Private cloud infrastructures suck! They cost a lot, are hard to maintain and for enterprises it’s quite impossibile to keep up with the features that its developers are used to seeing on public clouds like AWS. But for many different reasons, ranging from regulations to strategy, private clouds are still the preferred choice for many organizations.

GMO AppleorangeI think most vendors have started to acknowledge this problem and now there are solutions out there beginning to show interesting ways to address the needs of being Private with the ease of the Public. It’s not the “classic hybrid cloud” though, where resources are distributed across public and private, it’s more like a private cloud with all the management part hosted on public cloud.

Data location and data control

Here in the EU data locality is important. In most cases data can’t reside outside national borders. When it comes to storing sensitive information, international (US) big service providers are off limits. On the other hand local service providers are small and, in most cases are not credible/reliable.

iStock_000017225519MediumAs I’ve already mentioned, Implementing a private cloud could be very costly but, if we dig deeper into the problem, what comes out is that most of these costs come from management. And another problem that could add to unforeseen costs is due to businesses changing rapidly over time.

Infrastructure agility is an important factor to maintain costs under control. Managing data across clouds (locations) while chasing the best cost options is no longer a problem. Vendors like HDS and Cloudian, for example, are developing interesting solutions aimed at managing (object) storage across public and private clouds. Especially in the case of HDS, you can see the beginning of separation between the metadata controller (the object storage platform, HCP) and the actual data location (public object storage services, local S3/Swift repositories, or the local HCP itself). The user can chose where to save data depending on cost, business needs and regulations. I wonder if, in the future, these metadata controllers (totally separated from the data under management) could be deployed through the cloud in an as-a-Service fashion.

SaaS cloud management

iStock_000017679798MediumOn the same wavelength we can now find solutions to manage your private cloud from the public cloud. It could sound weird if told in this terms but, when you think about solutions like the one proposed by Platform9, it suddenly makes sense.
You can have your private cloud, inside your datacenter, but without the pain of the high costs derived from monitoring, updating and managing the cloud platform. It’s quite brilliant. (side note: it would be very nice to see a similar solution from VMware. Small customers, with the essential plus bundle, could manage their infrastructure through a service provided by VMware)

But it’s not only about the cloud platform! Similar solutions can also be found for the network. For example, I was amazed by the abilities shown by Meraki (a company owned by CISCO) at the last TFDx in Milan. They offer physical hardware, but all the configuration, management, monitoring and (gorgeous) Analytics are performed from/on the cloud.

Closing the circle

Master with puppetHaving local resources managed from the cloud is a great thing. TCO of your (cloud) infrastructure could be dramatically reduced if performed through a public cloud. It’s happening at every level, from the single appliance for the SMB to the large enterprise infrastructure.

I think we’ll be seeing many more cloud-based management solutions this year and I won’t be surprised if we also see more converged/hyperconverged infrastructures acting as extensions of public clouds (examples can already be found at Microsoft and HDS).

Last but not least, there is great potential in cloud-based management and it is all about cloud-based analytics. Brilliant examples of what I have in mind can already be found in Storage (e.g. Nimble’s Infosight), Virtualization (e.g. CloudPhysics) and Networking (Meraki, once again). It’s just the beginning, but cloud-based infrastructure management will enable us to enter in a new era of smarter, more efficient and less expensive infrastructures!