The Architectural View of the Hybrid Cloud Environment

To be successful in the hybrid cloud world, you need to understand the architectural view of the hybrid cloud environment. The architectural view includes both the underlying processes and computing elements combined with best practices needed to create a model that can stand the test of time. Start by asking these questions:

  • Who are the constituents that will be served by the cloud?

  • What functions are needed to meet your company’s requirements?

  • What’s the nature of the workloads that you need to support in the cloud?

  • What are the range of on-premises services that need to interact with your cloud services?

The reality is that cloud computing is part of your overall computing model. As with everything else in the world, nothing is black and white. There are tradeoffs to be made. However, at the end of the day, the way you plan and execute your computing environment will be tied directly to your optimal customer experience.

Three constituents that are part of the cloud ecosystem determine how you view the cloud architecture:

  • Cloud consumers: The individuals and groups within an organization that use different types of cloud services to get a task accomplished. A cloud consumer could be a developer using compute services from a public cloud or a partner that uses a private cloud environment to purchase products or services.

  • Cloud service provider: These can be commercial vendors or companies that create their own capabilities. The commercial vendors sell their services to cloud consumers. In contrast, a company might decide to become an internal cloud service provider to its own employees, partners, and customers — either as an internal service or as a profit center. These providers also create applications or services for these environments.

  • Cloud broker: A cloud broker brings together services from a variety of suppliers to create an overall hybrid cloud environment. An organization that provides brokering services may be in charge of negotiating the contract between the provider and the consumer of services.

What your organization does will set the requirements for how you plan your cloud architecture. If you’re a cloud consumer, you have the responsibility to select the right set of services based on your business requirements. You don’t need to think about how to necessarily architect each element; instead, think about how to link elements together that you’ll use. A cloud consumer has to be careful not to create a set of disconnected silos that can’t be managed.

In contrast, if your organization is a cloud service provider, you’ll spend a lot more time architecting the elements. You also need to understand how to build applications and business services that are optimized for this environment. These service creators need to be concerned with consistency of the services that they’re building so that they can support their customers — both in the short-term and for the long run.

A cloud service provider can be a commercial vendor selling services, or it could be an internal resource designed for the use of employees and partners. The cloud service provider has to create an entire environment that can easily connect with an ecosystem of partners.

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