Change is the only constant… Dated back to the 17th century this statement still holds true on the brink of the year 2014. For the technology industry, this principle is magnified tenfold and well describes many of the innovative solutions available to modern enterprise IT infrastructure. Just a few decades ago, email, mobility, client/server network models, infrastructure virtualization, cloud computing and “the Internet of everything” all belonged in the realm of science fiction – all now common technologies and frameworks that we benefit from every day. For enterprises, adoption of new technologies and concepts such as these can and have brought great rewards but also are accompanied by risk. In fact, a principle of ITIL-based Change Management methodology is that no change is worth doing if there is no risk involved, either associated with adoption and implementing or failing to do so. It’s the responsibility of line of business (LOB) decision makers and implementers in the IT organization to clearly define the benefits, ensuring that they outweigh the risks and minimize negative contingencies.
In recent times, many LOB IT heads and enterprise architects have been tasked with assessing the viability of adopting the use of public cloud IaaS platforms into their Enterprise technology strategy for a hybrid cloud approach. While there are many inherent benefits this model can bring, concerns arise over security implications, cost, scalability as well as support for custom, and often, legacy business-critical applications.
The good news… and it’s on a cloud
Fortunately, there is good news. As cloud computing matures, cloud-focused security solutions with functional capability to propagate a unified set of policy driven standards across private and public cloud borders are becoming more prevalent. Elastic auto-scaling and auto-provisioning of cloud resources on an as-needed basis in IaaS platforms reassigns the responsibility of granular resource consumption monitoring and response from enterprise administrators to the place where it belongs – at the application. Additionally, many Cloud Management Platforms now have public cloud connectivity that support unified management of private and public cloud environments from a single pane of glass. These factors along with flexible resource and utilization-based cost models have all led to early adoption of public cloud integration and bodes well for continual uptake.
However, a challenge that still looms for organizations introducing public cloud into their strategy is ensuring that legacy applications continue to function as designed after partial or full migration off-premise. While modern, pragmatic application architecture principles would dictate that all applications be built with cloud in mind – simplistic, stateless at the network layer and transactional awareness across application instances – the simple truth is that many legacy applications were not built this way. And since not all IaaS platforms have native, advanced application delivery and load balancing capabilities, problems can arise for legacy applications with complex high availability, request steering and application-aware front-end proxy needs.
These needs are creating an increasing demand for application delivery controller solutions that can intelligently support application services distributed across multiple public and private clouds as well as coexistence with these applications in a public cloud environment in order to provide the best proximity scenario. This demand will continue to push northward as the general trend toward datacenter decentralization in the Enterprise advances.