Use of hybrid cloud infrastructures has surged within the past several years. Still, organisations can inadvertently overlook important factors to consider before adopting or altering such a solution. In this article, we highlight important elements in successful hybrid cloud implementation and provide insights on where hybrid cloud is headed in the future.
[Want to know which step of the hybrid cloud journey your organisation is on? Read our “5 steps to hybrid cloud” guide]
Why go hybrid?
Hybrid cloud – where an organisation combines several different deployment models, such as on-premises infrastructure, private clouds, managed clouds and public clouds – is a growing demand in the market. What’s behind its popularity? Hybrid cloud enables organisations to gain advantages in speed and flexibility to drive business value. At the same time, it helps them to ensure security and control of their data.
The key motivation for adopting this infrastructure type is often the ability of different clouds to meet evolving requirements. Given the often-changing regulations on legal placement of data, this is especially relevant. For this reason, organisations must take legal domicile and other related factors into consideration when selecting a cloud supplier.
[Read our case study to find out how our customer Fortnox uses a hybrid cloud solution to support business growth while maintaining compliance standards]
Will the added complexity hinder growth?
Despite its popularity and numerous advantages, hybrid cloud is not perfect. An infrastructure consisting of multiple components is, by definition, a more complex environment. Nevertheless, this very complexity often turns out to be an advantage due to the involvement by IT professionals it requires.
When incorporated independently of the IT department, there has historically been a gap in skills and tools among employees operating public clouds. So aspects like maintenance were often overlooked and – at worst – resulted in security breaches or disappearing workloads. Such occurrences are less frequent with the adoption of hybrid cloud. That’s because this infrastructure type typically includes local components which need to be implemented by people who are well informed. Here, the added complexity is clearly worth it.
What about cost vs. value in the long term?
Because the operational costs of separate clouds are higher, this can result in an increased overall price for the infrastructure. Still, the value for the business is very likely to outweigh the initial investment when all benefits are considered. Determining a specific price range in advance can also prevent spontaneous additions to the infrastructure that have the potential to negatively alter its integrity.
Key questions for organisations: What data do we have? What requirements exist around it?
When it comes to staying within the allocated budget for a hybrid cloud solution, the key for many organisations is taking time to analyse and obtain an overview of their data. This includes their data volume, its level of sensitivity and any external legislation placed on it. Here, too, there often exists a gap between the IT and business components of an organisation. This is because the latter normally generates the data and may not relay the information to IT.
Nonetheless, there is no need for hesitation to adopt a hybrid cloud solution if an up-to-date overview of all data isn’t available. Rather, the examination of the data should be iterative rather than a one-time event. This is because the needs of an organisation are always changing. The ultimate goal should be to balance innovation and experimentation with control and security.
[Get the white paper: Developing a hybrid cloud security strategy]
What lies ahead for hybrid cloud?
While many companies are currently in the process of establishing just what hybrid cloud solutions are right for them based on their requirements, the latest developments are already on the horizon.
For example: Edge computing has also seen rapid development over recent years. Encompassing everything from smart watches to autonomous vehicles, edge devices generate data outside of a company’s data centre. With edge computing predicted to account for between 75% of all data generated by companies by 2025 (in comparison to 10% today), development is rapid. Needless to say, the move from a single data centre to hundreds of thousands of sensors generating sensitive data will require secure IT solutions and a strategy to prepare for this next big trend. Organisations should accordingly also start considering the role edge will play in a hybrid cloud strategy.
New developments such as these are also sure to add to the complexity surrounding hybrid cloud in the future. Still, as with the initial adoption of hybrid cloud, this added complexity is highly likely be worth the potential drawbacks in terms of added business value.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about whether hybrid cloud might be the best solution to drive your organisation forward.