For today’s enterprise business, a wholesale migration to the cloud likely isn’t the right solution. From firsthand experience since the early days of the cloud, we witnessed out a lift-and-shift migration of traditional workloads to cloud services didn’t deliver the expected benefits – whether those were reduced cost, better resiliency, or increased performance. Sometimes, a hybrid deployment could improve the outcome where public cloud alone couldn’t deliver. We thought this might be a transitional state while cloud technologies matured.
Since the early days, public cloud functionality has grown by leaps and bounds – features and functionality have improved at near exponential rates. Even still, public cloud doesn’t often deliver all the benefits companies need or expect. And keeping your IT workloads where they run today certainly isn’t going to improve things either. Instead, a hybrid approach to cloud adoption has proven to be the winning strategy across a variety of workloads and use cases—and that’s why hybrid cloud has become the new normal.
Let’s explore several use cases to highlight some of the benefits that hybrid cloud can provide.
You’re Looking to Optimize Costs
The rise of cloud adoption has proven that all cloud options are not created—or billed—equally.
The public cloud adopted a pricing model similar to a pay-per-use taxi, making it convenient and relatively low maintenance. Although a taxi is logical for short trips, it isn’t cost effective for long term transportation. For traditional workloads that run all the time, the public cloud functions like a taxi with its meter running all the time, unable to turn off. After experiencing the cost of the constantly-running meter with no off switch, more enterprise businesses are exiting the public cloud in search of something more economical.
Leveraging the public cloud to optimize costs requires a bit more work. Applications need to be rearchitected to leverage cloud-native concepts, such as auto-scaling groups, microservices, and application self-healing. This work can’t be ignored, but often the cost of a complete application rewrite is prohibitive, either in time or with lack of know-how. A hybrid approach can allow a more gradual upgrade path by allowing you to thoughtfully choose application components you’d like to migrate to the cloud piece by piece while maintaining more complex or hard-to-rebuild components in their current state. By taking this hybrid approach rather than forklifting all of your applications at once, you can see the benefits of cloud-based services, including a more optimized price tag.
Hybrid environments can also give organizations more control with a custom blend of cloud solutions and dedicated infrastructure. For enterprise businesses, the hybrid cloud often makes better financial sense.
You’re Still Using Legacy Application Components
Well-established enterprise organizations are often overladen with legacy systems and applications but look hopefully to the cloud to help. Unfortunately, the public cloud cannot be their cure-all in many scenarios, such as when a massive amount of data is too expensive to move, locked in too extensively to existing solutions, or demands specific requirements, such as compliant systems. Although a full lift-and-shift may seem appealing, the hybrid cloud is often the better solution for supporting legacy applications on dedicated systems and supplementing with cloud solutions to leverage advanced functionality and services, like machine learning.
However, before making the hybrid cloud shift, companies must dig deeper into current infrastructure to understand the costs and risks of moving elements to the cloud versus simply exposing these applications to cloud services to leverage new functionality. A strategy for each application that considers benefits and risks at this level will prepare a company much better for success in their digital transformation.
Even companies already in the public cloud—especially those might be questioning if they moved too fast—can take a similar step back to evaluate their strategy and find ways in which hybrid cloud solutions can save IT costs and gain better efficiency. Evaluating legacy applications and future IT goals with the guidance and insights of cloud solutions experts is key to making an optimal transformation.
You Need to Support Peak Traffic
The scalability and flexibility the hybrid cloud offers cloud makes it ideal to manage fluctuating traffic levels enterprise companies experience, from the high-peak usage to periods of steady plateaus. The holiday shopping season, sales promotions, or other events can cause rapid demand spikes, which may subside just as quickly once the event is over. Traditional solutions required companies to maintain extra resources to accommodate these peak times, which is an extremely costly option. Remember—the public cloud works like a taxi with the meter always running, but hybrid cloud solutions support these bursts while also supporting the baseline more efficiently.
While some components of your application may need to run all the time, others don’t. Let’s look at an example: Databases function best when they are always operational. Web servers or web services may be much easier to scale out as demand spikes. A hybrid approach to this example application (where the database would remain on a dedicated machine while web services can be rapidly added on demand in the public cloud) represents an approach that provides the right match of platform to application function. Pay-per-use spend on public cloud is optimized based on on-demand usage and can scale rapidly to follow demand spikes (both up and down), while database operations benefit from the stability and reliability of dedicated hardware.
While peak traffic can be predictable for some industries, enterprise organizations should use insights and analytics to best architect their hybrid cloud solutions. Along with upfront research, consistent testing and evaluation of traffic patterns and demand signals are critical for companies to take full advantage of the hybrid cloud.
You Want More Economical Options
A disaster recovery plan is crucial for every enterprise organization but implementing and maintaining one is easier said than done. Traditional disaster recovery plans require you to move entire applications to a dedicated backup environment—an expensive and tedious process. With such a financial burden attached to traditional methods, it isn’t that shocking that 30% of businesses don’t have any disaster recovery plan in place at all.
But building better IT resilience can be more affordable with a hybrid cloud approach. Providing businesses with scalable and more agile options to meet their specific disaster recovery needs, the hybrid cloud presents economic options not available through traditional offerings. For example, taking a traditional workload and creating a failover environment in the cloud can save significant costs. Rather than maintaining the failover environment in a running state, it can be built in the cloud, then snapshotted to storage. With proper scripting to ensure rapid re-provisioning of the environment, costs of maintaining the cloud DR site can be limited to storage costs, saving significantly over the costs of maintaining a full duplicate environment that is always running
Yet just like traditional strategies, the hybrid cloud still requires detailed planning that takes time and expertise. Although some disaster recovery service providers may not be current with best practices in the cloud, finding a capable managed cloud provider is often the key to a more economical disaster recovery plan in the hybrid cloud.
Working Better Together
The hybrid cloud brings multiple platforms together to solve problems—reducing IT costs, optimizing legacy systems, maintaining reliable performance, ensuring resiliency—and working with experienced managed cloud experts allows your business to harness the power of hybrid.
Start exploring how the hybrid cloud can transform your business with a free consultation today.