3 Reasons to Consider a Hybrid Cloud Strategy

If there’s one thing IT professionals can agree on, it’s that hybrid cloud computing isn’t going away. Developed in response to our growing dependence on data, the hybrid cloud is being embraced by enterprises and providers alike.

What is Hybrid Cloud Computing?

Hybrid cloud computing can be a combination of private cloud, like VMware, and public cloud; or it can be a combination of cloud providers, like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Hybrid cloud architecture might include a managed datacenter or a company’s own datacenter. It could also include both on-prem equipment and cloud applications.

Hybrid cloud computing gained popularity alongside the digital transformation we’ve witnessed taking place for years. As applications evolve and become more dev-centric, they can be stored in the cloud. At the same time, there are still legacy apps that can’t be lifted and shifted into the cloud and, therefore, have to remain in a datacenter.

Ten years ago, hybrid and private clouds were used to combat growth, but now we’re seeing widespread adoption from service providers to meet client needs. The strategy has range from on-prem up to the cloud (VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS), to cloud-down (AWS Outposts), to robust deployment and management frameworks for any endpoint (GCP Anthos).

With that said, for many organizations data may never entirely move to the cloud. A company’s data is their ‘secret sauce,’ and despite the safety of the cloud, not everything lends itself to cloud storage. Depending on what exactly the data is –mainframes, proprietary information, formulas – some businesses don’t feel comfortable with service providers even having access to such business-critical information.

1. Storage

One major reason companies move to the cloud is the large amount of data they are now storing. Some companies might not be able to, or might not want to, build and expand their datacenter as quickly as the business and data requires.

With the option for unlimited storage the cloud provides, it is an easy solution. Rather than having to forecast data growth, prioritize storage, and risk additional costs, a hybrid strategy allows for expansion.

2. Security

The cloud is, in most cases, far more secure than on-prem. However, especially when the cloud first became available, a lot of companies were concerned about who could see their data, potential for leaks, and how to guarantee lockdown. Today, security tools have vastly improved, visibility is much better, and the compliance requirements for cloud providers include a growing number of local and federal authorities. Additionally, third party auditors are used to verify cloud provider practices as well as internal oversight to avoid a potentially fatal data breach. Today, organizations large and small, across industries, and even secret government agencies trust the cloud for secure data storage.

It’s also important to note that the public cloud can be more secure than your own datacenter. For example, if you try to isolate data in your own datacenter or on your own infrastructure, you might find a rogue operator creating shadow IT where you don’t have visibility. With hybrid cloud, you can take advantage of tools like AWS Control Tower, Azure Sentinel, AWS Landing Zone blueprints, and other CSP security tools to ensure control of the system. Similarly, with tooling from VMware and GCP Anthos you can look to create single policy and configuration for environment standardization and security across multiple clouds and on-prem in a single management plane.

3. Cost

Hybrid cloud computing is a great option when it comes to cost. On an application level, the cloud lets you scale up or down, and that versatility and flexibility can save costs. But if you’re running always-on, stagnant applications in a large environment, keeping them in a datacenter can be more cost effective. One can make a strong case for a mixture of applications being placed in the public cloud while internal IP apps remain in the datacenter.

You also need to consider the cost of your on-prem environment. There are some cases, depending on the type and format of storage necessary, where the raw cost of a cloud doesn’t deliver a return on investment (ROI). If your datacenter equipment is running near 80% or above utilization, the cost savings might be in your favor to continue running the workload there. Alternately, you should also consider burst capacity as well as your non-consistent workloads. If you don’t need something running 24/7, the cloud lets you turn it off at night to deliver savings.

Consistency of Management Tooling and Staff Skills

The smartest way to move forward with your cloud architecture – hybrid or otherwise – is to consult with cloud computing experts. 2nd Watch helps you choose the most efficient strategy for your business, aids in planning and completing migration in an optimized fashion, and secures your data with comprehensive cloud management. Contact Us to take the next step in your cloud journey.

-Dusty Simoni, Sr Product Manager, Hybrid Cloud

Cloud Crunch Podcast: Advising the VP Leader for Cloud Transformation

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Cloud Crunch Podcast: Azure Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF)

On today’s episode of Cloud Crunch, Farida Bharmal, Microsoft One Commercial Partner, joins us to talk about Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF). We discuss the components of CAF including strategy, plan, ready, migrate, innovate, govern and manage, and where customers are struggling and how they’re overcoming those challenges. Listen now on Spotify, iTunes, iHeart Radio, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

2020 Predictions: Multicloud

Multicloud has risen to the fore in 2019 as customers continue to migrate to the cloud and build out a variety of cloud environments.

