Building cloud-native applications and preparing for hybrid cloud

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For many organisations, the journey to hybrid cloud is fraught with risk: how to manage security, and which workloads will benefit from the move?

IBM Cloud Private Day

IBM, in partnership with ITWeb, hosted its inaugural Cloud Private Day on April 19 at the Hyatt Regency, Rosebank.

The event was for senior app developers with cloud-native skills, software architects and infrastructure managers tasked with modernising their existing applications.

IBM Cloud Private is a platform for developing and running workloads locally: it enables developers to design, develop, deploy and manage on-premises containerised cloud applications behind a firewall.

By its own estimate, IBM manages most of the world's data, and with a view to keeping it that way, is betting that enterprise customers are going to continue investing heavily in hybrid cloud.

The company unveiled IBM Cloud Private in November last year, and this week provided more detail to customers in Johannesburg about the application platform for developing and managing on-premises containerised applications.

The platform includes the container orchestration tool Kubernetes, a private image repository, a management console, and monitoring frameworks.

Speaking at the Cloud Private Day at the Hyatt Regency, Rosebank, last week, Soloman Barghouthi, a product manager for hybrid cloud based in the United States, told ITWeb that IBM Cloud Private is a means to an end.

"I'm not buying it just because I've got money to spend. I'm buying it to deliver business value."[AT1]

Barghouthi says that, in general, customer data stays on-premises, and he hadn't seen any customer who was comfortable with deploying sensitive data on a public cloud.

"Convincing the database administrators to give up control of the data is difficult. You'll still have control, but someone else is managing it for you behind the scenes. So there's a lot of politics with moving data, more so than for any security reason."

Changing developer habits

A key part of an enterprises' digital business journey is changing the habits of developers, so they can understand what it means to develop for the cloud.

"What we're doing with IBM Cloud Private is allowing you to manage your own cloud behind your firewall, and you can focus on what makes you money, which is the user experience and the business logic.

"When you're more comfortable, and want to try it in the public cloud, it's going to be an easy transition."

"[Developers] also don't have to worry that they've got enough capacity, for say, another thousand users, because all they need to do is tell the system that it can grow based on its CPU or memory usage."

Barghouthi says he believes public cloud will become pervasive, and compared it to the rise and now-ubiquitous use of online banking.

"When online banking first started, most people didn't want to touch it. 'I'm going to give you access to my account with a user ID and password?' People believed it was insane. Nowadays, when did you last go into a bank?"

Not ready to jump

Aziz Alsharafi, a leader at IBM Cloud Private, DevOps, says the new platform will make building cloud-native applications easier.

"It's going to bridge the gap between traditional data centres and what the public cloud will eventually look like.

"Today, the big risk is that companies are not ready to jump. Most people who jump are not putting their core critical systems in the public cloud."

Alsharafi says one cannot compare green field companies like Uber, Facebook or Netflix, with industries such as banks, telecoms, aviation and insurance businesses, which all had "dinosaur systems of record".

"All the IBM Cloud Private platform does is make sure that businesses are ready for the day when regulators say that the public cloud is okay."

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