CIOs see the cloud as a predominant enabler of IT architecture and its modernization. They are increasingly migrating workloads and redirecting a greater share of their infrastructure spending to the cloud. While this migration represents a dramatic technology overhaul, tech executives also view it as a trigger to reevaluate IT functions.
CIOs are learning that business benefit cannot be achieved by lifting and shifting applications to the cloud and are rethinking the infrastructure architecture. The reality is, not all workloads are made to live in the cloud, whether it is for security, hardware, or other reasons. There’s just so much existing infrastructure that it’s not practical to be ‘pure’ anything. Hybrid is the reality. The trick is harnessing the right combination of IT solutions in a hybrid environment—building on two or more components from on-premise platforms, data center servers, and public cloud services. In all its forms, hybrid cloud facilitates flexibility and portability for applications and data. Every application and service can be deployed and managed where it makes the most sense.
As AWS, Azure, and Google step up to the plate in the hybrid cloud game, there are important considerations to think through when adding public cloud into their IT environment. Along with the flexibility of hybrid cloud comes complexity: complexity to maintain availability and continually optimize performance and cost across a wide area hybrid infrastructure. Whether doing it yourself, partnering with a managed cloud provider, or relying on a major cloud provider, the questions and needs are the same. Which workloads belong in public cloud and which in private cloud? How does data move between the workloads in each? How knowledgeable is my IT team in the different cloud technologies? Are current applications optimized to run in the cloud?
Public cloud providers are making hybrid cloud easier to deploy across their environment with integrated tools. CIOs still need to make the decision of what goes where and what is right for their business objectives. The balance of ease of using a single provider versus future vender lock in is a very real consideration. For some, the benefits outweigh the risk of vender lock in.
Public cloud providers are ultimately interested in moving all workloads to the cloud. AWS, Google, and Microsoft’s hybrid cloud solutions are an effort to provide businesses with a way to manage workloads that are still-on premise in combination with cloud-based services. At the same time, the cloud provider is able to assess their customer’s on-prem applications and infrastructure. Increased visibility and knowledge of workloads and environments enables cloud providers to better advise optimizing on-prem infrastructure.
All in all, the public cloud providers have created hybrid cloud solutions that help their customers optimize their cloud infrastructure. From a business standpoint, the integrated hybrid cloud offering is a way for public cloud providers to achieve satisfaction with their clients in tandem with evolving their products so that it is easier for clients to shift more and more of their workloads to public. This benefits the customer by simplifying hybrid cloud migration. Enterprises should consider a hybrid cloud that best suits their needs and sets them up for future success.
Connecting Hybrid Cloud
What is constant across all cloud types is agility. Unitas participates in designs that move workloads and storage from on-premise to public, private to public, as well as from public to public or even back to private. What often lags in the design to support hybrid cloud environments. It is common for organizations to make a separate buying decision for connecting hybrid cloud infrastructure. And while you cannot have a cloud conversation without talking about network, it is still common to see the decisions for these two infrastructures being made by different people in different parts of the organization.
Enterprises often make traditional telecom decisions that take the customer locations out of the equation, potentially limiting their ability to execute any movement or transformation from private cloud to public or vice versa. Telecom contracts can last anywhere from 36-60 months; once signed, a company is locked into the decision (and an engineering commitment) for their cloud connectivity, limiting their future ability to change how they migrate data and workloads between cloud infrastructure. The enterprises then lose flexibility because they lose the ability to take advantage of any new, improved, or lower cost access services that may come along in that time.
Whenever possible, choose a vendor that will provide you with the flexibility that you need to optimize your network based on locations, cloud resources, and data SLAs. Ideally, enterprises should also look for the flexibility to orchestrate network services from end-to-end, regardless of which the cloud the application is located in. While hybrid cloud providers do not typically bundle in connectivity, managed services providers that deliver both cloud and network infrastructure can build end-to-end solutions with SLAs that guarantee performance.