Cloud Integration: Extending On-Premise Applications into the Cloud

Tracey Flanders Published Jan 21, 2015 at 6:00 PM MST by Tracey Flanders Tags Networking, Cloud, Architecture, Design, Strategy, Integration  (3) comments

The public cloud market has substantially blurred the way we think about enterprise architecture and security. Data residing outside the data center needs to be protected and managed; an issue further irritated by BYOD. When employees demand access to data and services within your data centers, from anywhere, using any device, it becomes a complicated integration challenge. Something legacy security technologies such as network firewalls can't solve, at least securely.


As a result, the information technology landscape is undergoing a massive shift, paving the way for an new agile enterprise architecture. What most enterprise's today are missing is the ability to integrate anything, anywhere.



A hybrid integration method bridges the networks between your existing enterprise (databases, applications, and legacy systems) and IaaS/SaaS/PaaS, mobile,and Big Data/Analytics. This approach also solves the issue of accessing existing information from on-premises systems. It leverages new systems to make way for innovation, competitive advantage, and driving new business models.


Hybrid integration allows on-premises applications to seamlessly integrate with cloud based applications. Businesses and developers alike want to connect their existing custom and packaged solutions to create a single platform for new services. This will typically take place where the data resides, in structured data (databases), unstructured data (Big Data) and API or Socket services (SOA).


To maximize investments in new applications, it is essential to combine both on-premises and cloud systems. Presenting a service layer over legacy apps allows access to important information and the leveraging of new applications, wherever they reside.


The Current Trend…

While many organizations are moving towards cloud integration, not all are doing so immediately. With cloud integration, business have a platform which spans both on-premises and cloud, allowing them to move towards hybrid integration at their own pace. Innovating and moving towards this architecture moves businesses forward, it’s just a matter of time.


Compliance: Full cloud integration solutions cause problems with regulatory compliance, as some data must remain within the enterprise firewall. Some countries forbid data to leave its country of origin, thus converting to a cloud-only based system is not possible. The solution? Hybrid integration, sensitive data remains on-premises while insensitive data can stay in the cloud, giving companies the opportunity to segregate and track movement. Businesses decide what data is stored in the cloud and what data is stored on-premises.


Sleeping at Night

Companies such as Bracket Computing offer solutions that allow the extension of on-premise data centers into public cloud of choice. The secret sauce: They offer encryption services for  data in transit and data at rest. Thus ensuring your company data is safe no matter what public cloud it resides in. This is an emerging market, expect some rough edges and limited functionality. You'll need to decide in the short term which one is more important to your business goals, security or functionality. The great part is this particular company and others are innovating rapidly with new features in every release. That means no customer feature is off the table unlike a typical off the shelf solution.


If securing data at rest is not a high priority but in transit data over the internet is, most cloud providers offer a private direct connection. Amazon AWS offers AWS Direct Connect and Microsoft Azure offers Express Route for secure private connections that connect directly to there cloud backbone. These are important because if you plan to use VPN's you'll need to manage 2 connections (for highly availability) per geographic cloud region. It will become a security nightmare, keep it simple and use one of these services. If the cost is an issue, explain to your leadership team the cost and complexity to maintain that environment.



The exciting thing about IT today? We can now directly influence many of the cloud enablement companies to ensure we receive the agility, security and cloud advantages we want as customers.


The method in which we currently secure our data centers, internally or at the edge is changing. No longer are IT resources limited to our physical data center borders. The common way of securing your network via Layer 2-3 technologies such as firewalls and private VLANs is a thing of the past.


Agility is a requirement for any cloud strategy, whether private or public. Solutions like Software Defined Networks (SDN) have security methods built in that are scalable and secure. SDN is the next-gen network. If you use Amazon AWS you are using SDN. The big players like Cisco, VMware and Palo Alto have already begun the transformation using technologies such as ACI/VXLAN, NSX and Layer 7 firewalling enabling private cloud SDN.


Changing our mind-set about enterprise architecture and security is not easy, there are a lot of new concepts to grasp. For those individuals who can, they will secure themselves a rewarding position with an innovative and successful company.


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