Hybrid Cloud Analytics

Don’t be cloud-washed!

Not surprisingly, with all the momentum in hybrid cloud infrastructure, we’re starting to hear the term “Hybrid Cloud Analytics” pop up in the modern BI market.

At Qlik, we have a vision and a roadmap that we are executing against to bring the real value of hybrid cloud computing to our industry-leading visual analytics portfolio, which will empower customers to embrace a cloud strategy of their own, vs. having it dictated to them by a vendor. To that end, I’d like to share our specific point-of-view of what hybrid is, and what it’s not. I will break down our vision into three parts:

  1. Cloud – A delivery mechanism, not a solution.
  2. Hybrid – Why a hybrid approach to analytics just makes sense.
  3. Hybrid Cloud Analytics – What it means to us, and how to tell if you’re getting a viable solution vs. just plain old cloud-washed.

1. Cloud – A delivery mechanism, not a solution

I’m surprised by the number of market entrants that were born in the cloud, and use that as their core differentiation. Cloud computing is a delivery vehicle. Simple visualizationsof data via the cloud isn’t going to drive business value. As the pioneer and leader in the modern BI market, we’ve learned that customers need both a broad and deep analytical approach to better visualize, explore and understand their data, in order to become more informed, gain new insights and make better decisions (i.e. derive real business value through analytics!) Having a dumbed-down analytics solution that is delivered via the cloud is just going to keep you behind your competition.

Having said that, we do see value in cloud delivery of world-class analytics. Many of our customers have been deploying Qlik Sense Enterprise and QlikView on their own private clouds, managed through our partners. We’ve also brought the power of Qlik’s Associative Model, coupled with the intuitive, smart visualizations provided by Qlik Sense, into our first business-ready SaaS offering – Qlik Sense Cloud Business. As expected, this is a fully-cloud based solution, with no requirements to download software for creating, viewing or interacting with the analysis. After all, what sense would that make? It’s no wonder that in such a short period of time we’ve already surpassed many of the born-in-the-cloud analytics startups in number of customers, and certainly in business value delivered.

What is #Qlik's #cloud strategy? We map it all out in this detailed blog post:

2. Hybrid – Why a hybrid approach to analytics just makes sense

Today, Qlik offers you a choice of deployment options. You can choose to leverage our public cloud Software-as-a-Service offering – Qlik Sense Cloud, or you may choose to deploy on-premise or in a private cloud leveraging the infrastructure of your choice. YOU get to choose where you want your analytics to run.

However, the truth is that an either/or choice does not truly represent where the vast majority of customers are today in their IT investments, and where they plan to be over time. Most customers that we talk to have both data and applications that run on-premise, behind their firewall, as well as data and applications that both originate and run in the cloud. In other words, the world is not black-and-white, it has many shades of grey. That’s why a true hybrid approach is required to help support both where customers are today, as well as help them migrate more of their workloads off-premise over time as they so choose. A hybrid cloud approach to analytics is key to enabling a customers’ cloud strategy, vs. dictating it. That is why we fully embrace the direction of hybrid cloud analytics.

3. Hybrid Cloud Analytics – What to look for

The simple definition of hybrid cloud is a computing environment that uses a mix of on-premise, private cloud, and/or public cloud infrastructure to deliver services, with orchestration between the platforms (i.e., hybrid cloud joins multiple clouds, or on-premise installations with cloud-based installations). Under that general definition, many vendors will claim “hybrid cloud analytics” in their marketing verbiage. However, you have to get into a little more of the details to better understand what value you are getting.

For example, being able to publish an analytical application (or sheet for some) from an on-premise installation to a cloud offering could be valuable, but it’s not hybrid cloud analytics. There are a few key ingredients that we use to define our approach for hybrid cloud analytics:

  1. Transparency – First off, a hybrid cloud analytics solution is completely transparent to the end users of where the data resides, and where the analysis happens. Any user should be able to access their environment, from any device, and choose what data and/or applications they want to view and interact with, regardless of where it sits and runs. We refer to this as the universal hub, which represents everything available to a user based on their role and security permissions, NOT the location of where things reside and run.
  2. Location Enforcement – For many reasons, customers may choose that particular data sources, and/or the analysis that is run against those data sources, should stay in a particular environment. Typically they want to restrict data and/or the analytical applications against that data to an on-premise environment, behind their own firewall. This may be due to several reasons including but not limited to industry regulations or a company’s most secret competitive weapon. Regardless, we believe a properly governed solution enables organizations to define rules around where data and/or the analysis on that data can be stored or run. For example, you might choose that a particular data source is too sensitive to allow outside of the firewall, and that any analytical application that uses that data source should also therefore run behind the firewall. By simply designating this in the management console, you create enforcement rules on where things can and will reside based on that dataset.
  3. Orchestrated Entitlement – One obvious need is for organizations to be able to easily manage entitlements and licensing for their user base across the hybrid cloud solution. This is a basic element of “orchestration between the platforms”.
  4. Bi-Directional Migration – If the whole point is to enable customers to choose where data and analysis should occur, based on their own criteria, then the solution must allow for bi-directional migration to/from one infrastructure environment to another in the hybrid cloud deployment.
  5. Single Management Console – You knew we had to go there. Yes, a hybrid cloud analytical solution should be managed as one, seamless environment across infrastructure boundaries, so it should be managed via a single console. Period.

Customer-Defined Strategy, Not the Vendor

These are just a few of the ingredients we believe are key to providing a true, hybrid cloud analytics solution. But before wrapping up, I’d also like to include one more key point – a hybrid cloud environment is also defined by the customer. What do I mean by that? I mean that a hybrid cloud solution should not dictate where or which cloud the customer must use to pair their on-premise installation with. Yes, we will happily enable our customers to work seamlessly between their on-premise installations with Qlik Sense Cloud, but they can equally choose to work with a private cloud solution running on 3rd party public cloud infrastructure. Although this point should seem obvious, we already see some large vendors in the space ignoring this critical point, as they believe they can dictate your choices. Shameful.

Hopefully I’ve been able to shed more light on the direction we are aggressively pursuing at Qlik. It is our desire to help our customers bridge the world of on-premise data and analytics, with cloud-based data and analytics, accessed from anywhere on any device, and managed as one. We will continue to invest in this direction, and deliver more and more capabilities that support this vision as we go. After all, this is all about empowering our customers, and enabling their cloud strategy.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a cloud solution that allows you to collaborate with your teams using self-service data visualization? Join Josh Good on February 22 at 11:00am CET to learn more about Qlik Sense Cloud Business.


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