As businesses continue to undergo a digital transformation and modernize their IT infrastructure, more leaders are adopting a hybrid cloud strategy for their organizations. In fact, according to a recent Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report by Cisco, 82% of IT leaders have already transitioned to the hybrid cloud.
Why are more folks using a hybrid approach rather than a single public IaaS cloud provider? Although leveraging cloud resources is necessary at this point, there are restrictions that can prevent companies from moving into the cloud fully. With that, hybrid cloud deployment is the crème de la crème solution for those who need to use components of private and public clouds.
While a hybrid cloud strategy helps enterprise users overcome common challenges (which we’ll get into later), these environments can be difficult to manage. To ensure a successful deployment and maintain the ongoing health of your cloud estate, it’s critical to incorporate necessary strategies and hybrid cloud management tools as needed.
What does hybrid cloud management mean?
Before we dive into what hybrid cloud management is, let’s explore what we mean when we refer to the hybrid cloud. As we alluded to earlier, hybrid cloud computing combines public (think Amazon Web Services) and private clouds (like on-premises infrastructure).
When taking a hybrid approach to cloud computing, businesses can utilize aspects of the public cloud while still meeting regulations, such as those related to data security, with a private cloud. The clouds connect via a wide area network or broadband connection which allows data, workloads, and applications to be shared and managed within a single IT infrastructure.
Now that we’ve covered what a hybrid cloud is, we can dive into the definition of hybrid cloud management. This term simply means the management of a combined public cloud and private cloud environment.
There are many moving parts to consider within this type of infrastructure. To be successful in hybrid cloud management, it’s crucial to deeply understand security, governance, and the needs of the user, in addition to having in-depth knowledge of the technology involved.
Why are organizations choosing a hybrid cloud approach?
These days, it’s crucial for businesses to maintain their flexibility and be able to make quick changes at the drop of a hat. Because of this need for agility, IT leaders must embrace innovative experiences to stay competitive and ensure business continuity. By adopting this strategy, organizations can become more agile and efficient as they learn to adapt to ever-evolving business and customer needs.
According to a study by Forrester, IT leaders are also embracing hybrid strategies to boost their confidence in supporting their organizations’ primary application workloads on any platform while also ensuring they have the portability to switch between platforms as needed.
Additionally, most organizations see a hybrid cloud strategy and hybrid cloud management as crucial to adopt. Why? It allows them to experience the reliability, cost-savings, and scalability of public cloud. It also grants them the ability to maintain data sovereignty and the level of security associated with the private cloud and on-premises infrastructure.
Advantages and disadvantages of hybrid cloud management
As with anything, there are certainly pros and cons IT leaders should consider when it comes to managing hybrid cloud environments.
- Cost optimization: Incorporating OpEx via the public cloud in a hybrid cloud environment can help you find the best fit solutions for balancing performance and IT cost optimization.
- Workload performance optimization: High-performance computing, fast communication networks, and edge computing resources are made possible with this infrastructure.
- Flexibility: Rightsizing compute, storage, and network bandwidth to meet business demands.
- Reliability: Enabling replication and failover to another cloud to bypass disruptions and ensure redundancy.
- Implementation: Any time you add more cloud components to the mix, you have more variables to think about. Working with a cloud architect will help with any implementation and management challenges that come from a hybrid environment. This can also be a problem for compatibility between apps.
- Security: This type of model can introduce hybrid cloud complexity, especially when it comes to security. Security challenges increase with a hybrid cloud deployment. The blend of clouds requires security expertise across all platforms. Public cloud security is a shared responsibility (partially covered by you and the platform provider). In addition, extending private cloud security controls to the public cloud doesn’t always work. This complexity can cause security issues that will need to have a strategy in place to resolve.
- Blind spots and knowledge gaps: It’s important to have a holistic view of your cloud environment, and if you don’t have everything aggregated together, visibility can take a hit. Additionally, adopting a hybrid cloud may mean taking on something that your IT staff isn’t as skilled at. Being aware of your team’s abilities, and knowing when to take on outside help, will keep this risk low.
- Balance: Balancing traditional support teams and mechanisms with new DevOps-oriented methodologies can be complicated. However, this challenge can easily be overcome with the right cloud solutions provider.
Should I take a hybrid cloud management approach?
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if this is the right approach for your business. As noted previously, with 82% of IT leaders choosing to move forward with adoption, the advantages of hybrid cloud management outweigh the cons for many decision-makers.
If you are planning to adopt this environment, it’s pertinent to keep in mind that maintenance and operations-related tasks can become more difficult due to the number of resources, platforms, and systems involved. Due to the complexity of the environment, most leaders turn to hybrid cloud management solution providers and tools to assist in upkeep.
How a cloud management tool can help
Hybrid cloud management tools and solutions are beneficial for numerous reasons, including their ability to take over the burden of management and day-to-day maintenance of your hybrid cloud. This perk is particularly helpful since it helps free up IT leaders and admin so they can focus on more innovation at the application level.
A quick example
For example, here are a few ways an infrastructure solution, like TierPoint’s disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) powered by Zerto, can help you…
- Minimize data loss and downtime: This single tool for disaster recovery protects applications and data from disruptions, including natural disasters, with strong SLAs and availability.
- Maintain security and compliance: Most, if not all, organizations have data and infrastructure regulatory requirements for critical systems. This solution complies with standards for both recovery and production environments.
- Lower complexity in hybrid resiliency: When using hybrid IT environments, it can be hard to a uniform recovery process, especially when different clouds are involved. However, this DRaaS tool can replicate, failover, and failback data smoothly.
3 things to keep in mind for effective hybrid cloud management
If you’re ready to modernize your IT or you’re still deciding whether or not you should develop a hybrid cloud management strategy, here are three essential points to keep in mind.
1. Have a deep understanding of security and governance
Data security and governance are crucial requirements for customers and internal leaders. To meet these requirements, you must actively manage and improve the level of security you offer. You can boost your security capabilities by unifying security across your organization and leveraging tools and mechanisms such as:
- Security incident detection
- IAM (identity and access management)
- At-rest or in-flight data encryption
- Multifactor authentication
2. Have a solid grasp on Service Level Agreements
Make sure you review any Service Level Agreements (SLAs) you currently have with your end users. Even though the cloud service provider is required to uphold their side of the SLAs, you must also understand and uphold any responsibilities you have. These agreements are a way for users and organizations to ensure their service-level expectations are understood by everyone involved. So, it’s important to understand each SLA and use them as guidelines.
3. Have a list of what needs to be managed
Before deploying a hybrid cloud environment, it’s crucial to have a list of everything that will run on your public and private cloud. If you don’t have a firm understanding of what all of your applications do or details relating to your workloads (i.e., when they run or their business purpose), it will be nearly impossible to have a hybrid cloud environment that operates smoothly.
Need help with hybrid cloud management or deployment?
If you’re ready to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, we’re here to help. At TierPoint, we’re a leading national provider of hybrid IT solutions and services. To learn more about moving into a hybrid cloud environment and how we can help, contact us today at 877-859-8437.
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