The options in hybrid cloud environments are infinite. No two are the same. The decision to embrace hybrid cloud computing will trigger a number of other decisions that may be unique to your organization, and not all of them are technical. Planning is of crucial importance here, and the considerations will involve every aspect of your business:
The dynamics of your organization. The expectations of technology (and concerns about it, too) differ depending on whether the team member represents IT, development or the business. Generally speaking, an ideal hybrid cloud architecture ensures that resources are centralized, stable and secure, while also being dynamically available for both IT operations and business requirements.
Workload placement. It may be tempting to simply drag and drop workloads to new servers, but that temptation should be avoided. The move to a hybrid cloud is a perfect opportunity to start fresh and to rethink how your assets are organized and prioritized. Once those choices are made, other questions will need answering: Which of your applications are best suited to an on-site private cloud? Which should move to an off-site private cloud? And which should move as needed between environments (for reasons of cost, load, scalability and/or user experience)? These decisions have far-reaching effects in terms of security, performance and the overall needs of the business.
Geo-locating your data. Depending on the security and compliance rules governing your organization or your industry, you may have to ensure that sensitive data stays within a specific building or country. Data geo-location also impacts performance: East Coast retailers often rent space on West Coast servers to keep their data as close as possible to the customers who are using it. But there should also be enough geographic distance between primary and secondary server locations so that business can carry on in the event of a wide-ranging disaster.
The nuts and bolts of the move. A successful move to a hybrid cloud requires sufficient personnel, resources and time. Your IT personnel might effectively become cloud providers, and this evolution may require upgrades in their training. Your web services will have to be properly connected to your in-house operations — not always a straightforward task — so make sure you’ve reserved enough time for setup, customization and testing.
Managing the new environment. Your move to a hybrid cloud architecture means that some workloads will be abstracted from the hardware that runs them. It’s important to ensure that resources are appropriately assigned according to business needs and availability. Your planning phase should include time to model out workloads so that your needs for CPU, disk and memory resources can be determined and accommodated.
A successful hybrid cloud computing environment is reminiscent of a natural ecosystem in terms of its dynamic complexity. But the best news here is a message of reassurance: Since the hybrid cloud is infinitely customizable, you don’t have to do everything at once. Almost by definition, the hybrid cloud lets you start small, with your commitment to the model increasing as your trust and confidence grow.
As with any major initiative in technology, the adoption of a hybrid cloud model comes with the risk of error. In the third and final post of this series, I’ll discuss some of the common mistakes organizations make in moving to a hybrid cloud. In the meantime, learn how Pythian can help make your hybrid cloud a success.
Other posts in this series: