Investing in a hybrid cloud strategy should be on many IT professionals radar. When you have an on-premise data centre you tend to cherry pick the best server, storage, network from a variety of software and hardware vendors. The cloud should be no different, in the mid-80's businesses moved away from vendor lock-in with proprietary software running on mini-computers and chose servers and desktops running Intel processors and software from Microsoft. A hybrid solution provides IT professionals with the ability to choose the best price/performance solution that meets their requirements.
Businesses of every size and industry sector are implementing cloud services to reduce infrastructure cost and complexity. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions help companies avoid capital equipment outlays and operating expenses to free up staff to plan and apply strategy.
Businesses in every industry are looking to Cloud based services to augment or replace traditional on-premises IT systems and facilitate digital transformation. Most are pursuing hybrid cloud approaches.
Some businesses are using public cloud services, some are building out their own cloud infrastructure and most are using a combination of both.
Hybrid IT environments are a blend of onsite and cloud-based IT resources, which is the common approach within businesses today. Businesses use this hybrid approach to help contain equipment sprawl and management problems. Hybrid offers a combination of public and private cloud resources. For example, a business might use a private cloud for workloads with extreme security or performance requirements, and a public cloud for workloads with less stringent requirements.
You can implement cloud services using a public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud approach.
The term “Hybrid Cloud” consists of multiple parts or elements of Public and Private Cloud, along with connectivity to the data centre that could be running Azure Stack HCI.
Hybrid involves a mix of computing, storage, software and cloud services to provide applications for the business or customers to use. Orchestration between the different cloud platforms is complex, sometimes costly and time consuming.
Agility and Scalability. Hybrid provides the immediate availability of more compute, storage and resources at the click of a button that a physical data centre can’t provide immediately. This makes it easier to provision, deploy and scale resources to meet demand spikes. When demand exceeds capacity of the local data centre, an organisation can burst the application to the cloud to access extra scale and capacity.
Cost Management.Businesses normally have, own, and operate a data centre infrastructure that over time requires constant investment in newer computer and storage systems to meet the demands of the business. The private and public cloud provides resources and services that are accounted as variable and operational expenses. Hybrid users can choose to run workloads in whichever environment are the most cost efficient.
Compliance. Depending on your data and workloads some highly regulated businesses are not allowed to run or store information in a Public Cloud. Hybrid cloud allows businesses to keep data in a private environment while operating workloads in the cloud, or they can operate workloads in a private data centre and move data to and from the public cloud as and when required. This allows companies to meet regulatory requirements and still benefit from the elasticity of the cloud.
Resiliency and interoperability. To increase resiliency, a business can run workloads redundantly in both private and public environments. Components of one workload can also run in both environments and interoperate.
Flexibility. Businesses have many types of data spread across disparate environments within their infrastructure. With hybrid a business can build and architect an infrastructure that uses on-premise hardware and the latest cloud technology to deliver workloads and applications without being tied to a single vendor and migrate data and workloads between the cloud tiers transparently.
Public Cloud vs Private Cloud
Public cloud provides instant on-demand IT resources, such as virtual machines, applications or storage, as well as services such as applications and analytics over the internet or a dedicated network. These public cloud providers could be Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and IBM, along with many others. Their business model is to build vast datacentres and fill it with storage, compute, networking, and cloud services then carve this up and offer it to multiple businesses. Bearing in mind you could be sharing the available resource pool with millions of other businesses, and therefore a DDoS attack by cyber criminals could affect thousands of other businesses. The private cloud model gives a business more control where its data and workloads are run and stored. These infrastructures are normally on-premise in the data centre or hosted by a 3rd party.
CAPEX vs OPEX
Public cloud is normally funded as an OPEX and paid monthly for the cloud services and storage it uses. This is why some businesses have found out to their horror that they appear to be massively overpaying for the Public cloud resources they are using due to mis-configured workloads and applications, along with forgetting about servers and resources altogether. Private cloud is typically funded as a CAPEX and this is normally a higher upfront cost. This avoids the pitfalls highlighted above.
Cloud Security. Whether you have a complete cloud mix of servers, storage, workloads and services, the business must have adequate provision for protecting these resources, passwords, logins, and security keys. Should any of these be compromised a business could suffer a catastrophic failure and possible collapse. Public cloud providers and users share the security responsibility. The provider typically ensures security of the infrastructure itself, while users must properly secure applications and data inside the cloud. Public cloud users have access to the latest security expertise and tools but are subject to misconfigurations, security breaches and other risks of hosting in a shared environment over the public internet. Private cloud users must secure their on-premises environments, but they have more control of sensitive data and workloads that reside in their own data centre, with proprietary infrastructure and resources.
Availability. Public cloud provides data and workload redundancy providing you pay for the privilege, but they are not immune from outages that cause downtime across services. Private cloud is no different and a business should take this into consideration when running cloud services.
Cloud Applications. Cloud Application Development is a process of building a cloud-based app using a Private Cloud. This allows the application developers to test and develop the application in a DevOps environment before the application is deployed in either the Private or Public Cloud. Many cloud development teams use Kubernetes to build, automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerised applications that once built can be scaled up to run on both Public and Private Cloud.
Most businesses are embracing multi-cloud strategies, using multiple public and or private clouds to avoid lock-in, minimise expenses and optimise performance.
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