5 Components of a Successful Hybrid Cloud Strategy

Written by Alexander Shapero on Aug 14, 2018

Cloud computing is a well established fact of life for all businesses today. After all, 94 percent of all enterprises are running some portion of their business in the cloud, and 77 percent plan to increase the use of cloud services, according to a recent survey. The operative phrase here is “some portion of their business”. That’s because most enterprises are choosing hybrid cloud deployments, to leverage the economies of scale of the public cloud while retaining more secure control over sensitive data in a private cloud, whether on-premises or in hosted in a data center. In fact, BCC Research predicts that the hybrid cloud technology market could reach $98.8 billion by 2022.

Key considerations for hybrid cloud

An effective hybrid cloud environment has the potential to enable businesses to be more flexible, run more efficiently and focus on the core business to stay relevant in today’s hyper-competitive and connected world. Yet, careful planning and execution is required to ensure that hybrid cloud can deliver the outcomes each unique business requires.

  • Strategy: First, you need to decide which workloads to place where. For each workload, you need to answer the ‘why, what, where, when and how’ questions in regards to cost, performance, compliance and security benefits of placing workloads in a public vs. private cloud. Then, you need to establish a governance plan to ensure that you are complying with your own corporate policies, industry rules and data privacy regulations. Finally, you need to assess whether or not you have the right resources to execute on your strategy. Do you have the right automation and management tools to pull it off; do you have the required talent in-house or do you need a partner; is your network able to handle the load?
  • Security: Performance, flexibility and cost optimization in a hybrid cloud are essentially worthless benefits if your data is not secure. To ensure the best levels of security, you need to take an end-to-end-approach that covers physical, virtual and administrative controls; and, threat detection, prevention, intelligence and response capabilities. You will need to create a security policy framework that provides visibility across all of your assets – physical and virtual – and be able to manage those centrally. In the event of a security incident, you must also have a plan to respond quickly, to minimize risk or business downtime. In order to do all this, you need to carefully evaluate the security capabilities of the public cloud providers to ensure that the one you choose can provide the level of security your business requires.
  • Management:  The whole point of adopting hybrid cloud is to optimize performance, costs, security and flexibility. However, that would be impossible without the right management tools in place that give you visibility and control over your on-premises environment, the cloud and everything in between. Moreover, the benefits of hybrid cloud environment cannot be achieved without an end-to-end automation and orchestration tool that gives you control over the entire IT stack – from compute, to networking and storage. The IT talent shortage is extremely relevant here too. Most enterprises are having a tough time finding, acquiring and retaining people with the skill sets to manage and orchestrate all layers of the IT stack. With a comprehensive automation and management tool — like itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS) — even administrators with minimal technical skills can manage these complex hybrid environments.
  • Costs: One of the most well known benefits of cloud computing is consumption-based pricing. Yet, many business leaders are left feeling “sticker shock” when they receive their monthly cloud bill. Among the biggest culprits of cloud cost bloat are unused or underused VM instances. To mitigate this, the server uptime scheduling feature in itopia CAS enables companies to automate when VMs spin up or down based on actual business requirements. For instance, if your infrastructure doesn’t need to be running 24×7, you can schedule it to run 15 hours a day for 5 days a week to save cut your cloud costs significantly. Couple that with GCP’s per-second billing, ‘Custom Machine Types’ and CAS’ integration with BigQuery and billing module on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to optimize your cloud costs in the most effective way.
  • Disaster recovery & business continuity: Arguably, business continuity and DR should be considered at the same time you first develop your hybrid strategy. It’s that important, because it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” disaster might strike. Yet, in a 2017 survey conducted by Forrester Research and the Disaster Recovery Journal, only 18 percent of respondents claim that they are very prepared to recover data in the event of a disaster. It turns out that when you’re building a hybrid cloud, it’s the perfect time to create a business resilience strategy because using the cloud for backup and DR is the highest performing and least expensive route. Further, itopia CAS enables organizations to extend on-premises Active Directory domains to GCP in multiple regions. CAS also utilizes Google Cloud’s automatic snapshot technology for Windows server backups and data recovery. Snapshots are an exact copy of a persistent disk at any point in time and are differential.

It’s clear that hybrid clouds are the way of the future. In order to get the outcomes you require, a strategy that employs the five step above is essential. Further, hybrid clouds are not possible without a comprehensive cloud automation and orchestration tool like itopia CAS.

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