By some accounts, better than 50% of organizations are now deploying hybrid clouds — and for some very good reasons:
- Improved security, because sensitive data can remain behind your private cloud firewall while less sensitive data can be permitted onto a public cloud.
- Ability to specify where and under what terms and conditions your data is stored.
- Effective workload balancing without breaking the bank, since using a public cloud to, say, handle peak loads can be far cheaper than keeping everything in-house or moving everything to a public cloud.
To get a hybrid cloud up and running , you need to begin with planning — specifically, a six-step planning process that, fortunately, you do not have to undertake alone. In this post, I’ll focus on the first two steps:
1: Make sure your IT infrastructure is “cloudified”
Traditional IT infrastructures do not tend to play well with clouds, which rely on virtualization technologies, Internet communication protocols, and service management automation/orchestration.
This means you can’t have a hybrid cloud until your IT environment has already been “cloudified” — i.e., you’re operating a private cloud. Only then can you begin to exploit the advantages of extending applications and services to another cloud.
You don’t have to build a private cloud from scratch. You can turn to an experienced, reliable service provider to acquire a customized private cloud, complete with physically-segregated infrastructure and compliance-oriented security. And when you’re ready, the right cloud service provider will be able to help your IT team build a hybrid cloud infrastructure and either manage it for you or help your IT team evolve into your very own hybrid cloud service broker.
2: Assess your current environment and workloads
You may already have an assortment of hybrid-like IT resources but still lack ways to easily expand capacity. Adding public cloud resources such as a data center tier can relieve this pressure — but you need to understand both your IT environment and your workload demands to avoid problems.
So before you leap, decision-makers in your enterprise must identify what’s in your current infrastructure with an eye on the fundamentals of your hybrid cloud, such as your preferred IT architecture, app requirements, and the workloads you’ll be running.
Workload issues can be especially challenging. Should your business-critical operations offload specific apps to a public cloud? Which workloads must you keep on-premise? What can be moved to a public cloud? What kinds of performance do you require? How close to customers should your workloads be? How far from disaster threats should your workloads be? Do you need transient infrastructure (e.g., for app development and testing)?
In my next post, I’ll run through the final four steps in planning for a hybrid cloud — and remind you again that you don’t have to do this alone…