A frank discussion about Cloud
It's time to talk seriously about what Cloud really means...
As you can probably tell, Roundstone Solutions is very involved in helping our Clients with moving their IT infrastructures to what we call Next Generation IT Infrastructures. By this, we mean helping to create infrastructures that support today's business objectives as well as position Clients for tomorrow's objectives.
So much has been written about Cloud that the word itself has a confused meaning at this point. For our discussion, let's define Cloud as follows:
- Private Cloud means your applications run on your servers and storage, whether they reside in your facility or a co-location facility
- Public Cloud means your applications run on someone else's servers and storage, most likely Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform
- Hybrid Cloud means your organization uses a combination of both Private Cloud and Public Cloud to run your applications
For the last 5 years or so, we've heard many/most organizations claim that they are "Cloud First" in how they deploy applications. I think what's meant by this is Public Cloud...but shouldn't you run your applications where it makes the most sense for your business to run them?
Most organizations have been running Hybrid Cloud environments for many years already. Any group that runs Office 365 or Google Mail is using Public Cloud. Why did these organizations choose to deploy O365 or Gmail? Typically, it was because it was easier, much less hassle, and ultimately less expensive. I can't think of any reason why an organization would run their own Email systems at this point.
However, not all applications are alike. Security, performance, latency, and complexity are just some factors that each application has, as well as cost. It shouldn't be an automatic that applications should run in a Private Cloud or a Public Cloud; each workload/application should be evaluated to determine where they will do the business the most good. Assuming all else is equal (and it rarely is), then cost should be the big factor.
Putting something in the Public Cloud isn't necessarily less expensive. Ask any organization that has deployed AWS or Azure, and has grown significantly. Their costs have accelerated at an even faster rate than their growth. And, if that organization wanted to change providers (like move from AWS to Azure) or move from Public to Private, good luck. The complexity and cost would be huge.
For years, the computer hardware business came under fire for making products that "locked in" an organization to using one vendors' products. Yet, that's EXACTLY what the Public Cloud vendors have done, and organizations have gone along with it, not even challenging this lock in. It's ironic, but you're far more locked in to a Cloud vendor because THEY HAVE YOUR DATA!
Please understand, we think there's a place for both Public Cloud and Private Cloud, yielding a Hybrid Cloud for every organization. But you ought to know/have justification for why you move each workload to the infrastructure you've chosen.
Full disclosure, we're a strong partner of Nutanix, and are "all in" on their Enterprise Cloud approach. They have a product which is part of their Operating System (it's included) that allows you to determine where best to deploy a workload/application based on your specific negotiated costs with the Public Cloud vendors and your own costs for your systems. It's called Calm, and it's very interesting. Everyone who is involved in where applications run should get familiar with Calm, as it will help make your life simpler and your decisions based on facts, not hunches.
By deploying Nutanix in your Private Cloud, you get all of the advantages of the Public Cloud in your own data center. Fast deployment, significant scaling, your security and control, and a lower cost than Public Cloud. Nutanix allows you to run their software stack on their own systems (NX system, based on SuperMicro), Lenovo HX (based on System X), Dell XC (based on PowerEdge), and IBM (based on Power). Also, Nutanix runs just fine on some models of Cisco UCS and HPE Proliant, but both of those vendors will try and convince you their respective HCI approaches (Springpath for Cisco and Simplivity for HPE) are better. They're not.
In short, deciding which Cloud to run your workloads/applications on is about choice. You decide, based on what makes the most sense. Nutanix gives you complete choice.
The smartest organizations we work with don't say "Cloud First" because that phrase implies Public Cloud first. No, our smartest Clients are the ones who say "we evaluate the best place to run our applications based on our unique business requirements" and they use tools to help them make those decisions objectively.
If you've liked this discussion, well, that's the way we do things at Roundstone Solutions. You're in luck, and you could have our help in your evaluations of where workloads/applications should run. Just contact us a call at 925-217-1177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.