Most IT pros agree that the adoption and implementation of a hybrid cloud model make sense on many levels. There’s the potential for increased application performance, network, and storage flexibility, not to mention a lower-cost entry point that’s attractive for many start-ups and mid-size businesses. In fact, in a recent survey by Extreme Networks, 84% of CIO’s were able to cut application costs by moving to the cloud (Source: Extreme Networks). Despite much agreement on the benefits of hybrid cloud, there are still challenges and differing schools of thought when it comes to managing the environment. Those looking to adopt a hybrid cloud solution should find ways to merge on-premise, internal and external cloud environments as ‘one’ cohesive infrastructure. Let’s take a closer look at considerations when deciding how to manage your hybrid cloud solution best.
Today APIs and other managed cloud infrastructure services are available that link essential data about cloud resources and workloads to on-premise and cloud-based IT systems. This provides a more holistic dashboard for managing both public and private on-premises cloud environments. Having this level of visibility and control over application performance, network architectures, storage, compliance and reporting and security will ensure cloud migration and management are streamlined. In a Windows environment, for example, a 360-degree view into both cloud and on-premise infrastructures can help close security gaps. The active directory (AD) and cloud-based Azure active directory unify the critical account and group management requirements to maintain existing security and authorization protocols across environments. Look to set security groups and firewalls to unify preventive security measures.
To manage a hybrid architecture effectively, organizations should properly evaluate and classify data early and often. Teams should look carefully at privacy issues around sensitive business intelligence and customer data as well as if data is subject to compliance rules. Where data resides, either on-premise, in a public cloud or hybrid environment, and how the data is accessed are all critical considerations. An organization may find that a custom application or database requires the speed and processing power of high-powered physical servers, where some applications can benefit from virtualization. By accurately classifying data and infrastructure components up front, teams may decide that only certain tiers of the application stack should be virtualized.
Greater insight into virtual and physical resources is critical because it gives companies the ability to better manage applications and services deployed across networks. With real-time operational data available about servers, storage capacity and networks, teams can identify potential issues early. Greater visibility into the hybrid infrastructure along with 24/7 access to skilled cloud professionals, will minimize potential downtime and give IT the information they need to resolve problems before customers are impacted. Look for hybrid cloud platforms that allow for on-demand scaling to handle greater demands on the network, like a traffic spike. When a majority of infrastructure is committed to run in a private cloud, and resources are used from a highly secured public cloud when needed, organizations can save money and can scale quickly to take advantage of new opportunities.
Many providers offer managed cloud services that provision cloud servers, storage, networks and bandwidth along with monitoring to keep the environment running smooth. Look for managed cloud providers that provide security, site availability and disaster recovery options as a single service or when they are offered as a custom selection. For instance, if disaster recovery is a priority, remote data backups can be triggered to run on a virtual machine if something happens at the physical data center. Or if data protection is a top priority, find managed cloud providers that have the experts and technology to diagnose failures, perform testing backups and initiate restores.
Keep in mind self-service Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud managed options are often used for test and development environments or backup and recovery environments. Self-service platforms make it easy to spin up new cloud environments and scale virtualized resources, which can be helpful in these situations.
The need to effectively manage hybrid cloud environments is becoming increasingly important as companies push to deliver innovation through this new model. For the best results, identify cloud-enabled solutions that integrate, automate, and secure the hybrid cloud and your business will go a long way to maximize cloud investments and meet long-term goals.