Do You Want A Hybrid Cloud? Make IT or Buy IT?

car-partsRecently, I’ve had several conversations with customers about the concept of the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution. If you haven’t read any of the previous blogs on this site about it, this is an engineered solution from EMC that includes all the hardware, software, and services you need to get started with on on-premises hybrid-cloud ready IaaS portal.

One of the key elements of the solution is that it comes with the services to install and configure all of the hardware and software you need to put this all together; and do it really fast. The on-site portion of the install can often be completed within just a few days once the hardware is in place.

Capture1

This is what you get in the “Foundation” installation.

All of those components configured and ready to be customized for your own environment. There’s a lot there, and when you consider that this is designed to be a production instance vs. something in the lab, the level of effort increases dramatically.

It’s not just about installing all of these pieces and parts together, to make this solution ready for production you would need need to…

  • Size and validate the infrastructure required to manage the cloud infrastructure
  • Test and validate each version of software and associated plug-ins work with each other
  • Make sure that they also work with the hardware that the solution is being installed on
  • Ensure that all of the proper SSL Certificates are applied appropriately
  • Ensure that all of the different service and administrator accounts are also applied correctly
  • Implement custom integration between the management portal and the infrastructure

…and the list goes on and on.

You don’t get all the way to the finish line by reading the installation docs or somebody’s blog. You get that by experience. And that’s where the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud solution really excels.

The vision of a well-run hybrid cloud

This team started with a picture of an outcome.  The desired result of where customers wanted to be…quickly.Capture4 A self-service portal that would, integrated with the virtual infrastructure layer, with automation, governance, and control that extended beyond the Cloud administrators, and to the hands of the people actually using the cloud…you know…the business users.

It all came together with an in-depth engineering process, putting all of the pieces together from VMware, EMC, and now VCE.  Then, layer on the custom integrations and workflows, like Backup, DR, and Storage provisioning that are table-stakes for an Enterprise cloud.

Beyond the engineering is a highly prescriptive build process that ensures a consistent end result, optimized and tested the process out in the field with real customers.

Experience.

Now, there are really smart people working in the IT shops of our customers and who are  supported by a great network of EMC and VMware partners. These teams are more than capable of figuring this stuff out…eventually. We’ve seen very successful implementations of vRealize Automation in our customer sites where they are reaping the rewards of a self-service portal and are truly on the way to achieving IT-as-a-Service.

What we haven’t seen is a customer who was able to spin up the cloud and get it ready for production in under a month. There are so many variables to consider, and too many components in play. This is not a setup.exe process.

Once you have your cloud…

So, let’s say that you take on the effort to actually build it yourself.  You’ve done the research, ordered some hardware, downloaded the software, and run all of the installations to get a cloud up and running.  Great.  Now What?

car-crashWhat do you do when something goes wrong?  Who do you call to get support for your cloud?  Sure, VMware and your hardware vendors will take your call, but are they looking at your cloud as pieces and parts, or as a full end-to-end solution?

What happens when you decide that you want to upgrade your cloud to the latest and greatest version of vSphere or vRealize Automation?  Do you do all of the regression testing on your own to ensure that the upgrade won’t “brick” your cloud?

An analogy…

You may have heard this one before, but it’s relevant to this discussion.

When is the last time you, or even someone you know, actually BUILT a car?

It’s possible to do, and there are even some really cool “kit cars” out there that enable some really adventurous people to work from a “reference architecture” and build something really cool looking on their own.

But it’s never as good as as the car that comes off of the assembly line, and if you factor in the time and effort to build that vehicle, the next questions that comes out is…was it worth it?  If your goal was to build a car and prove that you could do it, then it probably was.  If the goal was to get a new car to drive, safely, and supported, then probably not.Capture2

The level of effort to get all the right parts, figure out how they all go together, and end up with the hot sports car, is what people are looking for.

The Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is about helping customers achieve their vision of IT-as-a-Service, without having to start from scratch.

Building a home…

Another way to wrap your head around what the Federation is doing with this solution is to think of it like a modular or pre-fab home.  These are homes that look just like normal homes.  The difference is that with a pre-fab home, it’s engineered and built off-site.  Based on a model, these houses are made to be cheaper and faster to stand up than a conventional “stick-build” house that can take weeks or months to complete.modular-home-1

With the pre-fab home, you do have to conform a bit to the designs that have created as they lend themselves not only to the build process, but also to the delivery and implementation process.  You give up some design control to lower the price and reap the benefits of the pre-fab process, but there’s always room to make the house YOUR home.

It’s the same way with the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud.  The prescriptive build process and guidelines of the solution ensure that it can be stood up quickly, and reliably. The goal is to reduce the time it takes to setup your cloud and do it in a way that actually reduces the risk and cost from a traditional build-it-yourself model.

You end up with the “Foundation” for your hybrid cloud.

And then…

Once your Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is implemented, now the fun begins.  This is where you start to turn the “pre-fab” cloud that was just spun up into YOUR cloud.  Now that the boring part of spinning up the infrastructure and the management for the portal and operations, you can start to invest in things like…

  • Creating new IaaS blueprints to deploy to your local datacenter, to a robo-location, or even to any vRA compatible public cloud, like vCloud Air, vCloud Powered SPs, and even Amazon.
  • Creating new workflows to integrate the hybrid cloud into your enterprise ecosystem.  Think ServiceNow, Infoblox, Palo Alto Networks…and more
  • Start to create and use some complex applications using Puppet Labs to integrate directly into the self-service portal, deploying applications that can be maintained by your Puppet infrastructure.
  • Add in some of the EMC Modular Add-Ons, like Continuous Availability with VPLEX, or Disaster Recovery with RecoverPoint and VMware SRM, or VM encryption with CloudLink SecureVM.

The real benefit of the Federation Enterprise Hybrid Cloud, is that you get your VMware-based cloud implemented fast, from a validated and tested “template” so you can get to the business of turning your cloud into a true asset for your business…oh and for less money and less risk.

Why not?