Hybrid Cloud Migration: Optimizing Cost Savings for Enterprise IT Data Centers

Hybrid cloud migration allows your business to unify IT operations while running web/mobile applications on multiple public cloud hardware providers simultaneously or to build data center operations on public cloud hardware in tandem with in-house private servers for greater security.

That said, even in the cloud era many enterprise corporations still require on-premises private servers for sensitive database information, legacy software support, or mainframe integration, and IT departments must develop plans to modernize data center architecture to run securely on hybrid cloud constructs.

This article will discuss some of the main purchasing options for software platforms that facilitate hybrid cloud management for enterprise data centers in the current marketplace under open source and proprietary licensing agreements, i.e. Microsoft, VMware, OpenStack, Mirantis, NetApp, etc.

Hybrid Cloud Management: Getting Started & Things to Consider

If you’re considering migration to hybrid cloud architecture models for data center management in support for complex business operations, consider a goal of at least three to four years in the future.

Some of the main points you’ll need to consider before getting started are:

  • Where do you want your IT operations to be hosted in the cloud, i.e. vendor or brand?
  • Will the hybrid cloud require support for private servers in an on-premises data center?
  • What software will be installed on the web server stack for microservice support?
  • What programming language & database formats will be implemented by DevOps?
  • Will the hybrid cloud require support for VLAN, SD-WAN, or IT department operations?
  • Are there more efficient network software tools for configuring cloud hardware available?
  • How can you lower cloud hardware costs further through competitive bidding?

Cost savings for enterprise scale businesses must be calculated to include a variety of public cloud hardware costs, software licensing fees, programming talent, and technical support requirements vs. legacy in-house private cloud data center operations. Build a department or company level plan for public cloud migration, and use these requirements for hybrid cloud software purchasing decisions.

Hybrid Cloud Management: Software Development for Web/Mobile Apps

DevOps teams in enterprise software development depend on virtualization (VMs), software-defined networking (SDN), and elastic orchestration of containerized applications deployed across multiple international data centers for 100% uptime requirements in web/mobile app hosting.

  • Version control utilities like Git and Subversion are used to introduce new features or security upgrades to production software applications in the cloud according to CI/CD requirements.
  • Big Data, packet analytics, multimedia streaming, CMS modules, and ecommerce processing all require optimizing cloud web server hardware through custom software stack installations which must be standardized across multiple public cloud service providers.
  • Hybrid cloud network administrators need web server configuration management, advanced data security, firewalls/WAFs, and I/O packet request analytics that can be programmed with SDN support across VMs resources and on-prem hardware in a vendor agnostic manner.
  • Hybrid cloud management tools should also integrate with SD-WAN deployment, maintenance, and security utilities with support for rule-based filters on corporate networks.
  • Hybrid cloud migration involves maintaining multiple containerized applications with microservices under Kubernetes orchestration in production at enterprise scale.

In order to solve these problems, we will next review the main options for hybrid cloud management in enterprise corporations available from IT majors, open source companies, and SaaS/PaaS startups.

Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Enterprise Tools from IT Majors

The most extensive software utilities for hybrid cloud management are developed by the major IT companies like Microsoft, VMware, IBM, and HP. Companies like Fujitsu and EMC also have complete data center solutions aimed primarily at telecom and industrial manufacturing corporations.

In 2019, most major hybrid cloud software packages support the interoperability of multiple forms of hardware virtualization, i.e. Hyper-V, KVM, XenServer, Kubernetes, and Docker. What distinguishes the IT major hybrid cloud services is primarily the cost of licensing of the individual software packages.

One of the main ways to save costs on hybrid cloud migration is to choose third-party software alternatives on open source foundations. Otherwise, avoiding vendor lock-in on hardware and PaaS products maintains competitive pricing on services with better wholesale rates for bare-metal.

Hybrid Cloud Migration: Avoiding Vendor Lock-In Costs on Hardware

Opposition to vendor lock-in with public cloud hosting companies is the number one cause of enterprise migration to hybrid cloud architecture.

  • AWS and Google both now offer Container-as-a-Service (CaaS) and Kubernetes platform support with the ability to configure nodes on-premises on private cloud hardware or even on other public cloud hosts (AWS ECS/EKS + GKE).
  • VMware and RackSpace have both reformatted their cloud consultancy business and enterprise-grade SaaS plans around corporate data center migration to AWS, Azure, and GCP.
  • This has also led to the popularity of large online marketplaces for data center services associated with IBM BlueMix, OpenStack, and AWS EC2.

The main question for IT administrators is whether their company can manage hybrid cloud migration independently more efficiently than consultancy firms and the degree to which third-party hybrid cloud software management utilities simplify the process for DevOps teams.

Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Open Source Licensed Enterprise Tools

Hybrid cloud management also allows IT administrators to leverage cloud marketplaces for the lowest costs on data center hardware. Open source software is another popular option to reduce costs.

The main alternative to VMware or Microsoft solutions for hybrid cloud management is installing an open source software platform like OpenStack, CloudStack, or Apache Mesosphere.

  • OpenStack was originally developed as a partnership between RackSpace and NASA, surpassing CloudStack as the de facto standard in open source data center management tools.
  • Apache Mesosphere has a unique container virtualization standard that competes with CoreOS, Docker Swarm, and Kubernetes as an elastic web server orchestration engine.

