Today’s business runs on modern applications, and these applications need the most up-to-date infrastructure and platforms to function. But how does an enterprise choose and consolidate all the infrastructure and platform options available to them, as well as choose a best-of-breed portfolio that both addresses their needs and is cost-effective? There may not be a single correct answer to this, but a hybrid cloud setup can get them a step closer to their desired state. Hybrid, in this case, means an environment that has multiple vendor software and hardware products, as well as an on-premises and public cloud presence for infrastructure resources.
Let us first consider some characteristics of modern applications:
Agility – Applications today need to be agile. They need to be able to compartmentalize feature sets to support frequent releases and be able to support frequently increasing workloads. One could argue that the adoption of data center infrastructure agility has accelerated in recent years because it’s been driven by the need for agility in business-critical applications.
Platform Independence – Modern applications need to decouple themselves from the underlying infrastructure. Every application provides a specific service, and as long as that service doesn’t consume the underlying infrastructure or depend on its features, the application platform and application code should be able to run on any infrastructure anywhere. This powerful feature of modern applications can cross physical or virtual boundaries of data centers and ultimately move between them seamlessly.
Tiered Architecture – Traditional data center applications were organized in a web app, database-like tiered model. These applications required all tiers to be replicated to achieve horizontal scaling. Applications were then transformed to decouple the components. For example, an application would have its database run on-premises and web-tier in the cloud, or maybe consume web-tier from the on-premises datacenter and connect to a database farm in the cloud. It may also have the application engine run within the on-premises datacenter and consume the web-tier and database from the cloud, or a combination thereof.
Now, with the new generation of applications that are developed using micro-services, an application component can now also be scaled individually without affecting other components of the same application. This capability allows developer teams to work in agile streams that focus on a specific encapsulated functionality with subject matter experts at a feature level. There’s also a high degree of focus on interface and usability – which some would consider a separate tier itself. An example would be a streaming application interface that relies heavily on CDN (Content Delivery Network).
Let’s take a look at why a hybrid cloud setup is not only recommended, but required for such applications to thrive.
Along with some of the above characteristics, modern applications also need to be easily accessible through various devices and have critical security features built-in. The underlying infrastructure, which the application runs on, should not impede its flexibility. For example, a content streaming application needs CDN components delivered via the cloud, even if the large database it uses for content or analysis is on-premises. Such an application would require hybrid infrastructure. Another example is a micro-services developed application that needs to deliver its user interface cheaper, faster and better – and this can be done via cloud components, while the application engine remains on-premises. A further example is an application that’s consumed via API services; the API services need to reside in the cloud, while data integration happens on-premises.
Other applications that have stringent security requirements may also have a virtualized security layer hosted locally, which enables intrusion prevention and other features, while content delivery components can leverage cloud offerings. Many business-critical applications have performance requirements that can only be met by a best-of-breed approach of software and hardware components. Ultimately, a hybrid setup provides a conducive environment for the new generation applications to thrive.
Do your customers need to evaluate their business applications to see if they are cloud ready? Are your customers struggling with migrating application workloads in a hybrid environment? Tech Data offers cloud migration services and may be able to assist with your needs. For more details, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your Tech Data Cloud representative.