A Reality Check on Transitioning Application Infrastructures to the Cloud

In light of the Los Angeles Police Department’s recent announcement to pull the plug on Google’s cloud-based email, it’s time for a reality check on the cloud as the immediate solution to all problems. Lets start with the pressures you may hear internal to your organization…especially as they relate to your existing application infrastructure.

Are you being asked to “flip the switch” and simply push your existing application infrastructure into the public cloud? With so much hype of the form “Create your cloud in X minutes” oversimplifying the move to the cloud, its not surprising to hear these requests.

Although a simple cloud service can be “created” in minutes, transitioning an existing infrastructure into the cloud, or more likely, the hybrid cloud, is far more involved. At the recent Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration (AADI) Summit in Las Vegas, Gartner made the statement that by 2016, half of CIOs expect to operate the majority of their application infrastructures through cloud technologies. Oracle was a Platinum Sponsor of Garter AADI and presented a session titled “Tackling Complexity by Converging SOA, Cloud, and Data Integration” which provided insights into when and what to expect as you transition into the hybrid cloud. During the session, Oracle’s Vice President of Fusion Middleware Greg Pavlik discussed many challenges and solutions for transitioning from a purely on-premise deployment into the hybrid cloud.

The session was kicked off with a slide covering the lesson “those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” with something known as the “Accidental SOA Cloud Architecture”. Just as the pre-SOA architecture “accidentally” grew into an unplanned mess of point-to-point application connectivity, the hybrid cloud architecture is likely to do the same as lines-of-business by-pass IT to form direct relationships with disparate cloud providers…unless IT takes a strong and proactive role as outlined in the white paper “Avoiding the Accidental SOA Cloud Architecture

Accidental SOA Cloud Architecture

Accidental SOA Cloud Architecture slide presented at Gartner AADI

Greg Pavlik presenting at Gartner AADI 2001 in Las Vegas

Greg Pavlik - VP of Oracle Fusion Middleware presenting at Gartner AADI

Another key theme of the session was on the convergence of SOA, cloud, and data integration. Over the last decade, SOA platforms have converged from a collection of independent tools for adapters, EAI, process orchestration, event processing and more. More recently, data integration tools are beginning to share some common adapters, and design and management tools with SOA, in effect converging these platforms into a more unified approach. This “horizontal” convergence across tools and platforms is beginning to be complemented by a “vertical” convergence of deployment options between traditional on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud.

A primary benefit of this added dimension of converging disjointed cloud deployment models into a more unified approach is the flexibility to migrate each deployment of your infrastructure as requirements change. For example, increased regulatory requirements may lead to the need to move your public cloud deployment to a private or on-premise scenario. This shift should not require a complete re-architecture of the implementation.

Convergence of SOA, Cloud, and Data Integration

Convergence of SOA, Data Integration, and Cloud

Key to all of this is ease of transitioning between formerly disparate platforms and tools across SOA, data integration and more as well as across formerly disparate deployment models into a more unified on-premise, private cloud, and public cloud hybrid scenario as first introduced by Oracle at Oracle OpenWorld 2011 with the announcement of the Oracle Public Cloud.  So the question for most mid-to-large enterprises is not how quickly can the "switch be flipped" for a move to the public cloud...its more a process towards a well planned evolutionary transition to a flexible hybrid cloud.

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