A hybrid cloud is an integrated cloud service that combines both the public cloud and a private cloud to perform various distinct functions within a company. Implementing a hybrid cloud infrastructure ensures that all the platforms in an organization are integrated seamlessly. Setting up a hybrid cloud requires the availability of a public cloud service such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform as well as a private cloud setup either on-premises or through a hosted private cloud solution.
Cloud services offer efficiency, scalability, and other features that ensure the flow of business operations. A public cloud offers a cost-effective solution for companies of all shapes and sizes. However, companies are not given direct access to these public cloud infrastructures. On the other hand, a private cloud infrastructure can be designed and set up as per the organizational needs for better control.
This is one reason why many companies are opting for hybrid clouds. It allows an organization to maximize efficiency by integrating the public cloud infrastructure for all the non-sensitive operations and storage purposes, and relying on a private cloud only when it is required for sensitive or confidential operations and data.
Major advantages of using a hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud offers better security as it employs both the public and private cloud services under one roof. All the sensitive aspects of the business can be handled by the private cloud systems on which an organization has complete control. End-to-end monitoring can be done on hybrid clouds making them secure and reliable.
Hybrid cloud technology allows a company to organize workloads and other tasks in the most efficient way possible. Hybrid clouds can be easily tweaked and configured as per the business needs and requirements, without having to depend on any external public cloud service providers. It allows an organization to switch resources, infrastructure, data deployment, and the network between the public and private cloud solutions based on the ever-evolving business needs.
Public cloud services are generally cost effective compared to a private cloud setup. Hybrid cloud provides an easy means of switching between public and private cloud infrastructures as per the need, potentially saving money.
Being able to scale in terms of resources and infrastructure is an essential need for every organization. Hybrid cloud offers easy scalability option as a public cloud can always be scaled with ease. Thanks to the availability of the private cloud, all sensitive resources such as data, configuration settings, and more will remain safe in the hands of the organization itself.
But just because the hybrid cloud offers many advantages, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can turn be beneficial for every organization. To get the most from any technology, tool, or solution, they have to be properly deployed, managed, and monitored. Here are the essential best practices for building and managing a hybrid cloud environment:
Weighing the options
An organization must first decide if it really needs to implement a hybrid cloud. A company must ask itself this question: Why do we need a hybrid cloud over other available options?
If a business doesn’t have a lot of sensitive data to be stored in the cloud, then opting for a public cloud could prove to be a much cheaper option. Similarly, a business that deals only with confidential or sensitive data, setting up a private cloud would be the best fit.
A hybrid cloud infrastructure is meant for companies that need both the flexibility and scalability of a public cloud along with the better architectural control offered by a private cloud.
Although the implementation of a hybrid cloud provides a lot of value-added features to the organization, it might not necessarily be the best fit for every organization. Do note that with hybrid cloud, you don't just get the advantages of both public and private cloud, but also have to face the struggles of integrating both of them for the company’s benefits. Businesses must come up with valid and strong reasons to opt for hybrid cloud before proceeding further.
Here are the best practices in hybrid cloud computing
Find the right partner
An essential aspect of a successful hybrid cloud solution is to find the right partner. Since the implementation of a hybrid cloud involves the integration of a public cloud along with private cloud, businesses have to be choosy when it comes to selecting the public cloud provider.
Select a cloud partner with a proven experience in implementing hybrid clouds. Resource requirements, scalability options, ease of data migration and integration are some of the vital aspects that need to be discussed before collaborating. Then an organization has to select a partner who meets all the requirements and has the ability to help and guide you through the setup process.
After a collaboration is done, try strengthening the relationship with the public cloud provider. This always aids in better support and accessibility. Finally, it is highly advisable for any organization to start with a noncritical workload. This will enable the business to understand the insights of using a hybrid cloud without causing serious impact to the company.
Creating guidelines and policies
Documenting and implementing effective guidelines and policies serve multiple purposes and ensures that everything is going as per the business needs. There is no point in setting up a hybrid cloud environment if you don’t define where the applications and their data have to be stored. In a hybrid cloud setup, you get to choose between public and private cloud solutions. So the organization must document the guidelines and policies to make it very clear on the usage of both public and private cloud beforehand.
Through proper guidelines and policies, performance and regulatory requirements, geographical-access, and proper monitoring can be effectively done as rules will be defined for all of these core business aspects before the deployment.
Always monitor your public cloud and its resources
A rule of thumb in a hybrid cloud setup is “never completely trust your public cloud resources.” A company must actively monitor its public cloud. Ultimately, it is the company’s responsibility to make sure that all business-related processes, operations, and compliance requirements are being followed by the public-cloud partner.
Organizations will also need to deploy tools and services to manage and monitor the hybrid cloud environment in real time. All these tools must work with both the private and public cloud systems. Enterprises also need to explore all the various available encryption and other security options to make sure the data and resources in the public cloud remain safe.
Every company has to map all its applications with the cloud service prior to distributing them to various cloud solutions. Application mapping can be done on the basis of their type, whether they deal with sensitive information or not, their criticality, and the impact on the business.
Once the applications are classified and mapped, you can now integrate them with the available environments to avoid business downtime, disruption, or inefficiencies. Moreover, having a proper application mapping can also help an organization to have a clear view of what application is hosted in which environment and what are its priorities.
Security above all
Security is and will remain the most pressing concern for any company deploying their applications or data to the cloud. Often, companies that rely on public cloud services suffer from the lack of in-depth architectural information and lack of complete control over the computing resources on the cloud. This in-depth control is provided to a company that has a private cloud setup. Therefore, a hybrid cloud environment can also help in providing better security.
Many companies attempt to implement hybrid cloud environments to overcome these issues. This can certainly help to store the sensitive information in the company’s very own private cloud. But this is not enough. Organizations will still have to make sure that adequate security measures are in place to secure both the public and private cloud environments.
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