When it comes to multicloud, it offers obvious benefits of not being locked in with a single provider, as well as being able to try varying platforms. But how far have customers actually gotten when it comes to operating multicloud environments? And what does 2020 hold for the strategy?

Adoption

As 2020 approaches and datacenter leases expire, we can expect to see continued cloud adoption with the big public cloud players – Amazon and Azure in particular. Whether a move to a multicloud environment is in the cards or whether that may be a step too far for firms that are already nervous about shifting from a hosted datacenter to the public cloud is a question cloud providers are eager to get answers to.

But there isn’t a simple answer, of course.

We have to remember that with a multicloud solution, there has to be a way to migrate or move workloads between the clouds, and one of the hurdles multicloud adoption is going to face in 2020 is organizations not yet having the knowledge base when it comes to different cloud platforms.

What we may well see is firms taking that first step and turning to VMware or Kubernetes – an opensource container orchestration platform – as a means to overlay native cloud services in order to adopt multicloud strategies. At VMworld in August, the vendor demonstrated VMs being migrated between Azure and AWS, something users can start to become familiar with in order to build their knowledge of cloud migrations and, therefore, multicloud environments.

For multicloud in 2020 this means not so much adoption, but awareness and investigation. Those organizations using an overlay like VMware to operate a multicloud environment can do so without having deep cloud expertise and sophistication in-house. This may be where multicloud takes off in 2020. Organizations wouldn’t necessarily need to know (or care) how to get between their clouds, they would have the ability to bounce between Azure, Amazon and Google Cloud via their VMware instead.

Still, as we’re moving into a multicloud world and companies start to gravitate towards a multicloud model, they’re going to see that there are multiple ways to utilize it. They will want to understand it and investigate it further, which will naturally lead to questions as to how it can serve their business. And at the moment, the biggest limiter is not having this in-house knowledge to give organizations that direction. Most firms don’t yet have one single person that knows Amazon or Azure at a sophisticated enough level to comfortably answer questions about the individual platforms, let alone how they can operate together in a multicloud environment.

What this means is that customers do a lot of outsourcing when it comes to managing their cloud environment, particularly in areas like PaaS, IaaS, Salesforce and so on. As a result, organizations are starting to understand how they can use these cloud technologies for their internal company processes, and they’re asking, ‘Why can’t we use the rest of the cloud as well, not just for this?’ This will push firms to start investigating multicloud more in 2020 and beyond – because they will realize they’re already operating elements of a multicloud environment and their service providers can advise them on how to build on that.

Adoption steps

For firms thinking about adopting a multicloud environment – even those who may not feel ready yet – it’s a great idea to start exploring a minimum of two cloud providers. This will help organizations get a feel for the interface and services, which will lead to an understanding of how a multicloud environment can serve their business and which direction to go in.

It’s also a good idea to check out demos of the VMware or Kubernetes platforms to see where they might fit in.

And lastly, engage early with Amazon, Azure and VMware or a premier partner like 2nd Watch. Companies seeking a move to the cloud are potentially missing out on monies set aside for migration assistance and adoption.

What will 2020 bring?

2020 is certainly set to see multicloud questions being asked, but it’s likely that hybrid cloud will be more prevalent than multicloud. Why? Because customers are still trying to decide if they want to get into cloud rather than think about how they can utilize multiple clouds in their environment. They just aren’t there yet.

As customers still contemplate this move to the cloud, it’s much more likely that they will consider a partial move – the hybrid cloud – to begin with, as it gives them the comfort of knowing they still hold some of their data on-premise, while they get used to the idea of the public cloud. This is especially true of customers in highly regulated industries, such as finance and healthcare.

What does this mean for multicloud? A wait. The natural step forward from hybrid cloud is multicloud, but providers will need to accept that it’s going to take time and we’re simply not quite there yet, nor will we be in 2020.

But we will be on the way – well on the way – as customers take a step further along the logical path to a multicloud future. 2020 may not be the year of multicloud, but it will be the start of a pretty short journey there.

-Jason Major, Principal Cloud Consultant

-Michael Moore, Associate Cloud Consultant