Why are there so many different definitions of hybrid cloud?
ER: Every company’s journey toward hybrid cloud is different. There aren’t clearly defined stages of cloud transformation. As a result, the definition of “hybrid” can vary depending on who you’re speaking to and whether that person represents an enterprise, a technology vendor, a media organization or another perspective. For example, some believe that hybrid cloud is a mixture of private cloud and on-premises infrastructure, while for others, a hybrid approach includes both public and private clouds as well as on-premises infrastructure.
“Hybrid cloud” has felt like a buzzword for a long time, so why are some organizations still in progress with it?
ER: When an initiative like hybrid cloud is hard to define, it’s also hard to unify and execute. Many hybrid cloud projects actually begin by accident. A developer might start using a public cloud service to quickly develop applications for development and testing, or an IT lead might consider using a public cloud service for backup or archival. What’s very common is software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps like Office 365, Salesforce.com and others might move the organization down the road to public cloud use, but not necessarily with a unified hybrid strategy in mind. No matter how a hybrid cloud initiative begins, when it officially kicks off, the organization often needs to spend time uniting disparate instances of cloud use, which can be time consuming.
How does a hybrid environment actually look at most organizations?
ER: Regardless of whether it was established three weeks or three years ago, a hybrid environment probably involves a distribution of data between a few locations: custom and legacy applications, a private cloud, multiple public clouds and a virtualized data footprint that reside on-premises. The dynamics regarding which platform houses which data may shift over time. For companies that exist anywhere on this spectrum, however, it’s critical to focus on thinking beyond the app’s physical or virtual limitations and to open the data for access anywhere it’s needed.
How is multicloud playing into hybrid transformation?
ER: Hybrid cloud is quickly becoming synonymous with “multicloud.” The logic driving this shift is clear: for the same reasons organizations avoid vendor lock-in with on-premises technologies, they’re looking to avoid housing all of their data with a single cloud provider. A cloud-agnostic approach that involves some combination of AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM SoftLayer and others helps enterprises achieve their real goals by delivering the most efficient and economic solution the market can offer.
What are the real roadblocks standing in the way of hybrid cloud success?
ER: Data migration and app reconfiguration are major projects for any organization to undertake, no matter the scope of resources at the team’s disposal. These initiatives, as well as the inherent operational issues often associated with transformation, are the most common culprits when it comes to halting hybrid cloud deployments. On the other hand, hybrid cloud security is a factor that was once considered a roadblock, but has become one of the more low-maintenance aspects of hybrid cloud transformation. According to Gartner, 95 percent of cloud security breaches through 2020 will result from issues on the customer’s side, rather than the cloud service provider’s ability to adequately secure data.
What is the most important goal for any hybrid cloud project?
ER: Hybrid cloud success is possible when the entire team driving the transformation is on the same page about data access requirements, management tasks, data migration and resources. For companies dealing with a fragmented cloud strategy that may have started with a bang and later stalled, there’s always time to take a step back, consider the factors involved and move forward again as a team. We recommend approaching this effort in four steps:
- Decide which apps should have moved to the cloud yesterday, which can wait a few weeks and which should become goals for the next year and beyond.
- Consider access fees, infrastructure costs and management expenses – and lay out the budget for your cloud transformation project before taking any new actions.
- Establish a process for large-scale data migration, as well as data access in every environment encompassed by the hybrid initiative.
- Identify mutual goals and share details about resources with all stakeholders. IT and DevOps teams particularly need to collaborate in order to ensure hybrid success, even though their priorities traditionally don’t overlap.
Any other tips for ensuring hybrid cloud success?
ER: Don’t count on a standard procedure for hybrid cloud transformation to emerge anytime soon – and don’t delay your own hybrid cloud project as a result. By listening to your data’s needs, working together as a team and creating benchmarks to measure your own progress, you can heal a previously fragmented hybrid environment and unite a new strategy under one enterprise footprint.