Most remember the medieval torture device called the rack, where increasing pressures would generate increasing pain and the threat of dismemberment in order to extract knowledge or confessions or wealth from the subject. Perhaps the medieval rack is also the origination of the term racketeer.
In a few years the premise-bound hardware rack may acquire a similar reputation as enterprise IT shifts from maintaining increasingly outdated, complex and painful processes (internally and at third party sites) tied to traditional IT to more agile, more available and more efficient cloud-based apps and services.
The hybrid cloud is the second enterprise-friendly step to this new world of IT, after the evolution of private cloud gave enterprises a tactical taste of the power of agility. The hybrid cloud will introduce strategic and transformative agility, beyond the tactical agility introduced by virtualized workloads moving within a virtualized environment like hockey pucks sliding easily between the confines of ice rinks.
The cloud as infrastructure is the next great backplane for levels of agility rarely (if ever) seen in any data center or even cobbled network of data centers. It will destroy the rack-think present today and will make IT less technical and yet more strategic to the bottom line and will usher in a new IT revolution that will make the dotcom era look like the mainframe era.
As a point of reference for 2014 and beyond I offer this glimpse of hybrid cloud deployment. In addition to the app stack in the cloud it shows an SSH tunnel back to the data center. That model supports the disruptive cloud DR use case, in addition to the strategic use of cloud for DevTest and DevOps.
When you think about the cloud for the first time it is hard to consider its ability to increase agility, protection, efficiency and control. You see it as IT as usual on a rack someone else owns and operates. Yet as soon as you think past the outworn “manual process swamp” stereotype of hybrid cloud deployment, the business case becomes clear. That is why 2014 will be so pivotal, along with the hybrid cloud entrees by Azure and vCloud. Enterprises will begin embracing hybrid cloud automation for production apps. As they share their experiences publicly it will generate the shift that everyone has been talking about but few have actually deployed. Stay tuned.