IT Focus Area: cloud
May 21, 2021
The Top 4 Things to Consider After Selecting a Hybrid Cloud Model
Why hybrid cloud? Let’s recap.
When you make the choice for your business to adopt a hybrid cloud model, you are saying yes to its benefits such as app flexibility, the elasticity of the cloud and native services, and cost optimization.
Leveraging a cloud services provider in a hybrid model allows your organization to test and evolve its cloud strategy as the business adapts to new challenges. While doing so, your organization will be able to maintain operational consistency, take advantage of existing investments in network, security, storage, and more. Most importantly, your organization will be able to deploy applications and services in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
4 Things to Consider After Selecting a Hybrid Cloud Model
While the benefits of hybrid cloud are clear, consider these key components to ensure your organization transitions successfully.
1. Don’t forget the basics, including critical infrastructure
It’s easy to get lost in the glamour of what the cloud offers with point and click infrastructure and services on demand. However, it’s important to remember your requirements for traditional data center technologies, such as network, security, and operations.
Start with network, specifically the edge. What type of connectivity is required in the hybrid cloud model in your organization? If you don’t know, lean on your partners to run assessments and determine the best type and speed of connection, whether that be public or private. Cloud providers offer dedicated links up to 100G, but if your organization and your applications can get by with a VPN over the internet, you’re saving money already.
If you want your hybrid cloud to continue operations in case of a network failure, build for the utmost resilience. If that isn’t a concern, design the appropriate amount of redundancy available while considering costs.
Cloud solution providers and third parties offer multiple ways to connect to the cloud, with redundant paths, hardware, POPs, and logical design. Utilize your partners with cloud architecture experience to guide and in some cases design the solution.
Lastly, with all things cloud, keep a close eye on the security requirements with this type of connection, does traffic need to be encrypted in transit? At what layer? Some providers offer encryption at layer two and three on dedicated links if that is a requirement.
Security in all forms is a crucial piece of a cloud solution, especially in a hybrid model. Often, existing investments and legacy equipment must be utilized in a hybrid model. A few examples include network devices for inspection, endpoint solutions for detection and response, malware prevention, and the list goes on. The challenge many organizations face is how to integrate them or replicate their functionality in the cloud. Adding to that the ever-growing need for east/west segmentation within the data center and applications, customers are left frustrated and hybrid cloud adoption stalls.
Work with a technology partner who will approach your requirements in an agnostic fashion. An experienced technology partner with a broad set of trusted solution partners can design a solution that incorporates your existing security toolsets and meets cloud best practices for design. When dealing with manufacturers of network security solutions, you will often hear “their way” is the best practice, but that doesn’t always align well with other solutions that must be integrated into the hybrid model. One example is deploying firewalls and load balancers at the perimeter.
The most challenging part of the hybrid cloud model is the very nature of hybridity and integrating existing technologies into a cloud solution provider. Network and security are just two examples, but the same applies to storage, backup, management, analytics, and more.
Leverage your trusted advisors who have experience on both sides of the hybrid environment to meet your organization’s needs.
2. Address your disaster recovery plan
You’ll need to evaluate your existing disaster recovery plan when extending into the cloud. This is another area where existing technologies will most likely play a role in supporting your disaster recovery. Assuming RTO/RPO times cannot change, will your hybrid cloud model function as required?
Additional questions you should discuss with your partners include:
- What region/availability zones do you plan to operate in?
- Do you plan to integrate the cloud environment with your existing disaster recovery target location?
- Does your definition of what constitutes a disaster change in this hybrid model?
- Is there an opportunity to provide specific applications in an active/active model utilizing the cloud?
Leverage the cloud where you can with the services available to support your existing disaster recovery plans while also benefiting from the hybrid cloud model.
3. Management, Operations and Cost
A common theme so far has been utilizing existing tools and solutions in the hybrid cloud model, and that’s no different when it comes to Day 2 operations. Whatever the tools are (monitoring, management, log collection, automation, etc.) there will be a place for this type of functionality in the cloud. So, this is an opportunity to dive deeper into each tool to determine the long-term use and validity of the product, to see if it could be replaced with cloud native tools, or possibly consolidate functionality onto a single platform.
A trusted partner can help you build a strategy around how you operate your data center with the tools that fit your hybrid cloud model in the most efficient way.
4. Utilize your partners
The benefit of using a solution integrator with expertise in both physical data centers and cloud service providers is our agnostic approach to building the hybrid cloud.
The processes and procedures for building a hybrid cloud are no different than evacuating a physical data center or extending to another one. Proper due diligence must be done to make a hybrid cloud function properly. That is why various assessments are usually conducted, including cost optimization, TCO/ROI analysis, individual business units, and application owners are consulted, which all lead to a hybrid cloud design that solutions are built upon.
After all, you cannot build a house without having the plans drawn.