folder to another on our computers. The creation of a universal solution that does this for all of the application’s IT components is essentially impossible due to unique characteristics among the myriad pool of possible applications. But certain components of the application delivery infrastructure can be put into an automated tool for simplified migration.
To achieve this capability, it is important to have a consistency of technologies within the legacy and public cloud environments. When there is a similarity, tools can be created to seamlessly migrate application delivery and security policies between the environments. Ultimately, the migration of these services can take just a few clicks for the operator to designate the application that is moving and where it is going.
The use of public cloud networks should be reducing the operational support and complexity for businesses. Only when we develop the proper tools to easily move applications across environments can IT organizations realize the full benefits of hybrid cloud architectures.