Analysing the enterprise ‘multi-cloud’ market: IBM and Virtustream lead the way


By Neil McAvoy, CEO,

Although the hybrid cloud concept has become the popularised idea of how the enterprise market will inch its way into adoption of cloud services, twinning their own internal private cloud with public resources, this will be a short term label soon replaced by ‘multi-cloud‘.

I agree with the general direction of travel; however, I feel we’ll soon see the hybrid cloud definition as somewhat inadequate, as we’re really dealing with a generalised evolution to a ‘multi-cloud’ environment, as Search Cloud computing similarly describes in their article on the same topic.

Enterprise data centre transformation: Harnessing an enterprise cloud marketplace

The shift to this trend will go hand in hand with an associated evolution of enterprise data centre practices, including one aspect of multi-cloud implementation – the enterprise cloud marketplace.

In this HP article they say the enterprise IT organisation should evolve to become a service broker, as a foundation for organisational change, while Gartner lays out a data centre transformation framework that encompasses aspects like hybrid cloud outsourcing.

The common themes are establishing more of a brokerage operation, as part of increasing maturity of procurement of cloud services.

As the organisations go beyond one-off, Internet-centric apps that Amazon is ideal for, into their broad portfolio of IT, they will increasingly look more for tools that aid in this portfolio analysis, planning and migration.

An ‘enterprise cloud marketplace’ is an ideal platform for this type of functionality. Vendors like Gravitant offers a suite of tools that manages the life-cycle of matching application design blueprints to possible cloud hosting options, conducting price comparisons and so forth. As part of illustrating this type of function they performed a test to determine the best enterprise cloud provider, with Virtustream and IBM leading the pack. A very interesting development then is that IBM has now acquired Gravitant.

Open standards SDDC

A second aspect of multi-cloud capabilities is best understood when we also consider it in union with another key ongoing trend, the data centre virtualisation spreading into the telco industry, headlining their drive towards SDN and NFV powered telco networks.

Pioneering telco providers like AT&T are transforming their core network systems to a Cloud-centric approach via their Domain 2.0 program, describing how it will enable IoT innovations.

The enterprise market will be able to harness and build upon this wave of innovation, applying the technologies within their data centres, as well as using new telco services that they enable. As SearchDataCenter describes NFV offers to unify the data centre.

Industry forum the TMF is pioneering the best practices that will enable other service providers to undertake this transformation, working with vendors via ‘catalyst projects’ such as this case study with Microsoft to define a combined multi-cloud SDN, who also offer the multi-cloud reference architecture.

Open standards like TOSCA from OASIS are key to this scenario, offering the cloud standards for matching blueprints to Cloud providers, and orchestrating the following provisioning of services.

Sadhav of IBM discusses his involvement with the standard, and how it might be applied with OpenStack, the open source cloud platform, is discussed in detail in this whitepaper, and In this video:

“OpenStack Heat is gaining momentum as a DevOps tool to orchestrate the creation of OpenStack cloud environments. Heat is based on a DSL describing simple orchestration of cloud objects, but lacks better representation of the middleware and the application components as well as more complex deployment and post-deployment orchestration workflows.

“The Heat community has started discussing a higher level DSL that will support not just infrastructure components. This session will present a further extended suggestion for a DSL based on the TOSCA specification, which covers broader aspects of an application behavior and deployment such as the installation, configuration management, continuous deployment, auto-healing and scaling.” 

We’re additionally seeing how these same innovations can apply to the telco SDN scenario. For example, in this blog Cloudify describe how they implement TOSCA on their platform and can use this to also configure NFV services too.

DRaaS maturity

From an ROI and enterprise strategy point of view, the most interesting dynamic of Multi-Cloud capabilities is that they multiple benefits in different areas. One of the first is improved business continuity capacity.

This Redmond article describes how Microsoft is building Multi-Cloud orchestration into Windows Server, to offer DRaaS via Azure, and this presentation explains how DRaaS can be achieved using Openstack.

The post IBM and Virtustream lead Enterprise Multi-Cloud market appeared first on Cloud Best Practices.

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