Five steps to the perfect hybrid cloud

In the aftermath of Covid-19 and other significant global events, cloud services have accelerated as organisations require more adaptability for an unpredictable future. Cloud services are fast becoming a business-critical solution. 

With 60.9% of organisations already using or piloting a hybrid cloud solution, and a further 32.7% planning to implement a hybrid solution within the next 12-24 months (NTT 2021 Hybrid Cloud Report), it’s clear that the time is now for cloud. 

Hybrid cloud provides you with a solution that fits your business needs now, while equipping you with the tools you need to scale and grow. But with stories of stalled migrations and organisations not reaping the cost and flexibility benefits they expected, how can you make sure you get the perfect cloud solution? 

Discover our five steps to deploying the perfect hybrid cloud environment:  

1. Establish your cloud readiness 

The first thing you need to do is establish your cloud readiness. You can achieve this by initiating a business impact analysis and a cloud readiness assessment, which will help you to make sense of your existing workloads and how migrating them to the cloud will impact business. Your assessments will enable you to better establish what hosting environments are right for you: private cloud, colocation or public cloud.  

The benefit of hybrid cloud is that it gives you a flexible approach to the ’one-size-fits-all’ problem. The mantra of ‘the right cloud for the right workload’ should always be in mind as you establish your cloud model and decide where to place a workload, rather than forcing all workloads on to a specific, single cloud or hosting environment. What you want to be doing is creating a cloud environment that is essentially an extension of your existing infrastructure. This will give you the flexibility to make the right business choices, at the right time.   

Many organisations are choosing hybrid to meet their immediate business needs and for increased agility that can respond to the impact of global events and changing conditions. To find out whether hybrid cloud is right for your organisation, read four ways hybrid cloud is right for you.  

2. Evaluate your business needs 

As part of your business impact analysis and cloud readiness assessment you will need to evaluate business needs and goals (such as security, costs, compliance, functionality) against your existing applications. This is an essential step in identifying and understanding exactly what data you are replicating and where it’s going – making sure you’re sticking to that mantra of ‘the right cloud for the right workload’. 

For example; 

  • Budget consideration – Identify which is the most cost-effective platform per workload e.g. services that run 24/7 may not be suitable for pay-as-you-use public cloud. 
  • Functionality – Public cloud may be preferable for workloads that are cloud-native (following principles such as immutability and perhaps using containers), or where they can benefit from public cloud ‘pre-canned’ platform services that remove the need for you to run and manage the platform, and instead focus on the application/workload itself. 
  • ROI for existing investments – If you have previously invested in hardware that has not fully depreciated, or you want to retain physical control over hardware, colocation would be a good option. 

Another important element of your assessment will be to identify any cloud skills gaps and evaluate whether you require support to reduce risk and delays in action, while maximising value.  

 3. Migrate to the cloud strategically 

Based on the comprehensive results of your business impact and cloud readiness analysis, you’ll be ready to strategically migrate your data and applications to your selected cloud environment. To execute a successful migration, you’ll want to ensure disruption is minimised and service delivery is continually supported. With this in mind you should develop a cloud migration plan or strategy that considers: 

  • Timeframe  
  • Network and connectivity 
  • Speed  
  • Storage 
  • Security and compliance
  • Cloud deployment and management skills 

Let’s break a few of these down. Security is critical to ensure that your data, potentially your biggest business asset, is secured during all phases of cloud migration. To move strategically, successfully, and securely to the cloud you’ll need to know how data is being moved and that you’ve got appropriate backup and disaster recovery support.

Your network and connectivity will support performance, service delivery and resiliency. Think about data centres like Brightsolid that can provide excellent connectivity and security as well as scalable power.

 4. Manage cloud proactively  

Cloud management should be considered carefully with the right resources and skills utilised to manage everything from automation, security, governance and compliance, cost management and performance. A proactive approach will promote efficiency in your cloud environment and ensure risks and challenges are mitigated before causing significant problems.   

You’ll want to consider short and long-term management across all the systems within your hybrid cloud environment. That might include outsourcing to managed services like Brightsolid to ensure your cloud environment is performant, resilient and secure. Automation is also a great asset within hybrid cloud – employ the right tools to automate tasks and respond to demand with automatic scalability. Being proactive in this way consolidates the management of a number of elements within your hybrid cloud model and frees up valuable resource within your organisation.  

 5. Evolve with the cloud 

At this stage, you want to ask ‘how can we get more value out of our systems?’ You now have the benefit of visibility across your cloud environment, enabling you to be more responsive to opportunities for transformation as new technology, solutions and requirements come into play.  Evolution of your hybrid environment might look like investing in additional services to meet new and ongoing business goals, restructuring workloads to optimise performance and cost, or expanding your compute and storage capacity. The beauty of hybrid cloud is that it is an extension of your existing infrastructure and enables you to blend across your separate cloud environments so you can optimise workloads and data. 

What’s more – the flexibility and agility of hybrid cloud means that placement decisions aren’t permanent and can evolve with your organisation. If a workload transitions or evolves you can simply reassess to determine if it’s better suited to an alternate cloud. Similarly, once hardware reaches EOL in a colocation environment, the workloads can be migrated to private or public cloud.  

With the right strategy, preparation and systems in place the road to reaching your cloud potential, while challenging at times, will be transformational for any organisation. As an incredibly powerful extension to your existing systems, hybrid cloud will equip you with the solutions you need to execute digital transformation and futureproof your technology and operations.  

If you’re looking for a tailored and comprehensive cloud strategy, many cloud management services will offer strategy support, like Brightsolid’s Journey to Cloud consulting solution. Reach out to our experts to find out how our hybrid cloud strategy services can help you to visualise, plan and implement the perfect hybrid cloud environment for your organisation.