The trouble with the hybrid cloud

Ask industry analysts about enterprise cloud adoption, and they’ll tell you it’s all about hybrid. Sure, startups might build entirely on the public cloud, but no large enterprise is going to move everything wholesale to AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.

Instead, they’ll build some sort of private cloud, create new stuff on (and/or migrate some old stuff to) the public cloud, and closely integrate the two — the definition of the hybrid cloud.

The question is, if you need a private cloud to have a hybrid cloud, where are all the private clouds? I’m not talking about merely well-managed virtualization. At a bare minimum, I mean self-service capabilities so that developers can provision their own VMs (and these days, run containers on top of them). At the high end, I mean production implementations that operate at large scale.

For self-service to work, you need automation — or basically a library of scripts that perform common tasks: server provisioning, shared storage setup, network settings for a VLAN, and so on. Better yet, you should have orchestration assemble those automated tasks into predefined workflows for specific applications or services.