If 2020 saw a massive transition to cloud, 2021 accelerated its pace. According to a new study by the Harvard Business Review Analytical Services, 67% of organizations surveyed say that they fast-tracked the adoption or implementation of cloud applications. Around 88% of companies with a hybrid cloud environment say that they are struggling with the complexities brought on by the cloud environment.
Hybrid cloud management is central to companies who want to modernize their applications and boost enterprise scalability. It is also perfect for enterprises who want to combine the advantages of private and public cloud. When implemented the right way, hybrid cloud can lead to user compliance, security, and cost savings. When a company extracts the best from its hybrid cloud management, it can ensure consistency across cloud environments.
What is Hybrid Cloud and how is it relevant to the current technology landscape? Simply put, hybrid cloud refers to a company deploying services and managing applications on multiple clouds – a mixture of on-premise, private and public cloud services, all working together seamlessly to scale the company’s resources and manage costs.
By moving to a hybrid cloud model, the company can adopt an on-demand approach when it comes to using resources and managing workloads. For example, when a company faces a spike in demand, it can easily scale up by shifting its workloads and running them on the public cloud, keeping sensitive data in its own on-premises data center. There are many ways to extract the maximum value from hybrid cloud management. Here are seven ways to do it.
Devise a comprehensive hybrid cloud and data strategy
Hybrid cloud is effective only if there is a concrete, high-value strategy to extract greater value through hybrid cloud management. Hybrid cloud environments can be complex to manage, especially when it comes to the movement of data. It is important to simplify this process and to devise a thorough data strategy to manage hybrid cloud infrastructure and technology. This strategy includes planning for the storage, access, sharing, use and management of data across the technology environment.
Data egress is when data moves from a private or a public cloud service to an on-premise cloud service. This data moves slowly and impacts performance considerably, leading to an increase in cost. The reason? Poor hybrid data placement.
For the most part, public cloud service providers charge a great deal every time data leaves their cloud. By reorganizing the hybrid cloud environment, unnecessary data transfers can be avoided and high data egress fees can be prevented. When working on data strategy, companies can also opt for cloud storage with high-performing network connections that are optimized to process high volumes of data with very little delay. Low latency networks allow companies to leverage AI and data analytics from different clouds simultaneously without having to move data in and out of cloud storage.
With a clear strategy, companies can understand and prioritize which applications should remain in private cloud and which applications can be deployed on the public cloud infrastructure. For those who can implement a robust hybrid cloud strategy, the benefits include lower costs and improved data security. Companies that have this strategy in place can easily move workloads between private and public cloud as and when needed.
According to the above Harvard report, more than 55% of the surveyed companies mention that improving data strategy will be a priority in the coming years. A strong data foundation and a scalable platform for data management will help a company tackle the challenges of complexity in a hybrid cloud environment. It can also help them more get value from the data that they collect. With a solid data foundation, a company can improve data governance and security. A scalable data platform can also offset the complexity of a multi-cloud environment by providing observability across the technology stack.
Take control of cloud infrastructure
When a company shifts to hybrid cloud, it needs to assess its entire infrastructure, gain better control over its resources and find out where it can reduce costs. It should also understand its data and the applications that will run on its hybrid cloud. To make the most of its hybrid cloud management system, an enterprise needs to take stock of its infrastructure. It also needs to have individual tabs on devices and components. Companies then need to work out how they can optimize this infrastructure to drive value. This is where resource modelling comes in, when companies assess where they can relocate resources.
Companies should also keep their core expertise at the center of their hybrid cloud management decisions. For example, if the company’s expertise is data analytics, it can deploy micro services across both the cloud and the on-site infrastructure, working on their configuration with respect to data analytics.
When working out infrastructure requirements, companies should understand their current resources and make an estimate about future cloud footprints. When you align cloud management with infrastructure needs, you are considering many options, including operating models and the plan to manage several cloud platforms. It is also important to find ways to optimize this cloud infrastructure software. With resource modelling, you build capacities right from the start and by understanding the resources at hand, you can better deploy and automate them. With a centralized cloud management system, companies can make smarter decisions and detect problems in the system.
When you automate a hybrid cloud environment, you can maintain it better and scale it more efficiently. By automating the management of a hybrid cloud setup, companies reduce considerable risks that arise due to human errors. Predictive maintenance techniques can be used to estimate when maintenance should be performed on equipment.
By automating resource provisioning, companies can match available resources to the service demand. This increases efficiency and saves on day-to-day operational expenses. By using automated services, the company can focus on its areas of core expertise instead of superfluous system operations. It can control costs significantly and manage resources more efficiently. Companies that take advantage of new technologies will be able to extract more value from hybrid cloud, improve lifecycle management, and integrate new cloud technologies with existing ones. Automation-led lifecycle management, backed by a common-sense approach and an efficient investment in cloud architecture, can reduce delivery costs, yield excellent returns and mitigate risks.
Consider cloud native applications and container architecture
Cloud-native applications are designed especially for cloud computing environments or architectures. They enable consistent deployment and automated management. This optimizes performance of existing applications, speeds the development of new applications, and connects both new and legacy applications.
