Cloud adoption is on the rise. According to a recent Gartner prediction, the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18 percent in 2017 to $246.8B, up from $209.2B in 2016. As more and more organizations move to the cloud, many IT teams are tasked with identifying the right infrastructure framework to ensure they meet their business and operational requirements – a challenging task considering there are so many options.
According to research from TriCore Solutions and Researchscape, 32 percent of organizations are choosing a hybrid cloud strategy to optimize their IT operations. The benefits of a hybrid environment are clear as organizations can see more flexibility to make decisions as data demands and business and IT requirements change. Enterprises require agility and elasticity for applications or services to be developed quickly, and managed efficiently and securely with limited resources. Many larger enterprises rely on in-house data centers for legacy equipment and applications. Ultimately, hybrid IT simplifies the management of a mixed environment, offering greater automation and visibility into their resources.
Even still, no two hybrid environments are alike. Organizations can use a third party-hosted private cloud or work directly with a public cloud provider like Microsoft Azure, Google or Amazon Web Services (AWS). With any choice they are tapping into a combination of private and public cloud resources. To complicate things further, multi-tenant instances via a third-party proprietary cloud or even AWS, can be considered a private cloud environment, which means either your data center is spinning up to AWS or a vendor’s cloud is hosted there, as well.
While the initial steps to a hybrid cloud implementation can be overwhelming, here are some key considerations to help you find the optimal mix of public and private cloud resources for your hybrid environment.
- Consider Cost: Hosting your organization's servers in the cloud isn't always cheaper, nor can all of the perks of the cloud be applied in every scenario. Some applications aren't designed to take advantage of the bells and whistles available in the cloud, like auto-scaling, for example. What might make the cloud more cost-effective may be restricted by the applications or workloads being moved. For a high volume, steady-state application, AWS could lead to exorbitant costs, and usage-based platforms - like a global Oracle instance, for example - will have downsides, as well. Other third-party-hosted clouds offer a flat rate, which can pay dividends in this context. Different business cases require different solutions to build an optimal hybrid environment that saves IT teams time and money. It’s never a one-size-fits all approach to brokering the right cost that meets your needs.
- Find the Perfect Balance: Having the ability to flip the switch that moves data over to a cloud at a moment’s notice helps companies scale. For a company that relies on a few high-volume, seasonal peaks in e-commerce sales, for example, fewer than a dozen days per year may make up a predominant percentage of total online orders. Having the capability to manage volume overflow through as-needed “bursts” of orders processed in the cloud helps companies get through these peaks without breaking their sites. Hybrid cloud is the best strategy in this case, so the day-to-day operations in the data center can be augmented by public cloud when the need arises.
- Determine Whether to Build or Buy: At first glance, building a data center can be appealing as the element of control is attractive, albeit to the most conservative IT leaders. Building your own virtual data center could be less expensive initially, as may working directly with AWS rather than through a third party. However, the devil is in the details; the success of these environments hinges on having the right talent to support them. Finding this talent can be the costliest, and most time-intensive and resource-intensive part of this process. No matter which route your organization chooses, you will need people to manage the environment. Letting an outsourced expert handle the talent pool in addition to the ongoing capital investment required to maintain a data center can save a lot of headaches in the long run – and reduce total costs, in the process.
While there is much to consider when migrating to the cloud and managing an organization’s environment, the opportunity and benefits provided by the cloud are endless. There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to the cloud, but understanding the perfect balance of private versus public for your implementation and enlisting the help of a third party, (such as a cloud provider, Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Infrastructure as a Service provider (IaaS)) can potentially ease the burden to a quicker hybrid implementation.