The cloud has paved new operational avenues for businesses across all industries. Instead of having to maintain local, capital-demanding infrastructure and relying on internal services alone, most have (naturally) shifted towards acquiring readily-available resources and technology from cloud services providers.
But how do you settle for a cloud solution when market players are rushing to outdo one another with better infrastructure, more attractive pricing, and cutting-edge security innovations?
Perhaps there’s a better answer. Instead of getting locked-in with a single provider, you should build a diversified portfolio of cloud assets to mix-and-match, depending on your needs.
Welcome to the realm of hybrid cloud computing.
Hybrid cloud combines the best of two worlds. As a computing environment, it leverages a mix of on-premises, public cloud and private cloud services to deploy and run workloads.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure incorporates three delivery models:
Various cloud-resource combinations may be generated in your portfolio, on an as-needed basis. For instance, private IaaS solutions can happily co-exist with publicly hosted SaaS applications.
Hybrid cloud has become a significant enabler of digital business transformation, even for legacy companies who weren’t “born in the cloud.” Thanks to coordinated management and service provisioning, hybrid cloud architecture significantly boosts the availability, scalability and utilization of IT resources, while reducing operational costs.
In 2019, 69% of enterprises will incorporate hybrid cloud environments and 60% of workloads will be sent to run in a mix of public/private clouds.
A hefty 96% of trailblazing companies who have already migrated to a hybrid cloud environment, report that their initiatives are delivering measurable results. Let’s take a look at the metrics:
The elasticity, workflow, and resource-usage optimization enabled by hybrid cloud and IT transformations translates into an average TCO reduction of 24%. Hybrid cloud infrastructure—especially when paired with a hybrid cloud management platform—enables granular visibility into resource usage and respective costs—providing even greater control over spending.
Cloud bursting minimizes downtime and lets organizations easily sustain peak loads. Development teams can instantly tap into new cloud integration capabilities. The latest technologies (e.g. SQL Server’s Stretch Databases) enable seamless extension of your databases from on-premises to the cloud. Or teams can choose to tap into the readily available services offered by providers, including BI, machine learning, IoT, and other leverageable tech stacks.
For companies with low cloud maturity, the hybrid cloud is an excellent toe-dipping option. An IT department can experiment by migrating non-critical workloads before moving more sensitive data and applications to the new private environment. Additionally, a multi-cloud strategy mitigates the risk of vendor lock-in; even if one service provider goes out of business (or experiences other issues), your business’s operation should be unaffected.
Most cloud-service providers guarantee better availability rates than local on-premises setups. Additionally, cloud environments boast built-in redundancy, along with the ability to backup key data across properties.
56% of businesses report that hybrid cloud has improved their disaster recovery capabilities. Organization-wide DR plans are hard to implement and keep up-to-date, while maintaining secondary sites to support operations in case of failure is also cost-inhibitive. But setting up a secondary site in a private cloud is more affordable, especially given the pay-as-you-go pricing model. Additionally, the tasks of setting up, configuring and maintaining a DR destination are now left to the cloud service provider.
Hybrid cloud architecture has become a proven catalyst for transformational change, even for traditional organizations who also want to play by the “startup” rulebook. The advantages in costs, availability, flexibility and operational improvements enable businesses to create new revenue sources, expand into new markets and explore new business models. In short, the case for hybrid cloud is undeniable. Are you on board? Why would you not be, especially when Anexinet’s team of strategists let you take a deeper dive into the benefits of hybrid cloud and will help your organization devise an ideal cloud strategy in just two weeks.
Hybrid cloud’s key selling point is that it enables the seamless use of public cloud services, in conjunction with line-of-business applications. Successful startups such as Airbnb and Uber have outpaced their competition by strategically utilizing a multi-cloud infrastructure to deliver new omnichannel experiences to consumers.
Today’s traditional enterprises are challenged to keep up the set pace. Most turn to the cloud. Further, 92% of executives assert their most successful cloud initiatives enabled the creation and support of a new business model.
By leveraging multiple cloud services, your business:
Depending on your needs, you may combine services from both on-premises and off-premises resources to accelerate time-to-market for new offerings, while balancing development costs.
No longer restricted to launching monolith applications, you may deploy standalone micro-services that complement and enhance your main offerings. Forget the long deployment cycles and welcome agility.
