Maintaining the Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud Environment
A hybrid cloud environment enables businesses to leverage the benefits of both on-premise and private cloud to provide optimal application delivery to their clients. By combining internal resources with cloud services hosted by the likes of Amazon, VMware and Microsoft, organizations gain significant flexibility and resilience at a price point that can be extremely compelling.
However, benefits gained from hybrid implementations can be eroded if the environment leads to duplication of resources and processes. To mitigate against the erosion of value, a strategy should be taken to maximize consistency and compatibility of data center and cloud environments. This drive for consistency should cover all aspects of the application delivery environment including policies and processes as well as platforms and toolsets. This consistent approach will pay long-term dividends as the hybrid environment will be viewed as a single entity from an operations, consumption and compliance standpoint.
Virtualizing Services and Infrastructure
Pursuing an operations strategy that supports unified management and orchestration not only simplifies the day-to-day operation but also makes migration and integration a less daunting prospect. Virtualization of services and infrastructure in both data center and cloud environments facilitates the use of a single set of tools which makes management, migration and orchestration a simpler and less costly prospect.
A cloud provider may offer a free or low cost service such as application load balancing, however, in the long term it may be more cost effective and less painful to deploy a virtualized variant of the data center load balancer in the cloud. This approach leads to consistent application of policy and configuration that means reduced operational complexity and greater flexibility to move workloads.
The use of a virtualized solution from a specialist vendor will also deliver a higher level of functionality and greater control than the use of a generic service provided by the cloud. Solution-focused vendors are also providing integration to cloud orchestration and management tools and have been explicitly designed for hybrid cloud use cases such as high availability and disaster recovery. These vendors are designing solutions that address challenges posed by hybrid environments by offering integration with the leading cloud orchestration and management platforms to give a single pane of glass view.
A Consistent Approach is Key
Using common tools and services in a hybrid environment facilitates a consistent approach to security and service management that simplifies core tasks such as patching, monitoring and backup. Staff will not need to maintain skills across multiple vendors and will benefit from exposure to the latest technology and practices being employed by the cloud provider.
Cloud providers are constantly innovating and client organizations can improve efficiency by leveraging the innovations directly and by replicating these innovations in their own data center.
The flexibility and scalability offered by a hybrid environment is best exploited when the underlying platforms facilitate easy migration of workloads between on-premise and cloud. Ease of migration simplifies the business scenarios such as capacity on demand and disaster recovery while also providing the reassurance that workloads can be removed completely from the cloud should the business or regulatory environment change.