These data center management platforms integrate with Docker containers and Kubernetes natively via elastic host node virtualization, allowing for hardware resources to be automated across public cloud hosts and on-premises data centers from a “single pane of glass” based on VM partitions.

  • Red Hat, Ubuntu, and SUSE all produce enterprise-ready OpenStack Linux distributions that can be implemented for hybrid cloud migration in the largest companies of the world. However, these solutions are talent-intensive and often tied to consultant services which complete the network installation.
  • Companies like Platform9 simplify OpenStack by offering it as a PaaS product with the root server installed in the cloud. This allows nodes in an OpenStack network to be established across on-premises and public cloud hardware in a vendor agnostic fashion.

The complexity of total data center management at scale means that each major Linux distribution of OpenStack often only has a few thousand major customers. OpenStack includes a large ecosystem of third-party plugins that can extend platform functionality for data analytics, network security, SDN routing, encryption support, and other niche requirements for industry.

As OpenStack is licensed under open source standards, it is easier for businesses to customize the code to support the unique demands of their hybrid cloud architectural requirements at enterprise scale via in-house DevOps teams. The main question is it easier and cheaper to DIY or use a SaaS/PaaS product?

Hybrid Cloud Management Software: Enterprise Tools from IT Startups

Some of the most popular hybrid cloud management platforms for enterprise data center deployments are from the startup companies Nutanix, Mirantis, NetApp, and Cloud Foundry. These companies operate on the cutting-edge of cloud software development and are constantly introducing new features to market. Modernizing legacy applications and web servers with new software vastly improves performance speeds for web/mobile applications in production, as well as VLAN/SD-WAN traffic.

  • Nutanix tackles the problem of hyper-converged architecture with their Acropolis HCI platform. Companies that need to support XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, KVM, and other virtualization standards simultaneously in complex IT operations often seek cheaper pricing or competitive alternatives to VMware software solutions.
  • Mirantis hybrid cloud software works across bare metal, OpenStack, and Kubernetes servers to permit complex routing with built in utilities for network analytics and security. Mirantis solutions make heavy use of SDN using OpenContrail, OpenCalico, and Spinnaker. Mirantis hybrid cloud software offers seamless integration with version control utilities and DevOps tools.
  • Cloud Foundry (Pivotal) is a startup that provides PaaS solutions that are remote hosted and facilitate hybrid cloud orchestration. Cloud Foundry challenges the IT majors in functionality and subscription costs, but mostly is used in combination with other solutions for advanced hybrid cloud management in web/mobile app hosting.
  • NetApp software gives IT administrators the ability to build their networks across Google Cloud, AWS, or Microsoft Azure from a single configuration management screen. SDN functionality allows DevOps engineers to configure database routing for web/mobile applications to on-premises servers.

NetApp, Mirantis, Cloud Foundry, and Nutanix solutions are specifically designed for hybrid cloud migration and automated web server orchestration for online software applications. Each platform will scale elastically to support enterprise levels of web traffic with existing wide uptake in industry under peer-reviewed security standards. These startup software solutions can often provide more powerful and easy to use hybrid cloud management tools than the IT majors.

Hybrid Cloud Migration: Choosing the Best Software for Your Business Model

At enterprise scale, hybrid cloud software is a requirement for managing the daily operations of tens of thousands of employees or hundreds of thousands of customers. For web and mobile applications, servers must support millions of page hits per day. Ecommerce companies with multiple brands may have thousands of domains, each with different websites, microservices, and runtime requirements.

In choosing the best hybrid cloud management software for your data center, consider:

  1. Multiple Corporate Brands and Vertical Support: Verticals often make use of public cloud resources independently within complex business organizations, and use SaaS products under network filter rules in office productivity. The complexity and unique nature of every contemporary IT department demands hybrid cloud software management tools that can support the migration of legacy applications and services to public cloud hardware. This includes independent DevOps team support for multiple brands.
  2. Integration with VLAN and SD-WAN Administration: Hybrid cloud architecture is used to support VLAN, SD-WAN, and web server architecture for hosting requirements in an integrated configuration and management utility suite. This software can either be meta-installed on the network like Microsoft/VMware tools and OpenStack for complete data center management or be used as a PaaS/SaaS solution to bridge public cloud hosts like NetApp, Platform9, and Cloud Foundry services.
  3. Open Source vs. Proprietary Software Licensing: Microsoft and VMware provide the most complete hybrid cloud management software tools available on the market today. Startup hybrid cloud management solutions from Mirantis and Nutanix compete with Microsoft and VMware, while all of the major Linux development companies have OpenStack distributions with Kubernetes integration.

Although not the only factors to consider, these issues will help IT pros to distinguish between platform functionality and filter features on a cost to license basis that will be successful in purchasing decisions for complex business organizations. Look for maximum flexibility in multi-cloud interoperability.

Implement DevOps Best Practices with Hybrid Cloud Migration

It is best to consult with the programmers and developers to understand contemporary DevOps best practices, then evaluate between competitive hybrid cloud software on a cost vs. services basis.

Hint: Make use of wholesale marketplace auctions at OpenStack/BlueMix or competitive spot bidding on AWS for the lowest costs on public cloud hardware to maximize ROI for hybrid cloud migration.

Complex business organizations need to consider the complete package of consulting, platform maintenance, IT talent requirements, and software licensing costs together when considering hybrid cloud migration. Make sure to implement a comprehensive hybrid cloud management plan with both short- and long-term goals which firmly define how your company’s IT operations will be utilized in the future.