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What is a Hybrid Cloud Solution?

A ‘hybrid cloud’ solution is one that uses both private and public clouds. Properly defined, implemented and managed,  hybrid cloud offers an organisation the security and corporate compliance of a private cloud while being able to tap into the agility and cost effectiveness of public cloud.

Flexibility is of course a key requirement for today’s IT environments, and in rolling out a hybrid cloud solution you need to ensure you don’t artificially restrict your ability to respond rapidly to changing requirements.

Even if you have already ‘put your toe in the water’ with public cloud services, the starting point for your hybrid cloud should really be your private cloud. Spend time working out what elements of your IT environment should remain under management by your internal team, and ensure that your private cloud solution provides the ease of management and high levels of security you need.

With your private cloud environment designed, you can then determine which elements of your infrastructure are suitable for the public cloud, and begin to specify how those public clouds will operate. You may choose to have all your public cloud-hosted systems with one provider, or you may select several service providers to deliver specific aspects of your environment – for example, a publicly hosted CRM application from a specialist provider, and public cloud services that provide you the ability to rapidly create, use and destroy development and test environments from another provider.

Your internal IT resources must be heavily involved in the design and ongoing management of the hybrid cloud, working directly with the public cloud service providers and ensuring that all services are delivered in line with organisational policies, meet specifications for security and performance and remain cost-effective.

Key considerations when evaluating cloud solutions include:

  • Will the systems be delivered on the private cloud and public cloud standalone, or is there integration required between them (for example, will client data be stored internally on a private cloud platform but selectively shared with, say, a billing application running on a public cloud?)
  • What level of scalability do you need and in what timeframes? Is one of your requirements for public cloud to support ‘cloud bursting’ – rapid provision of additional services at times of peak demand – and does this require the movement of workloads from the private to the public cloud, or just the addition of resources on the public cloud?
  • Do you need to rewrite or modify applications for deployment to the public cloud? Are there any application compatibility issues or service-provider proprietary systems that will restrict your solution and lock you in to particular vendors? Ideally, you want integrated, ‘single pane of glass’ monitoring and management across the whole of your infrastructure and the ability to easily change service providers as service offerings or your needs change.
  • Will  public cloud be the basis of your data archival/backup or disaster recovery strategy? If so, how frequently will the data be replicated to the public cloud infrastructure and how rapidly can you switch environments or restore data if the need arises?
  • Over time it’s highly likely that you will end up with both mission critical and non-mission critical workloads being delivered through different cloud’s on and off premises, how will you manage the secure connectivity between the sites? How will you containerise your workloads to optimise the use of the cloud resources by securely and quickly moving workloads between them?

If you need help to plan or implement your hybrid cloud environment, a Data#3 Cloud Readiness Assessment offers a close look at the current state of technology services and provides matching with appropriate cloud options.

Tags: Cloud Computing, Hybrid Cloud

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