An investment in enterprise-wide hybrid cloud can enable organizations to consolidate their workloads without cutting off resources or hampering application performance. But many businesses remain unaware of the potential that a hybrid cloud deployment has to offer.
Though the cloud offers distinct advantages over on-premises hardware, many organizations are unwilling to turn their backs on the considerable investments they’ve made in data center infrastructure. Others that have made the move to cloud may favor a private setup, due to issues with protecting intellectual property or sensitive data relating to customers and suppliers.
Both of these approaches are rather limiting. With access to multiple cloud service providers, organizations have greater freedom to choose the right provider for the right workload. And using a strategic hybrid or multi-cloud approach to IT makes it easier for enterprises to move from one cloud provider to another, and to migrate between public and private cloud.
With some 84% of enterprises now reckoned to be using multi-cloud, planning how to efficiently manage resources and deployments is essential. In this article, we’ll be looking at some best practices for hybrid cloud deployment.
Understand The Hybrid Cloud Options Available
In a homogeneous hybrid cloud deployment, a single vendor provides all the software, which is engineered to operate in the same way on premises, and in the cloud. This type of setup is typically cheaper, and easier to implement in terms of installation, operations, and management.
Services like Azure Stack, AWS Outposts, and Google Cloud Anthos fit into this category. As with any single provider solution, homogeneous hybrid cloud presents a danger of vendor lock-in, so adopters must tread with care.
Public and private cloud environments from different providers make up a typical heterogeneous hybrid cloud deployment. Though more complicated on the surface, a heterogeneous hybrid cloud gives users more customization options, and greater control over changes to their infrastructure.
To combine services such as AWS and OpenStack, IT staff may require specialized training to understand the differences in vendor services and the complexities involved.
Ultimately, the choice between homogeneous or heterogeneous hybrid cloud will be determined by your organization’s specific circumstances, along with budget, performance, and management requirements.
Identify And Understand Your Data
At a basic level, you’ll need to make the distinction between sensitive data that you want to keep in your private cloud, and information that can be safely entrusted to a public cloud environment. Identifying and isolating these two general data types will then empower you to achieve the right balance between public and private for your hybrid cloud.
Operationally, you’ll then need to map out your workflows, to avoid network and performance issues. As a first step, you can divide all application components into three groups based on where they run best: the public cloud, on-premises data center, or both. This will give specific criteria for designing optimized workflows and network connectivity.
Design Your Deployment
Your system designer will then need to define and create crossing points between the cloud front end and the data center back end, for the various workflows. This will require setting up a central administration hub, for workflow management.
As a general rule, most hybrid cloud applications use the public cloud as their front-end transaction source, and the data center for processing those transactions. Smaller databases can usually run in parallel in both on-site and cloud environments, while summary databases can typically run on the public cloud.
Make Allowances For Fluctuations In Demand
Data traffic loads will vary throughout each day, and often throw up peaks or lows at different times of the year. A successful hybrid cloud strategy and carefully negotiated contract terms should enable you to pay for all the resources you use on-demand, and allow you to easily adjust your infrastructure capacity in response to these fluctuation periods. The trick here is to learn where best to store data and how to effectively retrieve it, without incurring additional costs
In this regard, a software defined network (SDN) will assist in ensuring that your network service stays as flexible as your cloud service, and enables you to adjust your network along with your hybrid cloud deployment’s compute and storage demands. A hyperconverged infrastructure – which combines compute, storage, and networking into a single integrated unit – can provide an optimal solution.
When Using Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI), Choose Carefully
Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) allows organizations to more easily consolidate their services and operations between multiple clouds. But when adopting HCI, it’s important to choose a solution that’s standardized and easy to deploy.
If your hybrid cloud provider offers hyperconvergence as an option, make sure that their solutions actually do eliminate complexity, and don’t require specialized training. In particular, be wary of providers that use their own proprietary technology, which might have a steep learning curve.
Rather than a one-shot deal, look for a hybrid cloud configuration that’s flexible and adaptable enough to solve any infrastructure needs you may have across the enterprise — and one with the capacity to evolve and adapt as your organization grows and changes..
Simplify Your Management Options
Your hybrid cloud should ideally have a central management hub, which provides a single view of your deployment, and tools to manage everything from performance optimization to costs. This portal should also enable you to monitor the performance of your hybrid cloud deployment, and generate reports.
Allow For Growth And Change
To easily cater for the current and future needs of your organization, it’s essential to choose an agile hybrid cloud solution, with adaptable technology. An agile hybrid cloud infrastructure should provide tools for the independent scaling of resources. These will allow your enterprise to avoid costly and inefficient over-provisioning, while simplifying capacity and performance planning.
Consider Your Security Posture
Data transfers between the public cloud and on-premises applications or resources can introduce vulnerabilities to your hybrid cloud infrastructure. Because of this, it’s important to review your organization’s security policies and unify security controls across the entire hybrid cloud architecture, rather than maintaining separate measures for different environments.
Administrators can secure hybrid cloud deployments by using data encryption, zero-trust models, with other tools and security best practices.
Finally, having a trusted partner to complement your in-house IT and security expertise will enable you to choose a hybrid cloud solution that’s secure, easy to implement, and best meets the unique requirements of your organization.
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