Evaluating cloud solutions: Is hybrid right for you?

 In Cloud, Hybrid

With the global hybrid cloud market projected to exceed $91 billion by 2021, experts predict that hybrid cloud will become the most prevalent cloud model. Hybrid cloud is composed of two or more private and public clouds, and it provides advanced coordination across multiple platforms, enabling data and application portability.

Savvy CIOs are embracing hybrid cloud at a rapid pace because it offers the ability to mix and match various features from the public cloud and private cloud in a way that makes sense for their company. This, in turn, can give them a leg up on competitors in their market.

In this post, we hope to help you determine whether hybrid cloud is the right solution for your organization. We’ll discuss its advantages and disadvantages, then examine some ways you can use it to transform your business.

Advantages of hybrid cloud

Hybrid cloud offers several benefits. Here are three for you to consider:

1. Maximum flexibility

Hybrid cloud lets organizations choose where their applications and data live. Companies that must meet regulatory requirements or those that simply want more control over the underlying infrastructure can leverage their existing on-premises solutions for certain workloads while taking advantage of the public cloud for other applications and services.

For example, a health care organization may elect to keep its patient records system in its private cloud, but choose to use a CDN in the public cloud for its website and media assets.

Because of the level of flexibility available with hybrid cloud, businesses are often able to avoid vendor lock-ins.

2. Enhanced accessibility

Organizations that want to remain competitive must ensure that business technology is readily available to their end users, especially as the workforce becomes increasingly mobile.

Hybrid cloud solutions that include SaaS-based applications such as Salesforce.com will allow your business to operate around the clock by providing anywhere, anytime access to your company’s business-critical applications and data.

This level of accessibility can have a dramatic impact on your business performance by eliminating decision-making delays and increasing staff productivity.

3. Improved agility, scalability, and availability

Hybrid cloud adopters can leverage public cloud resources during times of heavy usage, resulting in fewer outages and less downtime.

Before embarking on the capital expenditure associated with launching an application in a private cloud, cloud-oriented businesses take advantage of the public cloud for new, untested workloads to analyze whether or not they will succeed in the market.

Once success is established and a steady-state workload pattern is identified, decisions can be made as to where the workload will run in the long-term (private cloud or public cloud) and exactly what resources will be required.

Disadvantages of hybrid cloud

Despite its benefits, a few potential deterrents to hybrid adoption exist. These include:

1. Higher costs

Organizations looking to adopt hybrid cloud need to plan for two distinct environments, each with its own costs. If you want to run a private cloud, you’ll need to invest in your own data center for items such as space, hardware, software, power, and cooling.

Public cloud offers more attractive pricing plans, but for them to be cost-effective, you’ll need to ensure they are implemented and used properly. For example, you’ll want to rightsize your workloads to avoid paying for resources you don’t need.

With both capex and subscription fees, the overall cost of a hybrid cloud is often greater than public or private cloud solutions.

2. Complex management

Hybrid cloud solutions require skilled professionals with advanced training and product knowledge to design, deploy, and manage the different environments.

Due to the fundamental differences in how infrastructure and applications are set up in the public cloud compared to those in an on-premises environment, finding the right individuals to manage the hybrid cloud will be critical to your success.

These designated IT pros will help determine workload placement, integrate business applications and data, choose the right tools for orchestration, automation, and management of the environments, and ensure compatibility across clouds.

VMware Cloud on AWS and Microsoft Azure Stack can also help simplify multi-cloud management.

3. Greater security risks

Security is more complicated with hybrid cloud since your data must be managed across multiple environments. The public cloud has a shared responsibility model for security, and you are solely responsible for the security of your private cloud.

Businesses must take the proper precautions to ensure data is protected and any regulatory and compliance requirements are met. You can use encryption and other technologies to prevent data theft and snooping as you move data in and out of your private zones to public zones and vice versa. Remember, security begins and ends with you!

Hybrid cloud use cases

As with public cloud, on-premises private cloud, and hosted private cloud, hybrid cloud is well-suited for a few specific scenarios. Here are three of the most popular:

1. Cloud bursting

Cloud bursting enables organizations to have their workloads spill over to another cloud environment to meet resource demands resulting from temporary situations such as seasonal traffic spikes or big data analytics jobs. For instance, businesses would have their steady-state workloads handled by a private cloud environment, and any spikes addressed with on-demand resources from the public cloud.

For this to work properly, you’ll need secure, low-latency network connections between your private and public clouds, such as AWS Direct Connect or Azure Express Route. Hybrid cloud and cloud bursting can save you money on difficult-to-plan costs because they enable you to “buy the base” and “rent the spike.”

2. Location-specific workloads

Hybrid cloud is a perfect fit for location-specific workloads that must be processed and delivered from a data center near your end users. In this scenario, you’ll maintain your primary data center and set up additional resources in other locations as needed. This allows your organization to avoid higher bandwidth costs and possible data corruption while delivering a better-performing service to your customer base.

If your needs change, you can easily migrate applications from one site to another. This makes hybrid cloud a strong solution for organizations looking to open a remote office, run latency-sensitive applications, or that have location-based compliance requirements.

3. Backup and disaster recovery

Data is the lifeblood of every business. Without it, companies wouldn’t be able to serve their customers efficiently. Data loss caused by failed backups and ransomware can potentially put an organization out of business.

Hybrid cloud solutions that include backup as a service (BaaS) and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) can help organizations protect their most critical asset: data.

BaaS allows you to offload backup and recovery operations to a cloud service provider. You connect your on-premises environment to a cloud managed by the service provider, and it deploys the services using its own infrastructure and expertise.

The benefits include data protection in secure facilities, guaranteed SLAs and support, and access to technology for monitoring and automation. Druva and Veeam both offer hybrid cloud backup solutions where you can choose from a variety of managed services.

Disaster recovery solutions enable organizations to achieve a highly available, geo-redundant setup, making them less vulnerable to catastrophic events.

Critical production data is kept in your private cloud and a recovery environment is made available in the public cloud. Data is replicated between the sites, and all recovery resources remain non-operational but are ready to spin up the moment a disaster strikes.

DRaaS solutions such as VMware Site Recovery Manager and Zerto can provide significant cost savings and increased application availability.

Need help making hybrid cloud a reality for your organization?

When cloud computing emerged over a decade ago, it offered a way to solve many business challenges, but it also uncovered many new concerns. Because cloud technology is constantly changing and new tools are being developed all the time, its functionality is expanding rapidly.

A hybrid cloud solution is often the best approach for businesses that want to be more agile. To avoid becoming a cautionary tale, you’ll want to examine your needs, understand the available hybrid cloud options, follow best practices, and avoid common pitfalls.

Contact your SHI account executive or email us at cloud@shi.com to learn more about how we can help you with your hybrid cloud strategy.

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