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Hybrid clouds to dominate the IT landscape in Australia

Organisations in Australia are increasingly opting for hybrid cloud services that enable them to buy some processing power upfront and rent more when needed

Recent analysis suggests hybrid cloud is two to five years off hitting the mainstream in Australia, but there is a flurry of activity as organisations gear up for it.

Australia’s reputation as an early adopter of technologies suggests it may be a candidate for early hybrid cloud adoption.

Canberra-based startup Buttonwood is well ahead, and plans to go live with its cloud exchange platform in October. Managing director Allan King said its dashboard-style interface and portal delivers much greater clarity about what resources are being used and the long-term cost of those services.

It also makes shifting loads from the public cloud to on-premise equipment much simpler, putting control in the hands of IT professionals. According to King, this additional control could save enterprises as much as 30% of their processing bills.

Buttonwood has integrated its platform with the application programming interfaces (APIs) of the cloud services it offers, and can also hook into the APIs of clients’ installed systems. It will initially provide access to Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and plans to offer Dimension Data and Telstra cloud services in the future.

King said the company enables customers to pay upfront for a base level of cloud and rent more when required. “We work off a ‘buy the base, rent the peak’ strategy,” he added. Public cloud might be used for around a third of the time, he said, but for the remainder on-premise infrastructure would handle more regular workloads.

Hybrid cloud deployment requires careful planning

Telsyte analyst Rodney Gedda said there has been a moderate uptake of hybrid cloud in Australia to date, though it is growing steadily. Hybrid cloud will offer an optimised computing environment for most enterprises in Australia, he said, so IT professionals will need to perform integration to allow public and on-premise or private cloud to sensibly co-exist.

Gedda said that unlike public cloud, which could be bought by anyone in the enterprise, effective hybrid cloud deployments need the IT department and business teams to co-operate on their development and deployment.

“Hybrid is definitely the way of the future. The opportunities are boundless to take control of applications and services,” he said.

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In its most recent hype-cycle however, analyst Gartner has estimated that hybrid cloud could still be two to five years off mainstream deployment due to some of the technology challenges associated with the approach.

But Fujitsu claimed some enterprises are already embracing the hybrid model, and are seeking tools to help orchestrate and instil good governance across their platforms.

The company has recently rebranded and relaunched its hybrid cloud management platform globally.

Joel O’Halloran, Fujitsu’s global head of managed infrastructure services and digital business platform, said Fujitsu Cloud Services Management would be rolled out in Europe first, but that Australia was expected to be an early adopter of hybrid cloud. “Hybrid IT for us is the new normal,” he said.

An Australian now living in London, O’Halloran said that while Australian businesses had been forward thinking with regard to cloud, there was now increasing maturity. He said debates had moved on from having a data sovereignty impetus and instead now focused on the need to allow different cloud services to be harnessed to support innovation, but with proper governance and control around that.

The Fujitsu tool, similar to Buttonwood’s, offers a portal for the unified management of usage status, contracts and costs across a company. According to O’Halloran, this allows an entire cloud ecosystem to be managed from one tool.

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