Why hybrid cloud is better

Zerto Aus Pty Ltd

By Andrew Martin, Vice President, Zerto APJ
Tuesday, 13 June, 2017

Why hybrid cloud is better

Cloud computing is increasing in popularity among organisations of various sizes due to better cost efficiency, greater flexibility, quicker deployment, easier use for replication and disaster recovery purposes, as well as almost unlimited storage and easy access to data.

IDC’s CloudView 2016 study found 67% of all Australian organisations are using cloud-based infrastructure in some way. The survey reported that Australian organisations continue to adopt cloud solutions with no bias towards either public or private cloud, indicating that organisations are moving in the direction of a hybrid cloud future.

While some applications can be moved easily to the public cloud, there are others that face technological and regulatory obstacles. Hybrid cloud offers the best option for most enterprises offering benefits from both the public and the private cloud, which include greater agility and significant cost savings.

What is the hybrid cloud?

Hybrid cloud is a combination of on-premise and off-premise IT infrastructure platforms. Enabling an organisation to run applications on multiple platforms increases efficiency and choice. A hybrid approach allows an organisation to choose the right platforms for the right workload, for the right price. This agility speeds up ‘time to market’ for many clients and improves their abilities to service their employees and customers.

While this shift is a no-brainer, it’s not without challenges and risks. It’s difficult for organisations used to ‘on premise’ single-vendor or single-platform architectures to build, manage and protect hybrid cloud environments. While introducing multiple platforms drives efficiency and choice, it also drives complexity and risk for organisations ill-prepared to address this shift in strategy correctly.

Hybrid cloud considerations

A hybrid cloud environment offers greater efficiency and lower costs with its pay-as-you-go models, and access to a wide breadth of services. These components enable businesses to run tests, build new systems and adapt faster.

However, the changes required to enable a hybrid cloud can be risky and time-consuming and you may need a different group of tools to protect the environments that are created. To address and avoid risk, protection and immediate recovery is key.

Traditional migration and disaster recovery methods that are based on individual pieces of hardware can be disruptive to the production systems they protect and are no longer adequate in today’s world. These traditional replication, migration and recovery tools are by design incapable of protecting applications and environments that may span multiple on-premise and cloud platforms.

It’s no surprise that traditional ways of protecting applications in ‘on premise-only’ environments won’t suffice in the hybrid cloud world. There are some important things to consider when planning the shift towards a hybrid cloud environment that will reduce the risk and prevent environmental exposure and complexity.

Three steps to ensure a successful hybrid cloud environment

Creating a successful hybrid cloud environment encompasses three steps:

1. Planning

Planning is significantly easier if your environment has a protection, mobility and testing suite or platform that is agnostic to the infrastructure you’re running your IT on. By design, you can make changes to which platforms you use with no protection dependencies tied to that individual on-premise or cloud platform. Furthermore, an agnostic platform allows you to avoid introducing organisational risk when making changes while providing the agility desired when deciding to move to a hybrid cloud IT environment in the first place.

2. Testing

Any changes to your environment, whether internal on-premise changes or more complex shifts to cloud-based resources, will carry organisational risk. Testing whether changes will be executed smoothly and successfully is the bedrock of any serious hybrid cloud strategy. Downtime, data loss and the costs associated with infrastructure changes can be significant risks for an organisation moving to hybrid cloud. A successful hybrid cloud environment can be enabled by, and will continue to allow for, testing capabilities that can assess whether the applications absorbing infrastructure or platform change will remain available throughout and after those changes occur.

3. Futureproofing

When introducing new platforms into your IT environment, futureproofing your decisions is critical. Some questions you should consider include:

  • How fast and easy will it be for us to make future changes?
  • Are we free to move our applications between on-premise or private clouds, third-party managed service providers or public clouds if the cost and benefit analysis shows it to be favourable to make a change?
  • Will those changes be disruptive and/or risky to our business?
  • How will we protect our applications before, during and after those changes?
  • Can we automate changes now or in the future?
  • Can we test that changes we plan to make will go smoothly and not cause business disruption?
  • What restrictions do our current IT infrastructure prevent us from making?

There are numerous advantages to having a hybrid cloud. If you do your due diligence and take the right steps to get there, you’ll find the rewards can be significant from both a cost as well as efficiency standpoint.

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