Instead of choosing between the public cloud, the private cloud, and an on-premises data center, businesses are increasingly choosing to combine all three technologies. Done properly, this can give them the best of all worlds. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to hybrid cloud solutions and data center integration.
For clarity, a hybrid cloud is a cloud that includes both private cloud infrastructure and public cloud infrastructure. Private cloud infrastructure is cloud infrastructure that is for the exclusive use of one entity. Public cloud infrastructure is infrastructure that is owned and managed by a third party but made available for anyone to use.
Data centers are facilities that are used to host core IT infrastructure, particularly networking infrastructure. They are often used as physical bases for cloud infrastructure but they can serve other purposes.
There are many different ways that hybrid clouds can be implemented. Here are four of the most popular options.
Cloud bursting: In this scenario, an organization’s private cloud extends into the public cloud during periods of increased demand, ensuring optimal performance and resource availability without overloading the private infrastructure.
Data backup and recovery: Hybrid cloud facilitates robust data backup and disaster recovery solutions by storing critical data and applications in both public and private environments, ensuring business continuity in the event of data loss or system failures.
Data synchronization: Hybrid cloud enables synchronized data access across multiple locations, ideal for geographically dispersed teams or branches.
Development and testing: Developers can leverage the public cloud for cost-effective testing and development environments while keeping sensitive data within the secure confines of the private cloud.
The common factor in all of these options is that they all leverage the strengths of each environment to give the best overall result. This is the key to making the most of the hybrid cloud.
When implemented correctly, a hybrid cloud can offer scalability, flexibility, and agility without compromising on security. It can also be much more cost-effective than only using either a private cloud or a public cloud.
Regardless of what type of hybrid cloud deployment a company uses, the guiding principle will generally be to use the public cloud to expand the reach of the private cloud. This expansion could be either vertical or horizontal.
An example of vertical expansion would be cloud bursting. In this approach, the public cloud is used to handle spikes in traffic. This ensures that users get the service they expect without the business having to overprovision the private cloud relative to their standard needs.
An example of horizontal expansion would be content delivery networks (CDNs). These allow resources to be hosted near the relevant user base. The main benefit of this is usually faster delivery. It can, however, also help with disaster recovery and business continuity.
Setting up a private cloud typically requires some level of upfront investment and/or long-term commitment. Once a private cloud is in operation, however, its running costs can be much lower than the cost of using a public cloud. The opposite is true of the public cloud. It has little to no upfront costs but will generate ongoing costs for as long as it is used.
Implementing a hybrid cloud allows businesses to keep their core processing in-house and hence minimize their operational costs. At the same time, it allows them to access extra resources whenever they need them.
These extra resources may cost more than standard in-house processing. They are, however, more economical than equipping private clouds to meet peak demands and leaving this resource idle most of the time.
Here are 7 key best practices for successful integrations.
Comprehensive infrastructure assessment: Thoroughly evaluate existing data center infrastructure to identify areas that can benefit from hybrid cloud integration. Determine their capabilities, limitations, and compatibility with cloud services.
Define clear objectives and use cases: Determine which workloads, applications, or data sets should migrate to the cloud and which should remain on-premises.
Choose the right providers: Select reputable hybrid cloud service providers aligned with your organization’s needs. Consider service offerings, pricing models, security features, and compliance certifications.
Develop robust data management and security strategies: Implement encryption, access controls, and data backup solutions to safeguard sensitive data and ensure compliance with all relevant programs.
Carefully plan network architecture and connectivity between the data center and the cloud: Address latency, bandwidth, and redundancy requirements for optimal performance and implement robust security measures.
Execute the integration methodically: Start with less critical workloads and progress to mission-critical ones. Rigorously test the integrated environment to identify and address compatibility, performance, or data synchronization issues.
Implement robust monitoring tools and practices: Track performance, security, and cost-effectiveness. Regularly optimize resource allocation and configurations based on data-driven insights.
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