With cloud native applications, companies can manage both the efficiency of existing applications and quickly deploy new applications. This also leads to a significant increase in revenue. However, many companies find it difficult to deploy cloud native applications in the light of legacy environments that they take on. Due to complicated legacy infrastructure mired in mismanagement, companies can struggle to keep up with the fast-paced nature of cloud deployment. If they have a clear strategy when it comes to cloud-native infrastructure, efficient management of the same can drive cost savings and save time.
Companies should assess and see if they can make the investment in terms of time and money in optimizing the management process using cloud-native applications. It is also worth examining how cloud native applications fit into their priorities and their long-term plans. There can be challenges here too, including the fact that there are too many moving pieces and service integration can be a challenge for app developers.
Containerization is when cloud native applications are run as self-contained packages with software code containing code, libraries and other dependencies. These containers run independently of their environment. This means that containerized applications can be run on any infrastructure.
When a company opts for hybrid cloud, legacy infrastructure and applications can become a burden and impact performance. Containers play an important role in overcoming many of these challenges because they can be shifted between private and public cloud networks. When automation is added to the mix, there is even more efficiency in the overall hybrid architecture. Containerization helps organizations that want to change their approach or strategies mid-stream without experiencing interruptions in workloads.
Choose the right cloud vendor and management tools
Choosing the right hybrid cloud vendor is starkly different from choosing a public cloud vendor. Companies should opt for a cloud vendor with certifiable experience in hybrid cloud management and implementation. They must also understand their needs and priorities before choosing a vendor. Vendors should also have a consolidated system in the form of a dashboard and visibility into the infrastructure’s many moving parts in order to reduce overall complexity.
Companies can find out more about popular hybrid cloud vendors, their cost transparency, and their services and capabilities, before making the important decision. They also need to find out about vendors who cater to the company’s specific needs and provide expert support.
Choosing the right vendor is just half the battle won. It is also important to invest in the right hybrid cloud management tools, whether it means opting for native or third-party tools that integrate into the hybrid environments. Look for a solution that can accommodate new technologies, tools that can adapt and scale even as the company grows or changes. The right tools can also manage cloud costs. Automation and orchestration tools, for instance, can extend to workload lifecycles and configuration management, thereby help developers make the best of cloud platforms. Another option is to choose a custom-built hybrid solution, which comes with bespoke tools and services. Using these tools can help provide improved user experiences and optimized cloud resource usage.
Consider centralized cloud management
With a centralized cloud management software, a common cloud infrastructure management software oversees all functions that concerns the company’s cloud architecture, all in one place, giving the team a holistic view of their cloud platform and infrastructure.
With a centralized cloud management approach, you get a unified view of all cloud environments, applications and multiple services, integrating all information from each cloud into one single place and through a single console. This helps the company visualize and understand critical services and traffic patterns to identify security concerns and malicious traffic. A configuration management database or CMDB is database of assets and resources about infrastructure and real-time changes applied to it. In an on-premise infrastructure, a CMDB comes into the picture but with high-velocity deployments and changes across the hybrid cloud environment, it becomes difficult to get an all-round view of a company’s security posture. This is why consistent visibility across the cloud environment, using key touch points, can ensure security and efficiency.
Have a solid governance policy
Cloud governance is the key to good hybrid cloud management. Its growing popularity has also meant that it needs rules to operate in order to ensure compliance and to safeguard against any possible risks. Apart from compliance, cloud governance can keep the entire company on the same page and lay ground rules for cloud operation, uniformity that can have a positive impact on costs and can fast-track innovation.
With hybrid cloud, the mixture of both public and private clouds can create gaps in the architecture, which can lower defenses. A watertight governance policy can guarantee efficiency, standardization, and security. It can also mitigate business risks and safeguard the company against problems or potential violations that may arise when making structural and key architectural changes. With the rise of cloud computing, enterprises now realize that the sensitive, critical, and important workloads are at play. With an IT governance policy, a company can secure legal compliance, internal policies, and industry standards. Managing compliance manually can be time consuming, so automating compliance regulation can help save time and resources. Having a unified rulebook and specific performance monitoring tools can ensure that there is uniformity across the multiple cloud services. Companies also need to be aware of the downside to such stringent requirements. Encryption in private or public storage system, or data encryption across clouds, can lead to delays in transmission.
Enterprises can ensure safe connections across environments through SSL and TLS connections or a multi-tenant architecture that can take into account needs across the organization and give access to different users based on permissions, making sure only authorized personnel can access secure data.
Hybrid cloud offers immense flexibility and scalability, presenting enterprises with opportunities to get the best of both the worlds and a chance to integrate their IT environments across on-premise data centers and public cloud.
Companies can store private and sensitive data on their private cloud but can employ a more agile approach with their data on public cloud, gaining control of resources even at short notice. Enterprises that prefer private cloud still need their legacy infrastructure for the sake of compliance and security. At the same time, it is crucial to move forward and embrace public cloud, with its promise of automation, containerization and modernization.
With a precise hybrid cloud management strategy, companies can extract the best from their hybrid cloud setup. They can create a consistent and secure environment across the technology environment. They can also save a lot of money that goes into firefighting short-term demand spikes.
When you make the most of your hybrid cloud, you can truly can scale your computing resources. The complexity of hybrid cloud management can overwhelm enterprises but the payoff is incredible – not just security and scalability but a host of superior automation tools that can boost performance and take the enterprise to another level in performance in terms of digital transformation.