Digital transformation has become a must-have initiative for organizations in today’s hyperconnected landscape. As hybrid working becomes the new normal for many organizations and the business world continues to operate in unprecedented times, the ability to operate and adapt efficiently, with speed, is crucial to survival. As such, for organizations looking to remain competitive in the years ahead, investment in the right tools, technologies, and frameworks to bolster their operations should be prioritized as a foundational imperative.
Over the past eighteen months, businesses have been quick to adopt cloud computing technology as a core solution to scale and accelerate their digital initiatives. In fact, at no other point in time has there been such a demand for cloud services than during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the physical world being replaced by a virtual one, cloud services have helped to make work a better, more connected experience for all. Forward-looking enterprises should therefore take time to consider the benefits that cloud has to offer.
Among a variety of different cloud computing models, hybrid cloud has emerged as one of the most popular solutions for satisfying an organization’s core objectives. From refactoring, hosting, or re-architecting an application, there are many different factors that business leaders must consider when choosing the right solution for them. In such situations, a hybrid cloud model can enable organizations to leverage multiple environments to meet the needs of each core function. Essentially, this approach allows enterprises to get the best of both the public and private cloud, from an economic and security perspective.
Understanding hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud is an architectural pattern that combines multiple public and private clouds. This framework serves as a common infrastructure that can be seamlessly interconnected and operated to provide consistent computing environments. This is different to multi-cloud infrastructure – a variation of hybrid cloud – where application workloads are spread across two public clouds and are used to manage diverse tasks.
Some popular hybrid adaption models include custom managed, vendor managed, partner-managed, and cloud provider managed. The suitability of each variation will depend on the unique needs of your business.
How can hybrid cloud benefit your business?
The advantages of hybrid cloud are numerous. In fact, the adoption of a hybrid model not only offers businesses the chance to improve their overall agility, but is also a great way to reduce costs and bolster security levels, as it allows workloads to move freely between private and public clouds. Put simply, a common computing architecture can deliver improved results across the board.
1. By placing workloads where they make sense
Hybrid cloud can truly give organizations the best of both worlds. For example, private cloud offers control and isolation for critical security operations, whereas the public cloud provides cost-effective, elastic pricing for temporary consumer demands and seasonal peaks in business activities. At a time when organizations are looking to improve their security and flexibility, we clearly see this model as the go-to solution for those looking to get ahead of the innovation curve.
Essentially, businesses can benefit from the scalability of the public cloud, moving as many non-critical functions to this space as possible, all the while creating greater capacity and enhancing security for the private one. Sensitive data in the private cloud will then be stored according to the parameters established by current data protection regulations. Put simply, having access to hybrid cloud enables businesses to serve each unique need efficiently, in a swift and secure manner.
2. By cutting down unnecessary costs
Cost is another key factor that pushes organizations towards the power of hybrid cloud. By continually re-evaluating an organization’s use of cloud and exploring new cloud services that could be leveraged, subsequent optimizations can result in improved performance, a reduction in costs, and a better return on investment (ROI). Essentially, the partitioning of services across public and private clouds will often cut down unnecessary expenditure.
In addition, hybrid cloud enables business leaders to allocate public cloud resources for short-term needs, such as product testing or peak traffic during a specific event, at substantially lower costs than using an on-premise data center. Setting up a traditional data center requires a lot of capital expenditure (CAPEX) and upfront investment, so it is understandable why enterprises opt for a more flexible option. For business leaders looking to survive in today’s hyper-connected landscape, hybrid cloud just might the right solution for them.
3. By accelerating business growth
Hybrid cloud enables swift innovation, by offering organizations greater choice when it comes to adopting cloud-native technologies. This ability to choose a solution that best fits their needs, in turn, allows enterprises to differentiate themselves from the competition, respond quickly to ever-changing consumer demands, and supply rapid business use cases. Adoption of the public cloud, for example, provides increased agility and the ability to swiftly build up infrastructures for your customers, without impacting essential business activities.
What should organizations look out for when implementing this strategy?
Just like any other digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud necessitates careful planning, implementation, and maintenance. As a result, business leaders must carefully assess if a hybrid model is truly the best option for their company, as well as the main traps to avoid on the journey to cloud adoption.
1. Manual infrastructure management should be avoided
It is important that organizations do not attempt to manage hybrid infrastructure manually, as this can result in errors and inconsistencies across the board. For example, the infrastructure landscape can become complex over a period of time as new business functions are introduced and it becomes hard to roll out changes. To avoid this, implement infrastructure automation from day one and promote this throughout the route-to-live environments. Infrastructure as Code (IaC) can provide advantages over manual provisioning, both in terms of initial provisioning time and ongoing maintenance.
2. Ensure that resources are not being mismanaged
How resources are being managed is a core part of having robust, secure, and efficient infrastructure. First and foremost, always ensure the cheapest combination of resources are being used for given use cases. For example, make sure money is not being wasted in the public cloud by leaving resources running when they are no longer doing anything. It is also vital that the right network design is in place before spinning up new cloud infrastructures. This provides clear network zoning and avoids error when various networks are peered together for seamless communication.
3. Choose technology options based on need
Business leaders looking to truly benefit from hybrid cloud should avoid getting influenced by cool-tech and industry hype. Using cloud-native technology without stopping to consider its suitability for a given use case is an unnecessary risk. organizations must therefore take the time to understand the challenges they are facing, and opt for the right solution at the right price, that can create conditions to deliver true business value.
Many businesses today require the capabilities of both public and private clouds. While public cloud solutions are perfect for scaling up or down quickly, private clouds are a suitable option when critical data must be stored or isolated. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that enterprises are increasingly towards the power of hybrid cloud to bolster their framework and move beyond competitors. Ultimately, hybrid cloud truly delivers on the promise of providing the best of both worlds.
That being said, just like any other product selection, organizations must follow an objective method before deciding what cloud infrastructure best suits their needs. After all, not every business has the same core objectives. Here at Tech Amigos, we are committed to helping companies navigate this journey to cloud adoption and choose the right solution for them.
Sachin Deshpande, Founder, Tech Amigos