Cloud computing is a hot concept in the enterprise. But for an organization wanting to move in that direction, it’s not a decision made lightly.

“Moving into the cloud can be a complex experience,” Jeff Jinnett, ecosystem program manager for the Americas at Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText said during a June 2 CMSWire webinar, "Start Your Hybrid Cloud Journey."

“You have regulated companies and enterprises that have confidential information and they may need to manage workflows on-premises.”

But what if you could have the best of all worlds? The on-premises world, as well as public and private clouds?

It’s a scenario that can have great value for enterprises that have varying requirements, Microsoft and OpenText officials stressed during the webinar. 

Integration Is Crucial

But you can’t have hybrid without strong integration. Ingo Heel, ISV alliance director for Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, said the industry will see integrations of public clouds with on-premises infrastructure and will use the two “where it makes sense,” most likely “in conjunction with each other.”

Think and — not or — Heel said. “This is not an on-premises or a cloud proposition.” In fact, it’s about realizing “true integration” of each across infrastructure applications and databases, which “we call the hybrid cloud.”

Cloud providers that require public or private cloud offerings will require you to cobble together disparate systems “and you will not get a seamless experience,” according to Heel. “That is why integration is key,” he said, “across both cloud and on-premises infrastructure.”

Why the Cloud?

OpenText’s Jinnett predicted most of the new growth in the cloud will come from larger organizations that adopt the public cloud. Why?

It offers speed, scale and economic benefits.

“The pace of innovation dramatically increases in the cloud,” Jinnett said. “You have reduced time to develop and time to market which means your IT can much more agile in servicing the needs of your business units or developers.”

Organizations in the cloud also have an infinite set of computing resources. Applications enjoy a massive global scale. You can easily scale up or down, Jinnett added, depending on the demand.

“You can use just enough resources -- nothing more or nothing less,” he said.

And cloud users pay only for what they use, which frees up capital for infrastructure investments.

Heterogenous Support

In addition to successful integration, Heel said in order for companies to win in a hybrid cloud environment they need a “heterogenous environment.”

The hybrid cloud must support multiple languages, frameworks and operation systems.

It’s about “being open, broad and flexible,” Heel said. “Your cloud provider should provide a variety of technologies so you have a cloud experience that satisfies your heterogenous needs in the enterprise.”

Most often enterprises will run on Java or .NET, but others can deploy PHP, Python and others as well. Cloud environments must also support open frameworks like Hadoop and open web content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal in addition to iOS, Android and Windows Phones.

Cloud providers should also support strong security practices, like complying with industry standards (ISO 27001, etc.). Third-party, independent auditors should test security compliance yearly, and monthly Service Language Agreements (SLAs) should be implemented.

“There’s less room for error than with the yearly ones,” he said of monthly SLAs. Regulatory and privacy policies should be clearly explained, as should problems and solution.

Jinnett described the Microsoft-OpenText combination in a hybrid cloud environment as a winning environment. OpenText solutions in enterprise content management, compliance and B2B integrations among others map well against the Microsoft Azure platform.

He called Microsoft a strategic partner that helps it support hybrid cloud environments. “Together, OpenText and Microsoft are uniquely positioned to support hybrid needs,” he said.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License Title image by h.koppdelaney.

Simpler Media Group, 2015