A few years ago, "cloud" was mostly considered the originator of precipitation of any sort. We talked about "clouds" with silver linings, earth bound forms of the same, such as mist or fig, and even the "fog of war".
We now rate clouds in terms of computing and storage capacity. Before "cloud" was hip, we were "hosting", and before we were doing that, we were using "data centres", either our own (private cloud) or some-one else's (public cloud).
Besides the terms, what's changed, and why should you care? For one thing - a few years ago, the "cloud "didn't threaten your job security, software automation did.
I used to work for a software vendor - now owned by Dell - which created a software product, which among other things, calculated a Group Policy Object's Resultant Set of Policy. In large organisations, that used to be what "Dave the GPO guy" did. It used to take him a day or two to calculate the effective change of a new GPO in a large environment, now it could take less than 30 seconds.
Dave wasn't happy, but he moved on. Apologies to all the Dave's who lost their job due to software automation. Software automation didn't kill entire industries, it started new ones. In fact, I never want to manually calculate a GPO result again, ever. Seems like most administrators don't either, which is great, since GPO RSOP is now free as part of the Windows OS.
Coming back to cloud, and job security.
Those of us who have been doing exchange for a while, have lived through various attempts to commoditize email, in one way or another, however in order to commoditize something, you need to standardize first. office 365 did that quite nicely, by offering mailbox sizes and collaboration services that fit many types of organisations. Not all though, but many. Where there is a fit, Office 365 or hosted Exchange is a no-brainer, partly due to the “Hybrid” experience. Hybrid deployments allow IT departments to share their Exchange infrastructures between two forests semi-transparently, appearing to be a single organisation, when in fact, a fair amount of glue holds the entire experience together.
Exchange Hybrid mode, is not only a migration mechanism, it's also a method if long term co-existence, wherein the same IT Department is able to leverage the elastic qualities of the Office 365 offering to spin up considerably more capacity on demand than what could be achieved on premises in a short period of time.
How does that apply to traditional infrastructure requirements, such as compute or storage?
Consider that in Exchange we've been able to partly hybridise using mechanisms, such as SMTP name space sharing, where your Exchange Organisation shares an SMTP domain name with something else. Either another Exchange installation disconnected from yours, a linux POP solution, or an outsourced something or other. It was shared, and if you did it right, it was reasonably transparent, but it wasn't elastic, and it didn't grow on demand.
The ability to bridge an on-premises requirement using a cloud based service, as well as leverage the on-demand features of cloud is the promise of “Hybrid Cloud”. Hybrid Mail, is a song which has been on everyone's playlist for a few years, however Hybrid Cloud for infrastructure is a tune we're only starting to hum. It's new, everyone seems to be singing their version of it.
What does it mean for you?
How do you separate the hype from the fact?
How do you not lose your job if your name is Dave?
I'll have the privilege of presenting what I think the answers are to this topic on the 10'Th of September. I'd love for you to be there, plus be able to answer questions. Please use the comment sections of this blog post to send me anything you'd like covered, and I'll do my best to do so.