Moving to a hybrid setup is a popular option for businesses looking to take advantage of the cloud. This article highlights five common mistakes in hybrid cloud implementations, helping to ensure a smooth hybrid cloud migration for your company.
However, it’s important to first define precisely what the hybrid cloud is and understand the motivations for choosing this form of cloud computing implementation.
The hybrid cloud is an integrated computing environment combining the use of internal (private) and external (public) cloud services. Private clouds are only accessible and controllable by a single client via a secure connection and they remain inside the corporate firewall, however, the actual physical infrastructure could be located in an on-premise data center or in a secondary location. Public clouds are computing services and resources offered by third-party providers over the Internet.
Some of the main vendors of cloud services include:
- AWS (public)
- Azure (public)
- IBM (private)
- VMWare (private)
There are also third-party solutions that link up with the services provided by these vendors, such as NetApp's Azure storage solution, which adds more data management capabilities to Azure cloud data storage, or Cloudhealth, which gives enterprises the ability to centralize governance of their AWS environments with automated policies.
The motives for choosing a hybrid setup include cost savings from only using public cloud resources when you need them, effortless scalability using policy-based automation between the two types of cloud, and the ability to supplement internal data storage with low-cost public cloud storage.
However, because this is a relatively new way of thinking about enterprise IT, it is easy to make mistakes when you decide on moving to the hybrid cloud.
With all the complex architectural concerns involved in ensuring seamless integration between public and private cloud environments, security and compliance can become afterthoughts. While the cloud service provider typically takes care of the overall security of the environment, you, the client, need to manage security within your hybrid setup.
Unencrypted data and lackadaisical security policies can wreak havoc in this type of setup, leading to the type of data breaches that can ruin a business. Furthermore, if you don’t prioritize compliance with regulations such as PCI DSS or GDPR, you can quite easily lose visibility over sensitive data in the hybrid cloud, potentially leading to fines due to non-compliance.
Make sure security is a top priority for you in the hybrid cloud. Consider hiring a cloud security specialist to make sure you get security right from the outset. Always perform due diligence on potential public cloud vendors to see that they comply with any regulations that protect sensitive data in your industry.
Attempting to jump in at the deep end and move all desired workloads and data to the public cloud at the one time is a poor strategy for any hybrid cloud implementation. It’s prudent to migrate in phases by identifying data, applications, or processes that you can most easily “burst” to the public cloud. You can do these smaller pilot projects first, and they’ll give you the confidence and knowledge to move forward with a hybrid cloud migration on a broader scale.
There are several types of public cloud storage available to businesses and choosing the wrong one can wreak havoc for your hybrid cloud implementation. For example, you will need a high-performance storage type such as block storage for any apps you decide to extend to the public cloud during peak demand periods. Choosing a lower cost storage type that lacks the performance you need will lead to undesirable performance.
Similarly, choosing expensive storage types when a cheaper cold archiving object storage would suffice could end up costing you a lot of wasted money. To avoid this mistake, you must understand the available public cloud storage types and match the characteristics of your data to the correct type of storage.
One of the main drivers of businesses migrating to the hybrid cloud is the cost savings involved in such an option. However, many organizations make the mistake of assuming these savings as a given and not adequately monitoring cloud usage. The end result of a lack of monitoring is often much higher than anticipated monthly bills.
Whether it’s choosing incorrect instance types for workloads, opting for incorrect storage types, or leaving instances running while they are not in use, these problems quickly add up and they are difficult to identify without monitoring your cloud usage.
To avoid this mistake, there is a real need for a centralized tool with a dashboard that monitors cloud usage between public and private clouds in addition to alerting you when you are on course to exceed your cloud budget.
The convergence between two types of computing environments can have dramatic impacts on your network that businesses often fail to take into account. If you are moving from an on-premise implementation to the hybrid cloud, you are probably used to low-latency, high throughput on a local area network.
However, a network bottleneck can emerge when moving traffic over a wireless network between your private and public cloud services, particularly as you begin to leverage the public cloud more. It is imperative to prepare for this potential bottleneck by assessing your wireless network, your Internet service provider, and making sure the network is equipped to handle high volumes of traffic either by using more than one ISP or upgrading your existing contract.
To prepare for the hybrid cloud, make sure you:
- Make security and compliance priorities from the outset
- Migrate in phases
- Assess your existing network infrastructure
- Fully research the available cloud providers and read their service level agreements
- Implement a centralized tool that can monitor cloud usage
Avoid these common hybrid cloud mistakes and properly prepare for your migration. By doing so, your business maximizes the probability that everything will go smoothly and you can take full advantage of the benefits of the hybrid cloud.