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Solving the Challenge of Finding the Right Hybrid Cloud for Your Business

The growth in hybrid cloud is a clear and significant trend in the technology industry. Find out organisations can maintain the security and stability of their critical applications while maximising scalability, performance, and lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO).

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For most businesses, hybrid cloud is the ideal technology solution despite its complexity. By blending private and public cloud solutions, organisations can maintain the security and stability of their critical applications while maximising scalability, performance, and lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO).

How Are Hybrid Clouds Being Used?

The complexity in hybrid clouds comes from each and every organisation needing a different blend of technologies and having a different mix of private and public cloud usage.

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach because there are different entry points to the cloud journey depending on the enterprises' business needs and aspirations,” IDC research director, cloud services, William Lee, said. “However, most enterprises will try public cloud services before progressing to private cloud and eventually managing a hybrid cloud environment as they gain maturity in cloud adoption.

Organisations that adopt hybrid clouds usually want to strategically leverage the flexibility that is core to the hybrid cloud value proposition. For example, they can move workloads into the public cloud to inexpensively handle a spike in resource demand (for DevOps, or to handle a seasonal spike in demand) and then “downgrade” to private clouds during off-peak times.
Another popular use of the public cloud side of the hybrid cloud is for second or third-tier disaster recovery. It is often a regulatory requirement that organisations maintain an offsite backup, and the public cloud provides an inexpensive option for meeting that requirement.
On the flip side, having a private cloud in the mix saves businesses from another set of regulatory headaches. For data that needs to be maintained within the walls of the organisation, with maximum security, hybrid clouds allow companies to selectively maintain that level of control without forcing applications with lower regulatory burdens to follow suit.

“According to the IDC CloudView survey 2018, 58 percent of enterprise IT budget spend in Asia-Pacific [excluding Japan] is cloud-based. Over the next 24 months, we will see more shift in IT operations spend from legacy on-premise to cloud infrastructure and platform, with increasing use of cloud native technology.

“By 2021, more than 65 percent of enterprises will use multiple cloud services and platforms – a transition supported by investments to manage resources across platforms – with more than one-third of these companies having established mechanisms to operate their multi-cloud environments.”

Organisations that adopt hybrid clouds usually want to strategically leverage the flexibility that is core to the hybrid cloud value proposition. For example, they can move workloads into the public cloud to inexpensively handle a spike in resource demand (for DevOps, or to handle a seasonal spike in demand) and then “downgrade” to private clouds during off-peak times.

Another popular use of the public cloud side of the hybrid cloud is for second or third-tier disaster recovery. It is often a regulatory requirement that organisations maintain an offsite backup, and the public cloud provides an inexpensive option for meeting that requirement.

On the flip side, having a private cloud in the mix saves businesses from another set of regulatory headaches. For data that needs to be maintained within the walls of the organisation, with maximum security, hybrid clouds allow companies to selectively maintain that level of control without forcing applications with lower regulatory burdens to follow suit.

The Challenge in Enabling Hybrid Clouds

Once the transition to the hybrid cloud is completed, many companies settle on a public/private mix of short-term workloads on public servers and longer-term workloads on private clouds. However, Lee says the challenge for some companies lies in the complexity of such a rollout.

“Hybrid cloud by nature is complex with multiple sites, services and data sources. Skills for implementation and management is the key challenge faced by CIO as most of these skilled resources are concentrated in large enterprises and IT service providers,” he says. “Moving from legacy on-premise to cloud already entails a big shift in cost model from a fixed Capex budget to a variable Opex costing,” Lee said.

“In a hybrid cloud environment with multiple cloud service providers, the challenge is to maintain a visibility on the utilisation of cloud services deployed and to keep track of costs. It is essential for any IT company in the enterprise to manage cost and optimise workload efficiency, ensuring the IT spending from multiple lines of business is within control and budget.

“With IT services running in the cloud and outside the corporate data center, inconsistent security policies can be exploited for attack. Access management and governance across different infrastructure and platform is required to provide authorised employees access to the resources they need.”

Once a company has migrated to a hybrid cloud model, the next challenge it faces is maintaining a seamless experience for users. Managing the journey to a hybrid cloud often requires businesses to add new skills and undertake a change management program to help users understand the new approach to workloads.

The Solution – Cloud-in-a-Box

The key theme moving forwards for hybrid cloud deployments will be simplicity; organisations are looking to hybrid clouds to simplify IT and gain business agility. Technology providers will need to ensure that their customers aren’t wasting energy in chasing simplicity by introducing complex technology solutions into their infrastructure.

“Cloud on-premise [or Cloud-in-a-box] will address many of the cost and security challenges faced in a hybrid cloud environment,” Lee said. “Enterprises can maintain a Capex IT operation model for better visibility and manageability on the total cost of ownership while still retaining cloud-like abilities like IT automation, fast provisioning and scaling of resources on their on-premise IT infrastructure environment.

“IT security and regulatory governance are also easier to manage with on-premise cloud infrastructure. With quick deployment of cloud services with low latency, reliability and high availability of the IT infrastructure can also be ensured.”

Technology providers are now looking to ease these pain points through new innovations. The Lenovo ThinkAgile SX-M is an example of how technology can minimise the risk of a hybrid cloud rollout resulting in a poorly structured environment. In addition to enabling the seamless migration of workloads and being highly scalable in themselves, these servers also allow private cloud workloads to access public cloud services.

A popular choice with businesses – it also provides best-of-breed security – is ThinkAgile SX-M integrated with the Microsoft Azure stack which delivers properly partitioned lines between the public and private server infrastructure and the flexibility to move applications between the two when needed. And end users won’t notice the difference in operating on public or private cloud.

IDC predicts data centers will occupy 50 per cent of the cloud market by 2020, down 12 per cent on the 2017 figure. Public clouds will account for nearly a third of the market (23 per cent in 2017), and private clouds another 20 per cent in 2020 (15 per cent in 2017), according to industry publication, Network World.

The growth in hybrid cloud is a clear and significant trend in the technology industry. However, business is in good hands, as technology providers that understand the challenges involved in maintaining a seamless and secure experience within a hybrid cloud, focus their innovation on addressing the transition and hybrid operation process.


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