Note: This article is part one of a two-part series addressing essentials to a hybrid cloud implementation. For more info, download the Codero whitepaper “A Comprehensive Overview of the Hybrid Cloud”.
Businesses looking for the best of both public and private cloud often choose a hybrid cloud environment. The benefits of a hybrid cloud are substantial – not the least of which is the ability to manage mission-critical applications on-premise, while sending non-critical apps to the public cloud for higher scalability and flexibility.
While the benefits are considerable, the implementation of a hybrid cloud can present challenges. Here we address the first four elements to help guide companies towards a successful hybrid cloud deployment.
Assessment of Current Environment
The obvious first phase requires businesses to assess current workloads and distinguish which applications, datasets, and infrastructure components are correspond best to a public cloud, private cloud, or traditional on-premise IT.
Mission-critical environments and data that require extensive security are not good candidates for the public cloud. The scalability of the public cloud makes it a good fit for things like:
- Seasonal workloads
- Non-essential workloads
- Applications with a short shelf life
- Managing the highs and lows of web traffic and data flux
Planning and Guideline Documentation
The next chapter in any successful hybrid cloud implementation begins with a planning phase. From a high level, the principal objectives need to be documented by business stakeholders – especially important are the scope of the project, migration guidelines, and potential pitfalls.
Organizations need to be sure to include in their implementation plan:
- A description of the business needs served by the hybrid cloud solution
- Specific motivations (new functionality or applications, moving existing solutions)
- A determination of the number and nature of the users who will use the solution and support and training needs
- An analysis of the real cost of a hybrid cloud solution – involving the complete life cycle
- If necessary, an analysis of the how day-to-day cash flow may be affected by a pay-per-use model in the public cloud
Determining the Cloud Deployment Model
The heart of the actual hybrid cloud deployment is a determination of what should go where. In other words, businesses need to address how cloud resources will be deployed – public cloud, private cloud, on-premise, and managed.
At the end of the day, it’s an exercise in data classification and risk. In the public cloud, companies are essentially renting services alongside other customers and trusting that the provider will manage security, uptime, compliance, and to some degree, transition. If you have issues with any of these, it can be detrimental to the business. Consider the impact of what goes where when designing a hybrid cloud deployment model. Understand that it’s a process. It’s critical to nail the design as errors can be disruptive.
Integrating with Existing Enterprise IT
How will existing IT resources be integrated into the new hybrid cloud implementation? This question is the foundation of a successful transition from existing environment to hybrid.
As the Cloud Council cites: “In many cases, the challenge is not so much ‘integration’ as it is ‘re-integration’ or ‘maintaining the integration’ between pieces of the entire system that are coupled in a certain way. Customers must identify integration points of existing systems and applications to ensure functionality is not lost once their hybrid cloud solution is deployed.”
The most common integrations occur through the use of APIs to manage internal and external services and to connect those systems to cloud entities. Lucky for users, the technology has progressed to the point where a number of API management technologies have evolved to maintain increased usage of hybrid cloud deployments.
A few key points for implementation teams to consider in integrating existing resources with the hybrid cloud include:
- Ask if the cloud service vendor supports key open technologies for admin and business interfaces.
- Adhere to Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) design principles of the on-premise solution.
- Expose APIs to enable interoperability.
- Find out if in-house systems are available to deal with the business aspects of using cloud services (subscription information, billing/invoicing).
- Consider a third-party ID and Access Management system to authorize access to cloud services.
- If cloud services need on-premise API access, address any security issues.
In the next article, we continue addressing successful hybrid cloud deployments with the remaining four elements.
For more on hybrid cloud implementation considerations, download the whitepaper A Comprehensive Overview of the Hybrid Cloud. Learn more about the power and agility offered by a hybrid cloud deployment, including:
- Definitions of the hybrid cloud with possible deployment models
- Key considerations in evaluating and adopting a hybrid cloud environment
- Benefits and common use cases for hybrid cloud deployments
- Critical elements of a successful implementation
- Checklist for evaluating a hybrid cloud solution provider