There’s not a single architecture that will dominate the IT landscape. Given enough time, even born in the cloud, companies incur technical debt. Organizations reduce technical debt by refactoring or migrating applications. Given enough time and technology adoption, virtually every organization will find itself in the complex world of hybrid infrastructure. IT decision-makers (ITDMs) must find a way to manage the growing complexity with slower-growing resources.
The CTO Advisor Bring Your Own Infrastructure (BYOI) Cloud Capability Matrix aims to help ITDMs navigate the choices for managed cloud. Previously considered on-premises or managed private cloud, BYOI Cloud is the concept that organizations can bring whatever flavor of infrastructure required to host cloud services but rely on service providers to manage the control plane.
We’ve been working on the criteria for this CTOA Capability Matrix by reaching out to each major public cloud provider to understand each offering. We wanted to provide what we’ve learned about each cloud provider’s capabilities. In addition, we wanted to preview our early thoughts on criteria selection.
Amazon Web Services
When bringing up the concept of BYOI public cloud, a common retort is Amazon’s Outpost. Outpost doesn’t allow customers to deploy any infrastructure for the on-premises cloud. Outpost is an AWS hardware platform provided and delivered by AWS. Customers must acquire t-shirt-sized hardware from AWS to run Outposts outside an AWS-controlled data center.
That leaves managed Kubernetes, a standard offering between the hyperscale cloud service providers (CSP). AWS’ flavor of managed Kubernetes is Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) Anywhere, which allows you to deploy Kubernetes clusters on-premises and manage them via the AWS control plane.
Based on our research, the only on-premises AWS offerings outside of EKS Anywhere are RDS on VMware and Green Grass on VMware. RDS on VMware seems to be deprecated, and Green Grass on VMware is a VMware Cloud offering vs. an AWS direct offering.
As we’ve discussed these concepts, we’ve heard from NetApp. AWS offers FSx for NetApp ONTAP, a file storage service that integrates with on-premises offerings. We put FSx for ONTAP in the Supercloud or Cross-Cloud offerings category.
Google Cloud birthed Kubernetes. Google leads its hybrid cloud conversation with Anthos. Like EKS Anywhere, Anthos’ focus is Kubernetes. Google has some clever networking services, but the constraints of Kubernetes limit Anthos as a cloud platform. As with all of the Kubernetes services we’ve reviewed, Anthos is solid for container-based application development but lacks many of the services you’d expect from a complete infrastructure as a service cloud offering.
Google does have additional services that access other public clouds. BigQuery Omni is an example.
Storage providers like Dell Technologies, HPE, and NetApp offer cloud-adjacent services. It’s an excellent topic for the “Supercloud” discussion. However, it doesn’t quite meet our nascent criteria for BYOI.
Azure Stack has been around for a long time now. Azure Stack is a partnership between Microsoft and various OEMs to provide a consistent underlay to run Azure services on-premises. The stack is mature, offering entire data center refreshes to edge deployments. While Azure Stack doesn’t allow you to bring existing hardware, several hardware providers are on their partner list.
A key difference to the Kubernetes Anywhere services, Azure Stack doesn’t run in other public cloud provider infrastructures or on existing customer hardware.
Some challenges in nailing down our criteria have been the lack of pure BYOI solutions for standard cloud services outside container management. Azure offers Arc Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). Comparing AKS to Azure Stack is an Apples to Oranges comparison.
We are debating whether to include Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in the capability matrix. Google Cloud Anthos, AWS EKS Anywhere, and AKS should be compared. Our internal debate questions if any of these services meet the intention of our research. Does cloud-managed Kubernetes offer enough capability as an IaaS offering?
Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
We have questions for Oracle about their on-premises solutions outside of the Private Cloud Appliance.
IBM Cloud may have the most interesting of all the BYOI solutions. According to IBM, you can deploy any IBM Hybrid Cloud service on any infrastructure, including on-premises and competing cloud infrastructure on-demand. While IBM doesn’t have the broadest range of service offerings, they make the boldest claim and raise the bar for our criteria for BYOI cloud, including managed Open Shift as part of the Hybrid Cloud offering.
BYOI Cloud isn’t to be confused with Supercloud. We consider solutions such as the VMware Cross-Cloud portfolio, NetApp ONTAP, and Morpheus Data Supercloud offerings. These solutions look to abstract the cloud underlay. That’s yet another report and capability matrix.
We’d love your feedback. What do you think about the on-premises public cloud concept? What criteria are you using in selecting capabilities and features? Most importantly, why are you considering on-premises public cloud? What capabilities do the public cloud providers enable that you can’t create with software and OEM equipment?