Hybrid cloud architecture:
Hybrid cloud architecture’s “silver lining” is compelling. But no transformational process is without its challenges. When it comes to hybrid cloud migration, three critical success factors should be taken into consideration.
Hybrid cloud adoption is not a “lift & shift” operation. It requires careful workload orchestration—from business processes, through the application, platform, and infrastructure. Your first task is to de-tangle the current intricate system of workflows running on-premises (and perhaps even in the cloud).
Certain workflows are inherently better suited for the public cloud. Legacy applications—that weren’t built with the cloud in mind—may be easier to replatform or repurpose for the private cloud. Establishing workload destinations and placements is a balancing act between performance, cost, security and integration.
To determine the optimal workflow placements, consider the following technical characteristics:
According to Intel’s internal analysis, high-performance, data-heavy workflows tend to be better suited for private clouds. The chart below provides a general overview.
Certain workflows, both internal and external, are subject to stricter security compliance. Applications processing in-house data or storing personally identifiable information (PII) may not be suitable candidates for the public cloud.
Beyond this, you should benchmark the risk of exposing any intellectual property or strategic data versus the rewards of migrating those from a traditional data center to a hybrid environment. Security solutions tend to be readily available only for certain workflows (e.g. email) and are less mature for complex workflows related to scientific and R&D operations. Carefully assess how the proposed change in the workflow could affect your risk.
Your workflow placement will be impacted by the complexity and quantity of integrations so it’s important to clearly identify the extent of your applications’ interdependence. Breaking up a monolith architecture may not be worth the migration trade-offs. On the other hand, decoupling certain workflows from legacy applications can give your company a competitive agility. Determine if your legacy systems offer open APIs (those developed a decade ago probably don’t). Migration of specific applications may be discouraged, based on proximity, or on security and hardware requirements. Refactoring or replacing such applications may be uneconomical; better to let them remain on-prem.
Large local datasets can cost a fortune to transfer remotely. Ensure that long-term cloud storage will be more cost-effective than maintaining local data centers. Physical location of data is important as well—due to both compliance and performance requirements.
Be sure to ask the following:
Public cloud providers always specify their preferred connection methods. If your portfolio will leverage several service providers, you must ensure their standards match. To avoid any performance issues, private clouds within your portfolio will need to be similarly connected. Your main goal is to to deflect possible bottlenecks by ensuring a consistent connection between all the elements in your environment. Some hybrid workloads may
have a low tolerance for the internet’s variations in throughput. So you may need to establish a point-to-point connection between the cloud service provider and your data center.
Maintaining a high-performing hybrid WAN presents another challenge to address. The new cloud architecture will alter data traffic patterns and likely require re-architecting of WANs to avoid performance setbacks. Sometimes, the best way to steer traffic (based on application requirements) may require a direct connection to public cloud, without backhauling to the data center. However, this may also result in wasted bandwidth while creating additional security threats. In general, an over-reliance on the internet as part of your WAN strategy may open new vulnerabilities, endangering sensitive data and network uptime.
While 81% of enterprises now rely on hybrid cloud architecture, 77% of them still view security as the main challenge. For multi-cloud environments, you will need to define a custom security-perimeter that accounts for the following:
Aligned governance processes should apply to public cloud services, private cloud services, and on-premises systems.
Ensure that no element in the cloud system provides a “back-door” into the internal systems, after they are integrated into the hybrid environment.
Monitoring, detecting and reporting need to be shared between all entities within the environment. The public cloud service level agreement should specify the rules for reporting threats in accordance with internal policies.
Ensure public cloud services don’t compromise your compliance status.
Hybrid systems should be designed with greater resilience that accounts for possible disruptions in hardware, software, or communication network failures.
becomes more challenging whenever an application relies on cloud services in a mix of environments.
amplify risk, as each comes with its own set of security and privacy standards. This risk can be proactively mitigated by adopting a hybrid cloud management platform.
Hybrid cloud-managed platforms simplify the process of asset management by providing a “master switch” to govern your hybrid cloud environment (versus having to interact with multiple, disparate interfaces).
Beyond simplified management, the benefits of an HCM solution include improved visibility into costs, compliance and resource distribution; IT efficiency; and additional analytics capabilities.