Open hybrid cloud: The next evolution of computing

June 23, 2021 08:24
Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) unveiled the “Fintech 2025” strategy earlier this month, recognizing that fintech will become a key growth engine for the financial industry in the post-pandemic era. To fully leverage the benefits of technology, companies are transforming their IT infrastructures and embracing cloud.

According to the 2020 Cloud Readiness Index by the Asia Cloud Computing Association, Hong Kong is now the most cloud-ready market in APAC, scoring 81.9 out of 100. Singapore ranked second with a score of 81.5.

Looking ahead, the next evolution in cloud computing that Hong Kong needs to be ready for is the open hybrid cloud. The open hybrid cloud strategy gives developers a common application environment to develop, orchestrate, and run their applications, while giving sysadmins and operations teams a common operating environment to manage their infrastructure.

Businesses everywhere are feeling immense pressure to increase agility and automate processes to meet customer needs and, of course, grow financially. Transforming into a digital business by giving cloud-like flexibility to critical business systems is no longer optional; it’s imperative.

Meanwhile, developers are looking for every option to reduce their time to success for each project. And operations teams need to maintain infrastructure security and reliability. So, we can no longer only focus on perfecting the functionality of the software that we build.

In an environment where developers need to innovate as rapidly as their cloud platforms will allow, the stability and availability of software at massive scale is as important as that software’s ability to function at all.

Operate First

Good software with a poor operational experience has limited value, especially as more enterprise software moves into the cloud.

Right now, all the operational expertise for running software is removed from the production of the code. If our goal is to maintain the “openness” of open hybrid cloud, we have to bridge the gap between the knowledge (and tools that support effective operations at scale) with the community that’s producing the software. This means really considering the operator’s software experience and “operationalizing” development.

This critical concept is something that I call “Operate First”.

Operate First is about supporting the development of operational knowledge that can be encoded into upstream open source projects. Without a community focus on Operate First, companies consume the efforts of open source communities, learn how to operate those systems at scale, and then reserve that knowledge for themselves, rather than contributing back to the community. As the world moves towards cloud services, we must bring the community along, by building on the software and the strong relationships we’ve built.

Meeting the demand for computational resources at the edge

Keeping the Operate First concept in mind, companies need to cope with exponential data growth. In fact, one of the five focus areas of Fintech 2025 is creating the next-generation data infrastructure. Modern enterprise applications run on data, and the proliferation of endpoints in the hybrid cloud has led to staggering amounts of data to be processed. In the past, companies focused on getting this data back to a central point to process. But that approach isn’t going to work anymore.

According to FinancesOnline, there will be 75 billion IoT devices by 2025. And those devices are generating a lot of data. For example, the Automotive Edge Computing Consortium and IHS Automotive say that—at a low estimate—the average connected vehicle will produce up to 30 terabytes of data in a single day of driving. With this volume of information flowing into enterprise systems, we’re hitting actual physical limitations with bandwidth and latency.

To keep up with this flood of data, companies must push the ability to process and react to information out to those edge endpoints. This will mean tackling challenges that are unique to the environments where edge devices are deployed. Some of the challenges include device resource constraints, securing publicly accessible devices and building tolerance for interruptions across massive, distributed networks.

As this exciting new system model emerges, we are defining the datacenter of the future: an open hybrid cloud datacenter. And I hope open source becomes the de facto standard for creating these new composable architectures.

Emerging technologies clearly rely on a future rooted in open standards, open code and open knowledge, therefore open hybrid cloud is vital. Whether you’re a customer, partner, open source community member, or vendor, we are all working together to support this vision for the open hybrid cloud, we are creating the future together.

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Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Red Hat