Anthos, Azure Stack, Outposts ...: solutions for the hybrid cloud

In the cloud, companies often rely on private cloud and a bit on the public cloud. To support this hybridization, IaaS suppliers have developed hybrid offers in recent years. From AWS to Microsoft to IBM / Red Hat and Google Anthos: An overview of market solutions.

Leading public cloud providers now have a hybrid solution. Outposts for AWS, Azure Stack for Microsoft, Anthos for Google Cloud, Oracle and IBM. This hybrid strategy consists of placing workflows on different infrastructure environments (public or private cloud or on-site with an orchestration layer). Companies choose this approach because some applications need to stay on-site, such as low-latency ones or those subject to data localization regulations. According to RightScale's report on the state of the cloud in 2019, hybrid cloud is the preferred business strategy for 58% of respondents, 17% go to multiple public clouds and 10% trust a single public cloud.

The benefits of the hybrid cloud lie in the ability to redistribute investments and skills as needed. It builds resilience and provides a way to compare vendor strengths without being constrained. Cloud actors are aware of this demand for flexibility. Here are the different options of the main suppliers for the hybrid cloud.

Microsoft Azure Stack: The pioneer in the hybrid

Microsoft has been betting on hybrid deployments for a long time compared to other players. The Azure Stack brick was available in technical beta mode in January 2016. It offers users different Azure services for their own data center and, in theory, makes the transition to the cloud easier for businesses that are subject to regulatory constraints or reluctant to migration. Applications can be created in the Azure cloud and deployed in the same cloud or in the enterprise datacenter without rewriting code.

Azure Stack provides a set of services to customer datacenters, such as virtual machines, storage, network, VPN gateway and load balancing, as well as platform services like functions (in a logic of serverless), containers, database solutions or identity management, such as Active Directory.

Microsoft's offer can be run on hardware from multiple vendors like HPE , Dell EMC, Cisco, Huawei and Lenovo. Recently, the group introduced Azure Stack HCI for hyperconverged environments. Pricing is flexible from $ 0.008 per hour per virtual CPU, but the Microsoft software support agreement and hardware support must be considered by the chosen vendor.

AWS Outposts: promises to materialize

At its re: Invent in 2018 conference, AWS took a big step towards hybrid deployments by unveiling Outposts , a fully managed service where AWS provides preconfigured hardware and software to the datacenter on prem or in the space of co-location of companies. The idea is to run natively cloud applications outside of AWS data centers. "Customers will order racks with the same hardware used in AWS regions, software and services like computing and storage. Customers can then work in two models, "said Andy Jassy, ​​AWS CEO at the time. These two variants are: running VMware Cloud on AWS, or running on-premise computing and storage using AWS cloud APIs.

Currently, customers can configure their Outposts offering with a variety of EC2 instances and EBS volumes for storage. With the actual availability expected by the end of 2019, Outposts should support locally the elastic cluster service (ECS) cluster and the elastic kubernetes service (EKS) cluster for containerized applications; EMR clusters for data analysis and RDS instances for relational database services with the SageMaker and MSK machine learning kit for application streaming on Apache Kafka clusters.

In a blog post published in September 2019, Matt Garman, Vice President of IT Services at AWS, added more details about the Outposts project and highlighted use cases in industries such as the industry. health, financial services, media and telecommunications. "One of the most common scenarios is applications that require single-digit latency in milliseconds for users or on-premises equipment," says the executive.

Ouposts should be available by the end of 2019, but pricing information is not yet known.

Google Anthos: multicloud and natively Kubernetes

Google Cloud made a splash in April 2018 when it announced the general availability of Anthos , a platform that offers the ability to run on-premises applications, in Google Cloud and especially in other public clouds like Microsoft's Azure and AWS.

Under the hood, Anthos is a combination of Google's KUBernetes Engine (GKE), GKE's on prem version, and the Anthos Config Management console for unified administration, policy, and security across Kubernetes hybrid solution deployments. Anthos is hardware independent and can run on existing client servers or on VMware, Dell EMC, HPE, Intel and Lenovo racks.

Anthos differs from other solutions in its interoperability and open source credentials. "Anthos is able to manage workflows running on third-party cloud systems like AWS and Azure, giving you the freedom to deploy, run, and manage applications in the cloud of your choice, without requiring administrators and developers to learn different environments and APIs, "notes Google Cloud in a blog. "Today, if you talk to Azure, they'll tell you that you can run Azure Stack, Amazon will tell you to run outposts on-premise and in the AWS cloud. These are good companies, but they do not solve the problem of multi-cloud, "says Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud.

Analysts are convinced by the approach of the American firm, as indicated by Nick McQuire, vice president of research at CCS Insight, "with Anthos and in particular its support of open source and in particular Kubernetes, Google now takes a much more realistic way to meet the needs of customers and could become the standard for hybrid and multicloud services in this next market evolution ".

Anthos is billed as a monthly subscription with a minimum commitment of one year. Its price is then set to blocks of 100 vCPUs, starting at $ 10,000 per block, regardless of where the workflow is executed.

Oracle Cloud at Customer: the all-in-one model

Oracle's IaaS activity is not often put forward, but it has long been a hybrid option called Cloud at Customer. Launched in 2016, this offering brings customers' datacenters, cloud infrastructures and a platform of services such as databases, big data, application development, as well as SaaS solutions such as CRM and ERP. HCM.

Oracle provides its own converged hardware, SDS (Software Defined Storage) and management services to run the applications. The firm is simply asking for a location, network and power in the datacenters. Compared to the competition, Oracle asks its customers a long-term commitment, 3 to 4 years minimum to take into account the investment in the equipment and the installation.

Nirav Mehta, vice president of product management at Oracle, describes the service as "the extension of Oracle Cloud to the customer datacenter, so the same brick but all data live on the customer site." He adds, "We take care of the sizing, construction, delivery, deployment and management of the software. We therefore options for a turnkey service.

Oracle says the service has proven popular with public sector clients, such as the UK government, as well as with financial services. Bank of America and AT & T are two public references.

IBM at the power of Red Hat

IBM has clearly reoriented its strategy to become a hybrid cloud provider since its 2018 acquisition of Red Hat for $ 33 billion. The integration between the two companies begins, but IBM clearly wants to present itself as an independent partner for customers looking to exploit hybrid and multi-cloud environments by providing a set of services and tools. These are there to "help organizations migrate, integrate and manage applications and workflows seamlessly and securely in any IT environment, public or private cloud, or on premise," says IBM.

Specifically, the offering includes an integration platform called the Cloud Integration Platform to help leverage cloud services in cloud and on-premise environments with a secure business model and tools. The container-based platform promises easy porting of data and applications to the chosen infrastructure by handling APIs, events and messages.

On the IBM side, IBM seems to be aligning a large portion of its sales teams around customer consulting on "how to architect the best cloud strategy from design, migration, integration, roadmap". One of the leading clients in this area is Santander Bank, which has announced that it will invest $ 700 million over five years to make IBM "one of Santander Group's key transformation partners - helping Banco Santander to implement its hybrid cloud strategy. " IBM supports the bank with its "methodologies and processes to accelerate transformation. In addition, the bank uses a range of technologies including IBM's development solutions and API Connect, aimed at developing.