back to article What is Hybrid Infrastructure? Glad you asked...

As part of its recent split, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced "four areas of transformation", among them the buzzword-heavy "hybrid infrastructure". But what exactly is hybrid infrastructure? Each company seems to have a different idea of what it could mean. What does HPE mean when they say “hybrid infrastructure”? How …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Sysadmin ancien d'hier

    There's a bit of redundancy there, Mr Pott - kinda like saying an ancient old-timer sysadmin. He's an old-timer already, how much more do you want his back to be bent ? ;)

    I am emphatically not a sysadmin, but I am clearly on the old-timer side of the path (and retirement is now barely perceptible in the haze of time), so I will jauntily assume the mantel of ye old mountain yokel and defend that "just someone else's server" position that you seem to dismiss out-of-hand.

    Yes, I understand that IT is once again undergoing a sea change, what with broadband being more prevalent and data centers being something everyone apparently has these days. Someone might point out that this was inevitable. Fine.

    I also readily accept that there are SLAs and contractual obligations and so on and so forth. Great.

    Finally, I will not bring in to the debate the issues of security and governmental snooping. I will accept to put those aside to focus on the issue of in-house, or not in-house, which is the question (and yes, I know the article is about hybrid ; that just means that you're managing both sets of issues).

    Now, for starters, don't bother me with the cost argument. It has been said in these very hallowed articles that going cloud is just displacing the cost center, there is no diminution of costs. With that out of the way, we can concentrate on five nines, functionality and performance.

    When you go to the cloud, you get a rosy picture, a nice contract with a bunch of promises, and then you start finding out what actually works and how well. You might be able to do some special things, but if the Cloud is not compatible, you won't be able to do it, however much you ask and plead for it to happen. That's because you're just a drop in the cloud, and only if there are many, many more drops asking the same thing will the cloud change to you. So, in this configuration, it is you who are tied to the cloud, not the reverse.

    When you go in-house, it's up to you to get the expertise and it's your money that is invested in the infrastructure. That can get quite expensive, I agree. Especially if, like RBS, you get rid of the expertise and hand over daily management to some external company that proceeds to royally screw everything up. Companies need to learn to keep expertise at hand - sometimes high salaries are worth paying.

    Of course, in-house failures can and will happen. The cloud goes down for various reasons, in-house can go down as well. The difference being that you can, when in-house, identify issues beforehand, prepare mitigation procedures and, hopefully, implement them quickly when things go pear-shaped.

    And if things really go pear-shaped, well you have your personnel at hand and are also there to "encourage" them to get it working again.

    When things go bad in the cloud, your mitigation procedure is store the data until the connection comes back. You have only one course of action : call and find out when things will be coming back. Then you just might find out that they won't, because the cloud has been zapped by hackers, or because there were no backups, or because the datacenter is under water, etc. At that point, supposing you do have backups, you're still stuck with having to find another cloud provider, then having to set everything up there, then finding out just how hard it is to get your data on that new cloud.

    You will note I have not made mention of connectivity. If your connection goes down, it doesn't matter where the servers are, you're disconnected and you'll have to wait until the connection returns.

    So what I'm saying is that the cloud is not a better solution than in-house. It is just a solution with a different set of constraints. Use your server, you get one set of problems. Use someone else's server, you get another set of problems.

    The real issue is understanding why you choose which set.

    But it's still someone else's server.

    1. Naselus

      Re: Sysadmin ancien d'hier

      Upvoted for pointing out most of the reasons why Cloud never made the inroads it claimed it was going to. TBH, the only people I know how have gone full-tilt cloudy are small-scale software companies (easier to spin up a VM in the cloud on demand for testing than to own one) and managers who have been told they're not allowed X resource from central IT and so are trying to be clever by going shadow.

      Everyone else has a little bit here and there (maybe Office 365, or a cloud-based CRM, or possibly cloud as off-site backup silo) but remains predominantly onsite. Not least because turning my internet connection into a huge single point of failure for X hundred machines is just not an option for most workloads, and a 70mbps pipe pulling data from an exchange 5 miles away is a hell of a bottleneck compared to servers 50 feet away on gigabit LAN.

  2. Dr Who

    Horses for courses

    These are all good points well made. It surely depends on the user base you are considering when assessing where your systems should run. If the system you are looking at is for internal consumption within your business, keep the system local. If you are serving tens of thousands of consumers via the web, it may well make sense to place that system in a third party data centre with massive redundant routes to the Internet, something that would be tough to deliver from your own premises. If your system is serving both internal and external user communities, then maybe hybrid is the answer.

    I agree entirely that using cloud infrastructure is no silver bullet either financially or technically, it just increases the options available for delivering solutions.

  3. nilfs2

    Have you noticed that almost all hardware vendors are talking about going hybrid? You will never see the likes of HP, EMC, Dell, NetApp and so on, talking about going full cloud.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I too have done this

    In my family we have a Retina iMac, a Macbook Air, two iPhones and three iPads, one being an iPad Pro, and an Apple TV. They all have access to the same photos, music and films on them. Three questions:

    1. Have I just created a Hybrid Cloud?

    2. Did I use DevOps?

    3. Do I win £5?

  5. csteffen

    Fantastic Article - And More...

    Trevor - great article. I personally (and professionally) believe that hybrid cloud solutions are the future, and am glad to see articles about it.@CloudSecChris

  6. ptrckkear

    HPE sales have declined overall for 17 of the last 18 quarters

    While Amazon services grew by 69% last quarter HPE services declined by 6%. HPE has twice the number of employees as Cisco or Dell for the dollars generated. HPE is famous for announcing and taking credit for innovation it has little to do with. The Open Compute Project group is forecasting they will support 80% of all IT enterprise applications within 5 years. MS, Oracle and SAP are already in the Cloud. These individually are not a problem. All together they are going to leave HPE in the dirt.

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