Swing Shift Hybrid Cloud


There is currently much discussion about the fast paced potential growth of the use of hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud is generally defined as the informational and managerial relationship between an organization’s internal, private cloud and someone else’s cloud, be it public, or hosted private cloud.

The first use case that comes to most people’s minds is the notion of expanding one’s own processing capability for burstable processing requirements. These are often associated with the seasonal fluctuations of any number of retailers or business services providers (think Black Friday, Election Day, or any other significant periodic  inflection point). The ability to augment in-house compute cycles for these relatively short term and periodic bursts  means that companies have an extra weapon in the capacity planning arsenal:  capital expenditures  are budgeted to meet the general steady-state processing capacity while operational expense may be contracted based on utilization to meet that yearly services rush. The business advantage to buying-for-the-surge is that the additional cost can be associated with the specific event and can be used to generate cost-benefit-analysis specifically for that event.

A less discussed yet equally beneficial use of hybrid cloud is in what I call “swing-shift” mode, that is, the corporate merger or acquisition project.  The acquisition of companies with technology assets can present many challenges: the acquired company has often not kept its technology up to date in anticipation of being sold; perhaps there are vast differences in security, compliance or other IT governance issues between the acquirer and the acquired. In each of these cases the acquirer may be loath to bring such IT assets onto the network or into the data center too quickly or without ample triage around the migration approach. Hybrid cloud can provide a safe “swing-architecture” as a temporary home for users’ desktops, mailboxes, or even certain business applications. For the acquiring company it can provide a useful virtual, “cleansing” environment to use as a base prior ingesting into the permanent environment.

For this type of hybrid cloud, choosing a provider requires certain consideration criteria: the usage profile will be experienced over months versus days or weeks for the highly elastic burst model. Certain IT management elements such as data protection, security and even perhaps DR may need to be considered and included. And because the data originates from an external source (the acquired company), a data migration plan in addition to an application migration strategy will need to be considered. All-in-all, the hybrid cloud can make for a decent staging and filtering area for incoming IT assets due to an acquisition.