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The 10-minute Hybrid Cloud -- Coming Soon to a Workspace Near You

Setting up and configuring a hybrid cloud gets cheaper, easier, and faster -- thanks to an innovation from Skytap, a provider of self-service cloud automation solutions.


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Skytap claims it can help developers and other IT folks to create a hybrid cloud in about 10 minutes.

Exactly what is a hybrid cloud? The answer is, well, 'cloudy'.

A hybrid cloud can mean either two separate clouds joined together (public, private, internal or external), or a combination of virtualized cloud server instances used with real physical hardware.



Hybrid clouds usually require three things:

  • an onsite data center
  • a public cloud
  • an IT person dedicated to spending days connecting the two

Despite the benefits of hybrid clouds, setting up and configuring them has proven to be costly, complex, and time-consuming for most companies.

Skytap has plenty of competition in the hybrid cloud space, notably from EMC/VMware, the HP hydrid cloud portfolio, IBM, and Rackspace.

Rapidly Growing Market for Cloud Services

Gartner's Public Cloud Services Worldwide forecast report stated the market for cloud services was worth $58.6 billion in 2009 and will grow to be worth $148.8 billion by 2014.

A recent IDC white paper, sponsored by EMC: "Hybrid Cloud on the Rise: A Key Strategy to Business Growth in Asia Pacific" suggests that the hybrid approach to cloud computing will be the rule rather than the exception in 2011 as cloud computing gains a bigger foothold across the Asia Pacific region.

The white paper found that the shift to hybrid clouds is largely being accelerated by the desire of IT departments to find ways to build applications that meet the needs of smartphone and tablet users, while continuing to support core legacy and mission-critical applications.

"Current tools require additional investments in either VPN hardware and set-up, or significant configuration, coding and testing," said Sundar Raghavan, chief product and marketing officer at Skytap.

"People who want to use the cloud for development or testing and IT sandbox projects have limited time and resources to overcome these challenges," said Raghavan. "They need a simple, secure, self-service solution."

Raghavan added that Skytap's point-and-click UI gives customers everything they need to get started.

"Hybrid clouds promise the best of both worlds," said Cameron Haight, a vice president at researcher Gartner.

"These hybrid clouds enable enterprises to manage their cloud resources with the security of internal systems, but with the scale offered by a cloud service provider," Haight added.

However, Haight noted that the complexity of deploying a dynamic hybrid cloud environment presents a barrier to adoption.

"To ease the burden, IT should look for technologies that enable the rapid set-up and operational management of this emerging unified computing infrastructure," said Haight.

Switch Network Connections Dynamically

Skytap enables network connections to be switched dynamically, eliminating the need to stop a cloud machine to perform this task. This feature enables rapid test and development cycles and reduces a user's reliance on IT.

"Skytap continues to rapidly introduce new innovations that accelerate enterprise cloud adoption and extend our leadership in delivering the industry's most usable cloud solutions," said Raghavan. "Enterprise users can now secure their cloud environments, easily connect them to in-house systems, and reduce the time, cost, and IT support burden associated with hybrid clouds."

Rapidly Deploy Secure, Self-Service Hybrid Clouds

Skytap accelerates cloud integration with in-house systems by providing administrators a GUI to set up, test and configure IPSec connections from Skytap to their data centers.

Once IT authorizes and provides IPSec set-up parameters, Skytap administrators can set up, test and enable a hybrid cloud. Administrators can enhance security by restricting those connections to IP ranges permitted in Skytap. They can also explicitly include or exclude specific remote subnets.



   
Herman Mehling has written about IT for 25 years. He has written hundreds of articles for leading computer publications and websites.
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