The Hybrid Cloud is here to Bring the Best Business Performance
December 6, 2018

The Hybrid Cloud is here to Bring the Best Business Performance

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“Hybrid Cloud setups bring together the advantages of Private Cloud security and Public Cloud flexibility.”

As the era of digitalization becomes more demanding, many businesses have decided to adopt the cloud as a strategy to move forward by leveraging technology to be one step ahead of competition. However, as tech is becoming more powerful than ever, and growing quickly, many questions remain unanswered.

Moving to the cloud is one of the best opportunities, standing in front of companies. However, migrating applications and data to public cloud platforms seems to be hiding a lot of pitfalls, especially with the ongoing regulations for personal data protection. Businesses are advised to ease the whole cloud transition process, focusing on enabling the hybrid cloud, which combines the best of both public and private cloud platforms. Cloud vendors have nosed out this need and, for example, one could say that the hottest announcement on this years’ re:Invent is AWS Outposts.

Moving workloads to the public cloud has assisted many leading companies to lesser their operating costs and thus build modern IT environments capable of fast, unified, and automated operations. However, many large enterprises with complex IT environments share a set of financial, technological, operational as well as security-related problems when moving to a public cloud platform.

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Despite the odds, there are ways to ease the whole transition process. Through blending the public and private cloud into a hybrid cloud configuration, businesses can easily benefit from all cloud advantages, without disrupting their IT architectures unnecessarily. There are three best practices, companies can implement, prior moving to a hybrid cloud model – based on the so called “Progressive Cloud”.

According to Forbes’s trends in cloud computing , most businesses will and choose to adopt the Hybrid Cloud in 2019, to improve effectiveness and optimize their processes.

In this article, we will take a closer look at all three practices and how top companies use them to accelerate the transfer of workloads into the public cloud.

The Public Cloud

In a public cloud, your business shares the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations, also referred to as or cloud “tenants.” Many companies have chosen to adopt the public cloud, yet experts advise this type of service is only applicable to information and data, which can be freely shared. Sensitive documents and applications are not the best fit for the public cloud. All the ongoing security regulations have driven businesses to look for other options.

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The Private Cloud

A private cloud consists of computing resources owned and used entirely by one organization. Private clouds can be physically located at your organization’s on-site data center or can be held by a third-party service provider. The main benefit of choosing the private cloud over the public one is improved security over all company sensitive information. One of the cons, however is limited scalability. Public clouds offer much more of it. It is also harder to access documents and data remotely from a private cloud, mainly due to security-related issues.

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Where best of both meet: The hybrid/progressive cloud

Often referred to as “the best of both worlds,” hybrid cloud combines on-premises infrastructure, or private clouds, with public ones to give businesses the opportunity to benefit from best of both from the public and private cloud. Documents, data and applications can move between private and public cloud for greater flexibility. Organizations should be cautious when hosting personal data or company-sensitive information on the public cloud and quite often they continue to rely on the private cloud infrastructure for such sensitive applications. Here comes the progressive cloud approach, which tries to offer a middle-ground solution for leveraging the public cloud.

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The three primary alternatives of hybrid cloud systems

Hybrid/progressive cloud systems depend on some of the elements of public-cloud platforms. Businesses, which decide to leverage the opportunities hybrid clouds offer will need to deal with some complexities of the public cloud.

Here are the three primary options for hybrid cloud systems:

  • A private-front or back-hauling topology directs all traffic through private data centers and positions applications and data partially or entirely in the public cloud. By adopting this method, companies can apply internal cybersecurity measures and still gain the advantages of using public-cloud services.
  • A public-front topology also hosts applications in the public cloud, yet it also allows users to access them directly, with cloud service provider cybersecurity controls. Data is stored in the private cloud with additional security controls applied.
  • A public-cloud or cleansheet topology places both applications and data in the public cloud. Enterprises can apply cybersecurity controls from third-party service providers.

Here are the key things, you should take into consideration, prior deciding to adopt the hybrid/progressive cloud model.

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Understand the costs of the hybrid cloud

 

Hybrid Cloud is mostly about leveraging your investments in your own Data Centers, but also gaining the competitive advantage Public Cloud offers. Companies should be decisive when executing their cloud strategy even if this means writing off the current IT infrastructure CAPEX. Progressive Cloud offers an example solution framework, but if the companies have already established their Cloud Center of Excellence, they could create their own that suits their case in the best way.

Mladen Tsvetkov, Head of Cloud Strategy @ScaleFocus

In general, public cloud may seem very cost-effective, as compared to hybrid cloud configurations. Nevertheless, one should take into consideration the data/applications durability and availability requirements – usually costs are getting higher when one tries to mirror the private cloud topology. Hybrid-cloud systems on the other hand require more investment in data transfer costs and controls for the connection between private-cloud and public-cloud platforms by offering the best of both.

Business should also consider how adopting the cloud will affect day-to-day expenses. All IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions require additional investment. Companies need to carefully answer the question: “How will the hybrid cloud help my business to operate and manage information assets better?” aka “Is it worth the investment?”

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Develop a cloud-migration roadmap – a little planning saves you fortunes

Migrating data and applications is time and effort consuming, especially if you’ve been in the business for a while and have a lot of on-prem systems. Ideally, you will start the cloud migration with test environments and backups to get used with working with the public cloud. Start with transferring the older files, which you do not use on a daily basis. One should ask people from different departments and units on which data and applications should be moved to the cloud first. The process will further develop by gradually transferring all files to the cloud.

When starting to plan the whole transfer the following issues should be considered as well. Key factors worth exploring include:

  • Dependencies of data and applications
  • Security controls, required by the applications
  • Technical Architecture of applications
  • Efforts, required to refactor code and configurations to make the application public cloud friendly
  • Costs of cloud-deployment options
  • Business risks of performing migration
  • Regulatory requirements

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Form an automation-oriented cloud unit

Many businesses make the mistake to think of the cloud as IaaS and ask their infrastructure teams to deal with cloud migrations on their own. These assignments are complicated and require deep know-how and hands -on experience with cloud platforms. Internal infrastructure teams take care of the stability and security of the IT environment of your business. They sometimes lack the necessary cloud experience and it may take more time to get them educated on how to perform large, complicated migrations to hybrid cloud platforms. We advise you to turn to a dedicated automation-oriented cloud team and be on the safe side. This team has many responsibilities – the most important one is to adopt IaC (Infrastructure as a Code) principles. IaC will treat the IT infrastructure as source code which will enable the flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness the public cloud offers. One of them would be to design, build, and maintain the cloud platform and train employees to use it. The other set of responsibilities covers the technical part of migrating applications, such as managing firewall and network settings, testing, writing code, and designing database structures.

The benefits of adopting the hybrid cloud

  • Agility and IT flexibility
  • Reduced time to market
  • Operational costs reduction
  • Ability to alleviate risk
  • Increased security

Cloud has been a buzzword for many years now. Yet it seems many businesses haven’t taken the full advantages it offers. Public and private cloud platforms both have limitations, the future is owned by the hybrid/progressive cloud, which brings together the best of both worlds. Our cloud experts work together with businesses to identify their specific needs to help them adopt and put to action the best cloud strategy. Become an early adopter of the hybrid cloud and start leveraging from its benefits, by contacting us now.

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