There are many compelling reasons why the hybrid cloud industry is forecasted to grow 17% in 2021. When you add a public cloud provider or another on-premises solution into your existing system, it expands the options you have available to protect your assets. You can make hybrid cloud an intermediary step to achieving a cloud-native architecture or you can go true hybrid. It’s safe to say that there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Either way, your strategy for a hybrid cloud deployment has to be planned, managed, and executed like any other project. The beauty of a hybrid cloud strategy is, however, that while you are evaluating what to include in a larger project, you can still move smaller applications and take advantage of cloud services. Before you jump in, ask yourself these six questions about the application you are considering moving to the cloud:
1. Which public cloud provider should I use?
Along with the growth of the hybrid cloud industry, comes an increasing variety of options from vendors and solutions. Naturally, AWS, GCP, and Azure all have their own offerings, which come with their benefits and areas for improvement. There are also less constrained platforms like OpenShift that can give you the ability to lift and shift applications between the private and public cloud. The variety of options on the market will give you the freedom to choose something that fits your organizational requirements.
2. Is the app I want to move to the cloud new or legacy?
Unfortunately, legacy applications that were built and designed for on-premises deployment can’t simply be moved to the cloud without rearchitecting. Luckily, this is one of the significant benefits of deploying a hybrid cloud system. Monolithic applications that can’t be moved to the cloud for technical, business or compliance reasons, can stay on-premises. Newer applications are loosely coupled and service-orientated -- that should be where you start.
3. Is the application I want to move to the cloud containerized?
Containers are the foundation for creating a microservices-based architecture in the cloud. Kubernetes is the largest open-source container orchestration tool, and the major cloud providers and other tech giants have all built services based on it. Be sure to set aside enough time to become familiar with your cloud provider’s orchestration and monitoring tools.
4. Is the application I want to move scalable?
Scalability in applications that run on the cloud is of paramount importance. Without it, you can’t make use of the elasticity that is inherent in all public cloud infrastructures. Typically, an application’s scalability is tightly coupled with state control. On-premises applications are traditionally stateful applications whose functions are executed in a specific sequence. In a distributed computing environment, however, the specific sequence may vary, so it’s important to think about state control when deciding which applications should move to the cloud.
5. What support services does my application need?
One of the biggest benefits of running applications on the cloud is having a wide variety of services at your disposal. For example, AWS offers over 200 services that can support your application. Most providers offer granular identity and access management controls that can limit certain users from performing certain actions and impose restrictions that only allow certain services to do certain things.
6. Is my staff really hybrid cloud-ready?
Moving to a hybrid cloud strategy from a single cloud or on-premises system means that you or your staff members might need to add to their skillset. A container-led approach unifies the management experience between the two environments, but it’s still likely you’ll need to set aside time for staff to learn new skills. Consider making your organization’s transition to a hybrid cloud model part of a larger move toward a methodology like DevSecOps. Broadening the scope of traditional IT jobs like infrastructure engineering and software development can empower your IT team and effectively restructure it to support a hybrid cloud deployment. Best of all, restructuring doesn’t always have to mean hiring and firing, as organizations that have successfully moved to a hybrid cloud model have found.
Hybrid cloud models can be complex, and you can’t execute the move to a hybrid cloud successfully without a lot of research and strategic planning. If creating a robust hybrid cloud strategy is the focus of your next big move, remember that the platform you choose will be the cornerstone. From there, it’s all about execution and the building blocks will be your team and the tool kits you’ll use to build and manage your hybrid cloud environment.