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The move to hybrid is part of the evolution of cloud, according to IDC Research VP Mary Johnston Turner. It's an evolution that will require a new generation of IT management technologies.
"We see increasing interest in open standards based heterogeneous and hybrid cloud architectures," Turner said during a Red Hat sponsored webcast this week. "A couple of years ago, we mostly saw tactical cloud initiatives, focused on enabling fast self-service deployments for relatively specific needs."
The early focus with cloud involved rapid setup and teardown of cloud computing. In contrast, Turner noted that today increasing numbers of organizations are approaching cloud as a strategic evolution of their IT architecture and management strategy.
According to an IDC survey conducted this month, approximately half of the survey respondents indicated that they are planning on a private cloud strategy while the other half plan on rolling out a hybrid public and private cloud approach.
"It's going to be a very diverse and complex environment out there for a number of years," Turner said.
That diversity includes the use of different virtualization hypervisors as well as underlying operating systems. Turner noted that according to recent IDC research, over half of enterprises plan on introducing new hypervisors into their cloud environments.
She added that 47 percent of enterprise cloud customers have also told IDC that they expect to increase their open source and Linux spend over the next 12 months. Additionally, IDC research found that 72 percent of enterprises identified open source and open standards as being a key factor when it comes to evaluating cloud software options.
When it comes to managing the cloud, Turner stressed that virtualization management technology alone is not enough.
"Successful cloud management has to be thought of as more than just virtualization management or a provisioning portal," Turner said. "IT decision makers are finding that they need new management approaches that can really consistently monitor, optimize and provision across complex multi-tier environments."
Turner suggests that cloud managers need a unified management interface that is able to look across all the available resources and workloads.
IDC research also indicates that 75 percent of enterprise IT buyers currently believe that the cloud will require them to buy new management software beyond what they already have in place. That need will propel the cloud systems management business to $3.6 billion in revenue by 2016, according to IDC
Among the capabilities that enterprises need from a cloud management platform are advanced virtual server management tools as well as capacity planning and analytics features. Application performance management and monitoring as well as workflow orchestration and task automation capabilities are also required.
Turner suggests there are a number of steps for success when it comes to hybrid cloud deployments. She recommends that enterprises embrace an end-to-end services view of management and operations.
Enterprises also should consider a scaled approach to embracing the cloud.
"I think we'll find organizations plan for a deployment that can start small, deliver a quick ROI, and scale up quickly as needed," Turner said.