Enterprises should pursue hybrid cloud

Paul Furber
By Paul Furber, ITWeb contributor
Johannesburg, 23 Oct 2013

On 1 October, the Gartner Group released its "Private Cloud matures, Hybrid Cloud is next" report. In it, analyst Thomas Bittman says 50% of enterprises will have a hybrid cloud solution by 2017 so they can enjoy the speed of provisioning, automatic response to varying demands and alignment of their internal architecture to public cloud standards.

Richard Vester, director of cloud services at EOH, says South African enterprises can also pursue this trend.

"In the corporate enterprise market, a lot of companies have already invested a lot of capex into infrastructure," he says. "And they are reluctant just to write it off and move their applications to a service provider with a cloud service. So we've taken the approach that, instead of going to companies and telling them to write their kit off and move their apps to our infrastructure, we can wrap our EOH Cloud Manager over their existing infrastructure to create a cloud-based infrastructure.

"In reality, most local corporates are 80% to 90% virtualised but are using a consolidation technology. By layering our cloud-based management over this, we enable a private cloud for them. So immediately they get rapid deployment, cost visibility, workflow, [and they know] who's deploying what and how much it's costing."

EOH Cloud Manager has a Web-based, single control panel for all aspects of the cloud infrastructure.

Vester says there are a number of automatic benefits.

"Customers can then extend their applications and computing resources to our data centre. There are some subtle benefits to that. Firstly, it's the single interface. When they deploy their workloads, they can pick where they want to deploy it. A short-term development environment could be spun up with us without being locked into a long-term contract with an external provider. And our management tool will take care of that time period for them too. The operating systems and applications can be templatised.

"We have JD Edwards templates, for example, that can be spun up in a very short space of time. Secondly, many corporate companies will buy technology from a supplier for virtualisation but don't actually have visibility into the CPU, storage or networking usage in their virtualised environment. That means they could be running at 90% to 95% capacity, and if they fall over, then it might take six weeks to get more hardware. Or it's the converse: they're running at 20% and don't actually need to get more kit just yet - but they don't know that for sure."

Vester says PG Bison is already using EOH Cloud Services with great success.

"PG Bison had a large data centre in Boksburg and had invested in a lot of hardware, some of which was fairly new, but some of which was old and needed replacing. So we forklifted all of it into our data centre environment over a weekend, migrated all the applications on the older hardware onto our managed cloud infrastructure, and then layered the EOH Cloud Manager on top of it all. We've also replicated some of their mission-critical systems to a second data centre, giving them full failover and replicated archivable backup services. So PG Bison now has hybrid cloud, workload replication and full backup. It's shut its old data centre down and for a cost saving of about 30%. Cloud doesn't necessarily save you money, but PG Bison certainly has and it's in a much better place than before. The next phase will be to consolidate the remaining infrastructure in remote branches centrally and let the staff use our virtual desktop solution using a thin client," he concludes.