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Preparing for the Hybrid Cloud: A Checklist

Preparing for the Hybrid Cloud?  Here's What You Need To Do.

Hybrid Cloud is a computing method which uses a mixture of on-premises, Private Cloud as well as third-party Public Cloud services with applications and systems running on both platforms. Businesses achieve greater flexibility and better data management by allowing workloads to move seamlessly between both types of clouds services based on their needs. This also is optimal for businesses in terms of cost savings.

By following a Hybrid Cloud computing strategy, businesses can combine the computing control served by the Private Cloud as well as the cost savings and flexibility delivered by the Public Cloud.

The setting up of a hybrid cloud infrastructure requires the availability of Public Cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform. This is in addition to a private cloud infrastructure either on-premises or via a hosted private cloud solution. Hybrid architecture can also accommodate third-party tools like N2WS and Veeam for real time recovery and backup.

In this post, we're going to cover 5 best practices that you should follow while transitioning to a Hybrid Cloud platform.

Assess Your Environment

Perhaps the initial stage in implementing a successful Hybrid Cloud strategy is to do a complete assessment of existing workloads and analyzing and identifying which environments are a good match for Public Cloud, Private Cloud as well more traditional IT setups.

It is a best practice to retain all your critical workflows and any confidential or sensitive data to your Private Cloud and not expose them to the Public Cloud. There might also be regulatory requirements that prevent you from putting data or information like this on the Public Cloud.

On the other hand, most seasonal workloads are a good fit to take advantage of the flexibility and scalability offered by the Public Cloud. Any peaks and troughs in website traffic, non-critical workloads or applications with a short shelf life are all good examples of what can be moved to the Public Cloud.

Monitor Your Cloud for Performance and Security 

There are a wide range of cloud management tools available today. These assist businesses manage and monitor the performance of their Hybrid Cloud. While you do need tools to manage both your Public and Private Cloud environments in real time, it is also a good idea to implement your own logging system to monitor any security or performance issues that may crop up.

Some of the more common tools include Egenera PAN Cloud Director, Cisco CloudCenter, Scalr Enterprise Cloud Management Platform. Additional tools include IBM Cloud Orchestrator, Red Hat CloudForms.

However, letting the cloud vendor dictate the terms in security isn't great. A common misconception popular among the cloud customers is that cloud providers like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud secure your data by default. If you're seriously concerned about security, you need to implement a shared responsibility model with your cloud provider.

Your on-premise security policies and strategies need to be re-implemented in the cloud regardless of whether it's offered out-of-the-box. This is because when you transfer personal identifiable information into the cloud, you need to have solid security measures in place.

Create Rules and Guidelines Especially During the Transition Phase

 While assessing your environment is an important first step as discussed above, there isn't much use of the exercise if we then do not use the assessment to create a policy document with guidelines of which applications and/or data can and should be stored on the Private or Public Cloud.

Performance requirements and regulatory laws, confidential data, critical workloads, geographic restrictions, business strategy, etc are a few examples of areas to keep in mind while formulating a plan for transitioning part of the servers to the Public Cloud.

The rules and guidelines shouldn't be just an abstract text, but a manual with precise instructions so that your staff will be able to transition the application with minimum down time. Start by moving the core modules into the cloud and then migrate additional workloads when your team feels comfortable and confident about the setup.

Understand the Cost Implications

Cost is the major driving force behind businesses adopting the Hybrid Cloud. It helps reduce costs by allowing businesses to spend less on technology needs while giving businesses more flexibility, accessibility, and data security.

The Hybrid Cloud architecture offers lots of opportunities to save big in terms of cost.  You can deploy additional resources when there is a surge in performance and scale your servers on demand which is impossible if you're running on-premise data centers.

Start with short term goals to save money and build strategies that will help you reduce costs. Go for the long term plans if/when you feel comfortable with the hybrid structure.

There are certain third-party tools that help in the management of cloud costs and monitor optimum usage of cloud resources such as Cloudability, CloudCheckr and Cloudyn that help you monitor usage of cloud resources and highlights areas of concerns where resources may be underutilized and suggest changes.

Find the Right Cloud Partner

One of the most essential aspects of having a successful Hybrid Cloud solution is to find the right technology provider. A partner with proven experience in the field and offering custom solutions based on your business needs is what you should look for.

Some aspects that need to be discussed before the final selection include resource requirements, scalability, ease of data migration and integration, etc.

It is also important that your technology partner can help you safely navigate through the initial setup process and ensure that you do not overspend on functionalities that you may not necessarily need.

A good way to start is by requesting customer references from companies in your field and who are planning or already delivering what you have in mind.

Summary

To conclude, in cases where the business does not have a lot of sensitive or confidential data and information to be stored in the cloud, then a Public Cloud could prove to be a much better option.  Similarly, a business that deals only with confidential or sensitive data, a Private Cloud would be the best choice.

A Hybrid Cloud infrastructure is best suited for companies that need both the scalability as well as the flexibility of a Public Cloud along with the better architectural control offered by the Private Cloud.

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About the Author

Limor Wainstein 

Limor is a technical writer and editor at Agile SEO, a boutique digital marketing agency focused on technology and SaaS markets. She has over 10 years' experience writing technical articles and documentation for various audiences, including technical on-site content, software documentation, and dev guides. She specializes in big data analytics, computer/network security, middleware, software development and APIs.

Published Tuesday, June 05, 2018 8:52 AM by David Marshall
Comments
Preparing for the Hybrid Cloud: A Checklist - Brad Dickinson - (Author's Link) - June 5, 2018 3:08 PM
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