Open Source Mindset Bolsters Hybrid Cloud Strategies

Cloud-friendly open source models can help organizations drive their hybrid strategies to solve for today’s changing digital business requirements.

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There is a cloud strategy for every organization, and typically it involves a hybrid infrastructure comprising multiple clouds.

Only 9% of enterprises rely on 100% on-premises IT environment, and only 9% rely on an all-cloud environment, according to IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Study. The remainder have a mix of on-premise and cloud.

“A hybrid cloud strategy is appealing to many firms because hybrid cloud allows [them] to decide, based on their business specific parameters, what works best on-premise and what works best in the cloud,” says Jo Peterson (@digitalcloudgal), vice president of cloud services with Clarify 360. “Digital transformation has accelerated during the global pandemic. This need for speed and agility in business has sparked an uptick in the use of microservices to keep pace with the change.”

Without an open systems mindset, though, IT leaders could easily find themselves boxed in by proprietary constraints and unable to add and discard different cloud services as needed. Open source platforms can bolster hybrid cloud strategies “by supporting open standard protocols and being vendor agnostic,” says Avrohom Gottheil (@avrohomg), CEO at Ask the CEO.

“IT leaders need the agility to quickly customize not only the individual nodes but the complex interaction between these elements in the cloud,” says Frank Cutitta (@fcutitta), CEO and founder of HealthTech Decisions Labs. “The notion of buying closed source platforms and duct taping them together becomes economically and operationally infeasible.”

Community and innovation

The concept of an open, hybrid cloud is gaining favor as organizations look to take advantage of the open source movement.

“I think that open source and hybrid cloud make beautiful music together,” says Shelly Kramer (@ShellyKramer), co-founder and analyst at Futurum Research. “Not only are we seeing open source easily used by many organizations across both public and private clouds, open source provides organizations great flexibility — which is important today.”

Will Kelly (@willkelly), technical marketing manager with Anchore, says that, “open source platforms are foundational elements of a hybrid cloud strategy. Linux and other open source tools power cloud servers.”

Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu), enterprise strategist at Accenture offers a similar point of view: “Open source license models are cloud friendly, and the open source community has been driving modern hybrid cloud architectural elements like scalable server tiers and containers.”

Hybrid cloud and open source platforms are a natural fit, says Vi Bergquist (@vibergquist), CIO at Minnesota Housing. “The union of the two enables organizations to create hybrid cloud projects without some of the typical cloud drawbacks such as vendor lock-in, high costs, and loss of control.”

Innovation and open source go hand in hand, according to Isaac Sacolick (@nyike), president of StarCIO and author of Driving Digital. “A hybrid cloud strategy requires a balance of stable architecture components and others that can drive innovation,” he writes. “Historically, IT leaders can find both from the open source community with platforms like Linux, Java, and the Apache webserver that are in most enterprise clouds and data centers, and others like Jenkins, Docker, Git, and Kubernetes that are common DevOps tools.”

Many observers point to the rise of Linux in making open hybrid cloud a reality. “To succeed with heterogeneous connectivity and integration you must cater for interoperability with more systems than just the current popular platforms,” says Neil Cattermull (@NeilCattermull) managing director and senior analyst with The Future as a Service. “A solid operating system base, such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is a good start when discussing hybrid cloud requirements.”

Portability is a key issue 

Kayne McGladrey (@kaynemcgladrey), security architect at Ascent Solutions LLC, points out that Linux continues to be a popular deployment choice for new virtual machines on Azure. “Organizations moving legacy on-premises Linux servers to the cloud can quickly gain the benefits of robust disaster recovery and security without needing to change platforms or applications,” he says.

Brian E. Thomas (@DivergentCIO), founder and CIO of Coruzant, makes the case that, “most of the public cloud providers already use open source tech stacks to run many of their platforms anyway. Which makes for an easy transition in many cases.”

Hybrid cloud strategies abstract systems environments, says Jason James (@itlinchpin), CIO of Net Health. “Rather than environments being tied to a specific location, these environments can move between public clouds as well as traditional data centers,” he says.

“Open source technology underpins innovation and portability,” Mark Skelton (@m_skelts), CTO with CANCOM UK, points out. “If you think containers and orchestration tech like Kubernetes, they are all based on open source tech. Open source tech allows greater collaboration through communities which drives the innovation forward and is essential to the future of workload transformation.”

Nothing in life is ‘free’ 

Open source doesn’t necessarily mean free, however, points out Scott Schober (@ScottBVS), president and CEO of Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc. “Open source is often associated as ‘free’ but don’t be fooled – companies must realize there are real costs associated with implementing an effective open source hybrid cloud strategy,” he says. “These costs include installation, support, managing, as well as a learning curve.”

Proper management of open hybrid cloud is also critical, adds Christian Schulze (@Perrier_Jouet), CIO at Protectionone GmbH. Schulze says companies must build a management process to define requests and approve open source assets, just as they do with standard licenses. “Measure and track the assets, so you have predictive vision for future investment outcomes,” he urges.

No doubt, some organizations are unsure of security risks regarding their future cloud strategies. But Mark Sangster (@mbsangster), cybersecurity evangelist and author of No Safe Harbor, says, “open source platforms offer a manageable blend between cloud and traditional services, including agnostic connectors, management tools, and API simplification across multiple proprietary services. This single pane of glass and human-readable telemetry is critical to the identification of active threat, rapid investigation, and containment actions.”

The transparent and collaborative nature of open source was a big boost to cloud adoption, says Antonio Grasso (@antgrasso), CEO at Digital Business Innovation Srl. "In my opinion, open-source will continue to generate value as a perfect bridge between the different Cloud setups thanks to its flexibility and openness that guarantee the investments and enable the full control by the IT team," he concludes.

Click here to learn more about RedHat’s open source cloud solutions.

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