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Cloud Expo: Article

Top Considerations for Your Hybrid Cloud Environment

Hybrid cloud is well on its way to mainstream adoption

Over the past five or so years, the phrase "cloud computing" has been tossed around frequently, in various contexts and quite often, meaning different things to different people. If you're like most enterprises, you've already explored what cloud computing means for your organization. Businesses everywhere would love to develop or run applications in a cloud environment that accommodates workload bursts or app testing situations without having to purchase additional server equipment for what could essentially be a very short-lived need. In 2012, cloud computing truly became mainstream - and if you aren't implementing the cloud in your infrastructure yet, you're most likely planning for it in 2013.

Alternatively, you might be rethinking your cloud approach. Many organizations have implemented a cloud infrastructure that is impulsive and arbitrary, causing more problems than it solves and costing an IT organization time, money and resources. The development of cloud in the enterprise has proven to have a learning curve - one that will now lead to more and more organizations working to seamlessly combine in-house private clouds with the benefits of public and commercially packaged private cloud services in a hybrid mix.

Seconding this timeframe is Gartner, whose 2012 Hype Cycle Report included hybrid cloud, indicating we will see a pattern of early adoption and early failures and readjustments, followed by slow adoption, more service offerings and, finally, mainstream adoption. Hybrid cloud is well on its way to mainstream adoption and it's more important than ever that enterprises know their stuff when it comes to successfully adopting public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) to augment private cloud environments. The following considerations are extremely important when plotting your public IaaS attack.

Don't Overlook Hybrid Cloud Management
As general adoption goes, companies are typically quick to adopt a technology that will change the game, yet, management of that technology is often an overthought. Self-service, automation and management services all require different levels of customer involvement and it is on you to figure out how your operations will best benefit from the setup and support. IT professionals and/or offerings with extensive management capabilities for private, public and hybrid services will become increasingly vital as more and more hybrid scenarios involve multi-cloud environments.

Companies must seek out sophisticated cloud management software that manages on-demand compute and storage resources. This type of software exists and it makes an organization's resources exponentially more flexible and scalable, all based on what is needed at the time.

Major Factors - Security and Redundancy
More and more organizations have very critical data and information that, when migrating to the cloud, can be a huge concern when it comes to security and redundancy. These are definite factors to the overall success of the project. Organizations need to explore the option of spreading workloads across various regions, leveraging multiple providers that have strong, highly secure networks and access to multi sites for global load balancing capabilities. In terms of security, you should feel no less secure than you do with your on-site or collocated resources. If the security isn't as strong as possible, you should consider different cloud options for your critical or sensitive data.

Outages and Downtime are Unacceptable
Just because it is the "cloud" doesn't mean that your data is going up in the air - in fact, it's still in a building somewhere. That building should be very robust and well connected to avoid downtime risks. "Carrier hotels," which house extensive amounts of domestic and international network providers, are the best choice for moving your data to the cloud. Think of it as a centralized location for you to connect to almost any network, allowing you to achieve affordable yet supreme performance, uptime and reduced latency.

Commodity Won't Cut It
While we are discussing supreme performance, it's important to note that most cloud providers are leveraging commodity servers and equipment. Your hybrid cloud provider should be a mirror of your own enterprise-class organization. If you want nothing but the best for your IT infrastructure - reliable equipment that provides the most value within your budget - you are allowed to expect the same in your cloud provider.

Remember, a hybrid cloud scenario should simplify your life. Trends and drivers for innovation are occurring and impacting IT daily. Everything from BYOD, to disaster recovery, to Big Data and analytics are not impacting just you - but you can get ahead of the pain points that come along with them by implementing a hybrid cloud infrastructure that thinks ahead for you, and matches your business goals.

More Stories By Aaron Patrick

Aaron Patrick is a Cloud Services Architect at the Markley Group, a multi-tenant, mission-critical telecommunications and data center facility.

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