Hybrid cloud means different things to different people. The "true" definition requires a public and private cloud coupled together, sharing the data and processing load for an organization. For more organizations, hybrid cloud simply means a mixed environment, where some processing occurs in a public cloud and other processing remains in the data center, whether on a private cloud or not.
Both scenarios offer benefits to organizations that implement and manage this mix successfully, but achieving that success doesn't come without deliberation and effort. Here are the three decisions you need to make to ensure your success in the hybrid cloud.
- Decide Your Business Goals
Knowing what you hope to gain out of a hybrid cloud environment is the most important factor in determining whether you're successful. This decision shapes the technical choices you make in implementing hybrid cloud and impacts the metrics you use to assess the impact. Common goals of a hybrid cloud are:
- allowing IT to be more responsive to business needs
- reducing internal IT hardware and maintenance costs
- handling spikes in demand through cloud bursting
- creating disposable environments for non-production workloads
- creating a remote data center to support disaster recovery
- creating a remote data center to place data and processing near users
- Decide Your Hybrid Cloud Model
Given the broader definition of hybrid cloud, you can have hybrid workloads that leverage integrated infrastructure, applications, or data.
The integrated infrastructure model requires that virtual machines (VMs) be transparently run in either public or private environment. This is the scenario that supports cloud bursting. Connectivity and security are critical for the proper migration of processing and data between environments.
Integrated applications allow applications in either public or private environments to interact through middleware. Again, security is critical to ensuring the safety of this processing model. Applications may need to be rewritten to a microservices architecture to support this kind of integration.
Integrating data in the hybrid world means being able to migrate data between environments as needed. This supports scenarios such as archiving data in the public cloud while still being able to access it as needed from the private environment.
- Decide Your Implementation Strategy
Once you know your business goals and the hybrid cloud model that will support those goals, you can develop an implementation strategy to migrate to that model. In almost every case, migration will not happen overnight.
There's a significant analytical period required to assess your applications and data to determine what belongs in the public cloud and what belongs in the private environment. Additionally, if you're planning a "traditional" hybrid cloud, you need to create your internal private cloud before any cloud integration occurs.
Even when you've done the analysis and built your private cloud, completing the migration will take time. Some applications may be able to migrate to the public cloud with no change, but other applications may need minor or major changes that require time to code and test before implementation. Migrating data requires deciding how to get a potentially large volume across the wire to the cloud and synchronizing it with any updates that occurred while data was being transferred.
Although cloud makes management easier, it doesn't eliminate the need for oversight. Decide how you'll monitor and support machines, applications, and data in the cloud before you migrate them.
Other Decisions Matter
Those are the three big decisions that will determine the success of your hybrid cloud implementation, but there are many smaller decisions to be made in addition. dcVAST is experienced supporting hybrid cloud platforms like Nutanix, NetApp, VMware, and Azure. Our professional services can help you make every decision from assessment through implementation. Contact us to learn more about how making the right decisions can lead to hybrid cloud success.