In a previous post, we provided a cloud primer that covered the formal definition of cloud computing, the three primary service models (Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service), and the three primary cloud deployment models (public, private and hybrid). While the first foray into the cloud often involves moving certain workloads to a public cloud environment, most organizations end up with a hybrid cloud.
A survey of IT executives conducted by Forbes Insights and Cisco confirmed that few organizations (23 percent) have all workloads either on-premises or in the public cloud. They use both environments, moving workloads between systems to take advantage of a wider range of services based on business and application requirements. In fact, nearly two-thirds of respondents said a hybrid cloud strategy is very important to the success of the organization.
Hybrid cloud isn’t just the use of multiple clouds. Hybrid cloud combines a private cloud used by a single organization with one or more public clouds. Each cloud operates independently, but they can communicate to enable the portability of data and applications.
The decision to adopt a hybrid cloud is typically a collaboration between business executives and IT. Fortunately, hybrid cloud checks the boxes for both sides. Business executives look for competitive advantages, such as faster time-to-market for new products and services, and financial advantages, such as lower capital expenses and more predictable operational costs. IT generally looks for ways to improve service delivery and better support end-user requirements. This allows IT to focus on strategic business tasks instead of routine maintenance. Hybrid cloud also enables IT to implement new solutions without costly “rip and replace” infrastructure overhauls.
The key to getting the most from your hybrid cloud investment is knowing which workloads to run where. For example, sensitive data subject to compliance rules is more likely to be deployed in a private cloud. Private clouds are also ideal for predictable, steady workloads, analytics applications that require high performance, and mission-critical data that requires fast, reliable access. Public cloud is generally better suited for email, development, disaster recovery, and highly dynamic workloads.
Hybrid cloud can cause more problems than it solves if performance and costs aren’t optimized. Multipathing, which allows data to move between clouds on multiple physical connections, can reduce latency and support load balancing. Creating a dedicated network connection between a private cloud and public cloud providers can also optimize performance. When it comes to controlling costs, cloud cost management tools should be used to monitor cloud spending and ensure users are only running the cloud resources they need.
Managing a hybrid cloud deployment tends to be easier if you start with smaller projects and a handful of workloads. This will enable you to identify roles and responsibilities, train staff if necessary, migrate security policies to cloud environments, implement a sound disaster recovery strategy, and automate as many processes as possible prior to a larger-scale deployment.
If you need help developing and implementing a hybrid cloud strategy with minimal risk, RMM Solutions can help. Let us help you determine where workloads should run, optimize performance and costs, and simplify the management of your hybrid cloud deployment.