Hybrid Cloud Revolution – Redefining Enterprise IT architecture in the Modern Cloud Era

Why Hybrid Cloud ?
Enterprise IT infrastructure is going through drastic technology transformation by adapting public cloud and moving the on-premises applications and workloads to public cloud to reduce the overhead, this is indeed helping businesses to seamlessly architect, deploy and run critical enterprise applications. In parallel to this, hybrid cloud is also trending because still there are various business needs where hybrid cloud is great fit for enterprise.
While many private cloud solutions have been there in the market since decade, but in last couple of years we have seen major investments from public cloud providers in the hybrid cloud solutions. From my perspective, this is because now customers are looking for latest generation of hybrid cloud model that can seamlessly integrate with their existing public cloud environment and should be easy from both deployment and manageability perspective.
With the Hybrid Cloud model we still get the benefits of elasticity and agility as with Public Cloud along with additional security controls of our on-premises as the complete stack is going to be under our control.

I’m going to discuss few major Hybrid Cloud solutions briefly in this post. Below are three Hybrid Cloud solutions being provided by current cloud computing players Microsoft, AWS and Google.

1. Microsoft Azure Stack

In Microsoft’s word “Azure Stack: An extension of Azure”. Azure Stack is a Hybrid Cloud solution built on top of Windows 2016 SDDC capabilities like HNVv2 (VXLAN) for software-defined networking, Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) for software-defined storage and leveraging Azure Resource Manager (ARM) API as a management layer.
So basically, its collection of Compute, Storage and Network resources with their respective Resource Providers same like with Microsoft Azure. Azure Stack brings most of Microsoft Azure’s IaaS and PaaS services to your on-premises data center which gives you same experience Microsoft Azure public cloud.
So in simple term, Azure Stack provides single Azure ecosystem and have rich integration with Microsoft Azure as they both uses same ARM API as management layer.

Deployment Model:
Below are two deployment options available for Microsoft Azure Stack.

Azure Stack Integrated Systems:
This is intended for the production deployments and offered by Microsoft’s OEM partners like Dell EMC, HP, Cisco, Lenovo. We don’t buy Azure Stack directly from Microsoft, Azure Stack integrated systems are available from 4-16 nodes, and supported by the Azure Stack partner and Microsoft.

Azure Stack Development Kit (ASDK):
For non-production and testing purpose, Microsoft offers ASDK as free download. This is a single-node deployment and has few limitations as this is deployed on a single host machine. This perfectly suitable for people who would like to explore Azure Stack solution in the lab or a developer who develops and tests applications using APIs with Azure. You may refer below Microsoft documentation to know the prerequisites to deploy this in the lab.

ASDK Architecture:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure-stack/asdk/asdk-architecture
ASDK Hardware Requirements:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure-stack/asdk/asdk-deploy-considerations#hardware

There are various native tools can be used to manage Azure Stack as with Microsoft Azure. People who are familiar these tools working with Microsoft Azure would find it very easy as these below management tools built on top of same APIs.
–Azure Stack PowerShell
–Azure Stack CLI
–Azure Resource Manager (ARM) Templates
–Azure Stack Portal.

2. AWS Outposts

AWS announced their entry to Hybrid Cloud world during their yearly event re:Invent 2018. It was little surprising when this news came because most of the people wasn’t expecting this kind of solution from AWS because AWS was never focused towards Hybrid or Private Cloud market. AWS Outposts is true Hybrid Cloud solution backed by AWS’s Nitro Hypervisor and custom-built hardware as in AWS public cloud data center, Customer can deploy AWS Outposts in on-premises data center and can use exact same tools and APIs to deploy and manage the stack as AWS public cloud.

The great thing about AWS Outpost is that you can order this directly from AWS and complete stack is owned and supported by AWS including hardware so customer doesn’t have to rely on two different vendors for hardware platform or software stack

AWS Outposts is currently in beta phase and we don’t have detailed documentations available for this yet, So stay tuned for more details on this later. Basically there are two different variant of AWS Outposts available as below:
–AWS Outposts Native
–AWS Outpost VMWare Cloud

3. Google Anthos

Google announced their Hybrid and Multi-Cloud solution “Anthos” at their Cloud Next 2019 conference. Anthos is backed Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) and is hardware agnostic that allows you to deploy Anthos on existing server hardware.
As mentioned it’s a pure Multi-Cloud platform, Google Anthos allows you to deploy and run applications on-premises and on any other cloud platform as well. Anthos’s Multi-Cloud approach provides huge flexibility to customers running workloads in multi-cloud scenarios like we can deploy and manage applications in AWS and Azure too.
So Anthos doesn’t block you to specific partner or provider to run this on-premises. Basically Google Anthos is collection of various core software stack below and the same core components makes up Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as well.
–GKE On-Prem 1.0
–Anthos Config Management 1.0
–Istio OSS 1.1.7
–Stackdriver for system components
–Kubernetes Applications in GCP Marketplace

Like with Microsoft Azure Stack or AWS Outposts, Google Anthos is not shipped to on-premises as “Stack” or “Hyper-Converged” appliance, it’s purely software based solution that can be deployed on existing infrastructure and provides multi-cloud manageability.

I explained all three major Hybrid Cloud solutions, based on your business requirement and scenario you may choose what’s most suitable solution for your enterprise.

What’s next ?
I will keep researching more about this topic and keep updating with latest information. So please stay tuned.

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