Over the past several years, hybrid cloud environments have become very common among enterprises. It began with the acceptance by enterprises to house sensitive, mission-critical data and infrastructure in 3rd party, managed colocation facilities. Then cloud emerged as a viable option to offload workloads. In today’s environment, it’s typical to see a combination of managed colocation service and public cloud solutions.
Why has this happened? The answer is three-fold:
- An increasing willingness by enterprise IT staff to embrace cloud technology
- The market presence of cloud service providers such as AWS and Azure
- The increasing availability of products, tools, and technologies to support and manage cloud environments
Hybrid Cloud Benefits
If we agree that the hybrid cloud allows IT professionals to join the best elements of colocation, private and public clouds, then we can identify two primary benefits of hybrid cloud solutions.
Benefit 1: Flexibility and Scalability
Hybrid cloud offers unparalleled flexibility. It is very costly and resource intensive to manage an in-house server room and expansion can prove to be cost prohibitive. Managed colocation and cloud services offer scalable, flexible and reliable resources. These services are designed to provide on-demand access to power, cooling, storage and compute on short notice.
Benefit 2: Cost Savings
Having ready access to hybrid cloud, meaning managed colocation as well as connected cloud services, enterprises realize cost savings in several ways. Firstly, they can determine the most cost-effective method to deliver on a per-application basis. For example, AWS and public cloud can be expensive for custom or static workloads – for these types of applications, a managed colocation solution may be the best approach. Secondly, expanding to a hybrid private cloud would allow scalability without the added expense of expanding power, cooling, physical security since the private cloud infrastructure is in a facility superior to one they would be able to build themselves. Lastly, the public cloud has its place offers on-demand access to large-scale compute and storage for peak periods without incurring capital and associated labor expenses. A managed colocation provider would be able to provide access to all three environments, securely and by a private network connection. By combining all of these strategies, IT professionals can optimize configurations for cost as well as performance.
What makes Hybrid Cloud Successful?
Although enterprises can realize the benefits of a hybrid cloud solution, there are other factors that contribute to its overall success.
IT executives need to ensure the following in their final deployment:
Latency/Performance Requirements: Applications need to perform to the expectations of end users and clients. Organizations must ensure the right data is in the right place and that the applications or services that need the fastest access have the fastest response times from storage. They also need to consider managed colocation providers that can offer them low latency private connections between colocation, private and public cloud.
Redundancy: Monitor the uptime of applications and ensure it is greater than prior to the hybrid cloud deployment. In the event of a disaster, the system needs to provide adequate services to users and clients. Remember that cloud is just another tool in the IT arsenal, IT professionals still need to design for resilience.
Security and Regulatory Concerns: Protecting data is imperative, both for the company’s reputation, and to ensure compliance with diverse and complex industry regulations. It is important to ensure security requirements and obligations are met consistently, and across the platform. Data residency and the ability to see the infrastructure and data center supporting your IT assets and private cloud are important.
Integration/Management: A hybrid cloud environment is complex and presents challenges in getting all systems, applications, and storage resources to talk to each other. In addition, IT staff need to be able to manage each component of the environment.
Deploying a hybrid cloud system involves making choices and planning out a design. The most influential factors in each decision should be the needs of the business, and what is available in the ecosystem. Ensuring a hybrid cloud deployment is successful is more than realizing the benefits, it’s ensuring that the final solution meets the needs and demands of the business.