True Hybrid Cloud, Is It Finally Here?

By Gil Levonai, VP Marketing and Products at Zerto

Cisco’s exciting announcement today, regarding Cisco InterCloud, reflects a shared vision for hybrid cloud that we at Zerto believe is finally ready; hybrid cloud for any workload, on any hypervisor, on any provider’s cloud.

But let’s take a step back. The concept of hybrid cloud, touted by many vendors and service providers as the next big thing, enables IT to utilize on-premise and cloud based infrastructure seamlessly for cost reduction, bursting, disaster recovery and other use cases. The key to hybrid cloud acceptance in the marketplace is providing this “seamless” capability for all applications, including those production applications that are core to the business.

So why are enterprises not yet using hybrid cloud scenarios for their core production workloads?   The challenge has been that ERP, healthcare, financial and other similar complex applications are spread across multiple virtual machines, are database heavy, normally have terabytes of data, and have multiple dependencies. These production workloads are business-critical and cannot afford lengthy downtimes; they have strict SLAs and they need to be managed centrally. All of these constraints mean that these workloads are very hard to mobilize, very dependent on infrastructure and networking for performance and require strict data protection and DR solutions. Bottom line: These workloads cannot realize the benefits of hybrid cloud until more hybrid clouds will be “production ready”.

Some vendors are trying to solve this vertically, by creating an integrated stack of on-premise and cloud offerings. But even they don’t yet have the means to mobilize heavy production workloads with minimum downtime. They don’t have a fully orchestrated DR solution for these production workloads.

And even if they did have everything the production workloads need, why would an enterprise want to lock in to a specific vendor and a specific hypervisor? True hybrid cloud means the freedom of choice. Any workload, on any hypervisor, on any cloud. The choice needs to be driven by cost, performance, SLAs, not by vendor lock-in.

The good news is that the first real step toward ‘production-ready’ hybrid cloud adoption is happening! Cisco’s InterCloud announcement today, one that Zerto is proud to be a part of, is a great step for the future of production-ready hybrid cloud.

As a Cisco ecosystem partner, we share the same vision for the hybrid cloud as Cisco: one in which even complex applications span across on-premise and cloud data centers, and can be managed and accessed anywhere. Cisco InterCloud will enable hybrid clouds by allowing organizations to combine and easily move workloads — including data and applications — across different clouds depending on business and IT requirements. This flexibility and workload portability will allow organizations to cost-effectively select their optimal cloud strategy. Specific features of workload portability with InterCloud include moving applications without the need to change routing or firewall configurations between primary and recovery sites. Network flexibility in these complex areas helps to support easier cloud-based recovery. Being a member of the InterCloud ecosystem means that any Cisco-enabled service provider can offer Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and In-Cloud Disaster Recovery powered by Zerto, joining more than 100 cloud service providers who are already working with Zerto. However, the key functionality for customers considering hybrid cloud is not only robust data protection and recovery, but a new infrastructure layer enabling production workloads to be easily mobilized, without any impact on business operations, all while being easily and centrally managed and protected.

The joint solution by Zerto and Cisco delivers key functionality required for production workloads to utilize a hybrid cloud, including:

  • Workload Mobility — the ability to move production workloads regardless of complexity or size, between remote physical locations without business interruption — for private clouds, managed services clouds and public clouds
  • Network Agility — mobilize workloads without changing routing or firewall setting at recovery site, even in very dynamic networks
  • Disaster Recovery — protect workloads to the cloud or between clouds, with SLAs as low as seconds of RPO and minutes of RTO
  • Data protection — long retention of copies in different locations, including cost effective cloud archiving
  • Cross Hypervisor Portability — mobilization of workloads between hypervisors while preserving application properties such as boot dependencies, IP configuration and more

We’ve found that when customers talk about ‘hybrid cloud’, they want flexibility. To them, hybrid means open to any cloud, transparent, simple to use — where production workloads can be easily mobilized, centrally managed and protected.

Hybrid Cloud, it appears your time has come.

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