A Practical Guide to Hybrid Cloud


A Guide to Hybrid Cloud Implementation

Since its inception, cloud computing was designed to enable the sharing of resources and services over a network. Over time the infrastructure evolved, producing a variety of cloud models. These different models allow CIOs and other executive-level decision makers to customize their organization’s IT strategies. Here we will focus primarily on the Hybrid Cloud environment by outlining the benefits to adopting along with providing a practical guide on implementation. Before we proceed, it is important to clarify some cloud terminology.

  • Private Cloud: a collection of compute, storage, and network resources for a single tenant that are accessed programmatically via an API (application program interface) endpoint.
  • Public Cloud: a similar set of resources that is multi-tenant and is provided by a cloud vendor with access via an API endpoint.
  • Multi-Cloud: an environment that spans two or more separate clouds, be they both public, both private or one (or more) of each.
  • Hybrid Cloud: an environment that spans one or more public/private clouds as well as some on-premise infrastructure.

Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud

Gartner estimates that by 2017, 50% of large enterprises will be engaged in hybrid cloud computing. Perhaps this forecast takes into account the best-of-both-worlds approach provided by hybrid cloud technologies. It simultaneously offers the cost/scale benefits of public clouds with the security and control of private clouds. Uses for a hybrid cloud consist of (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Using the private cloud for mission-critical applications and pushing the non-critical ones to public clouds. For example, a company might use a public cloud for test and development while using a private cloud inside the organization for production deployment. Another example would be using public clouds for external facing applications while using a private cloud for internal applications.
  2. Cloudbursting, a dynamic deployment of an application running on a private cloud into public clouds to meet an unexpected demand, such as a retail company’s need to meet increasing traffic associated with holiday shopping.
  3. Another example is non-destructive Disaster Recovery (DR) testing. Organizations can test if their production environment is DR ready by tapping the public clouds and without any disruption.

Implementing a Hybrid Cloud

Starting a hybrid cloud project may seem like a daunting task given the number of migration and integration challenges. Following a few practical steps such as planning and executing the migration along with selecting the right provider will be the keys to success. Below is a practical guide to hybrid cloud implementation:

I. Assess Current IT Strategy

Create a complete inventory of applications and workloads in use. Ask yourself, how well do the systems in place currently support the organization? You may learn a lot about the state of the organization during this step.

II. Define Future IT Goals

Ask yourself, what will the organization look like in the next three to five years? How does technology play a role in that visualization? This stage is helpful in understanding your industry as a whole and the technologies needed to sustain a competitive advantage.

III. Evaluate Service Providers and Explore Options

With a better understanding of current IT use (step I) and future IT needs (step II) you can seek out service providers to help with technical planning and implementation. Learn more about their different cloud strategies and corresponding ROIs.

IV. Develop a Hybrid Cloud Strategy Plan

Here you collaborate with the service provider to develop a strategic plan that best serves your organization, partners, suppliers and customers. Keep in mind that this plan should align with industry standards involving security, privacy and governance policies.

V. Create Implementation Plan and Prepare for Launch

Chances are implementation won’t happen all at once, therefore developing a phasing plan is key. As phases begin to launch it is imperative to drive adoption in a coordinated fashion. This comes in the form of educational materials, employee training, internal/external advertising and adoption incentives.

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