Manage the Hybrid Cloud

BrandPost By Lafe Low
Apr 06, 2020
CareersIT Leadership

New and evolving hybrid cloud models demand the right kind of cloud competencies. One set of skills ensures efficient operation of your organization’s private, on-prem servers, while another will help you get the most out of relationships with public cloud service providers.

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Credit: Just_Super

As more and more organizations undertake or continue their digital transformation, the hybrid cloud has emerged as a critical component on that journey. The right combination of public and private cloud platforms can ensure the right degree of access, control, and security, while also helping organizations maintain a handle on their cloud spending.

Adapting and evolving traditional enterprise infrastructure to this new and evolving cloud model can be a challenge, however—especially when it comes to selecting and working with the major cloud vendors to achieve and maintain the right balance for each individual enterprise. “Map out the best cloud providers, look at what you already have, look for a nice migration path… and then you can integrate the public cloud with your private cloud,” says Myles Brown, Senior Cloud and DevOps Advisor for ExitCertified. “In some cases, you might want to keep it separate. The public cloud could be for new apps designed specifically for the cloud, for instance.”

There are several routes an enterprise might take to get a hybrid cloud environment. “There are three different categories,” says Brown. “First, there are frameworks that work with hybrid and multi-cloud platforms—like Cloud Foundry, OpenShift, and Kubernetes—where instead of relying on the cloud providers, we’re providing the managed services.”

Other routes vary in cost and complexity. “Another way to do hybrid is an expensive option, but most of the cloud providers are now selling hardware. A company could use Amazon’s AWS Outpost or Microsoft Azure Stacks. The cloud vendor provides the hardware. You put that in the data center, and it looks like the regular cloud environment. You use the same pane of glass to manage things, whether they’re physically in your data center or in one of Amazon’s.”

And finally, an enterprise that architects a route to the hybrid cloud by adding public cloud platforms is often already operating their own private cloud. “If they’re going with a hybrid cloud, it’s because they’re adding the public cloud to what they already have,” says Brown. That approach creates a need for certain levels of expertise. “A lot of it depends on how you started private cloud in the first place. VMware is probably what companies had running their private cloud before, and VMware has three options for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.”

In that case, relying on what is already in place can be an effective approach. “If a company is using VMware and already has the expertise in that, it makes sense to use VMware’s tools and allow their IT staff to use the exact same tools they’re already used to for launching virtual machines into something like AWS. It might not be the most cost-effective way to start with the public cloud, but it can sometimes present the path of least resistance.”

And as a company moves to a hybrid cloud by adding the public cloud, ensuring cloud security is always a factor. “Some people still think the public cloud is less secure, but in reality, your data center staff is your most likely security risk,” says Brown. “Once you learn more about the cloud though, you start realizing the extent of the security protocols. Amazon has just as much at stake as you do to ensure AWS is secure. We find these days is security is the number one reason people go to the cloud.”

Seeking out and earning certification can help ensure the organization has the right level of cloud competency to continue to operate an efficient private cloud, while ensuring they get the most out of the relationship with various public cloud service providers, such as Microsoft, Google, and AWS: