It’s not difficult to see the benefits of hybrid cloud. By running applications across on-premise, private cloud and public cloud infrastructure, you’re able to run each workload in an environment that matches its performance and security requirements, yet still make the most of the flexibility and cost efficiencies of cloud. It’s also no surprise that hybrid cloud is fast becoming the dominant approach. 71% of respondents to a 2019 Forrester survey said that they would describe their IT strategy as hybrid, while Gartner Senior Director Analyst, Santhos Rao, has said that ‘Hybrid architectures will become the footprints that enable organizations to extend beyond their data centers and into cloud services across multiple platforms.’
But while adopting a hybrid cloud strategy is an easy decision, implementing one successfully is more difficult. In order to make it work effectively, firms have to meet and master three basic challenges:
- Migration: How do you move and run existing workloads in the cloud? Do you keep them on-premise, take the ‘lift-and-shift’ approach, or refactor them in a more cloud-friendly format, using containerisation?
- Scaling: One of the big drivers of hybrid cloud is the ability to run workloads on-premise, but burst them out to private or public-cloud to meet peaks of demand. This obviously makes sense from the vantage of cost, data protection and compliance, but how can you manage it without compromising performance or giving up control?
- Data fragmentation: Enterprise applications rarely exist on their own. They’re usually consuming data from a range of sources and connected to other applications, with data flowing between them. How do you ensure this integration is seamless and secure, and avoid new data siloes forming?
All three need careful handling. If migration fails, applications don’t function properly or performance suffers. Without effective scaling, you either end up overprovisioning or find that applications can’t meet peaks of demand. Without automation and data orchestration, the enterprise risks replicating siloes, but on a wider scale.
What’s more, with the growth of data from new sources, particularly sources at the edge, hybrid clouds will have to get even smarter about how they manage it and move it around. Without optimal data flows, tomorrow’s potentially transformative applications will never reach their full potential.
The answer to all three challenges comes down to a mix of streamlined management, automation, orchestration and interoperability, ensuring that – where possible – workloads are portable and scalable, and that data flows smoothly through the whole estate. Orchestration tools, virtualisation, containerisation and software-defined infrastructure will all have their part to play. However, all this requires a level of cloud expertise and access to skills that many firms won’t have in-house.
Perhaps the simplest and most cost-effective solution, therefore, is to work with a managed cloud services provider. After all, managing cloud services is the whole focus of their business, and they’ll have the experience and talent to handle all three challenges of hybrid cloud.
Consistency, integration and control
HPE GreenLake, for example, delivers a comprehensive managed hybrid cloud solution. For a start, it delivers one consistent cloud environment, spanning from the enterprise datacentre out through the cloud to the edge. With GreenLake, on-premise architecture and cloud architecture can be treated in the same, flexible way, with visibility and control through GreenLake Central; a single, coherent management interface for the entire hybrid cloud. HPE GreenLake gives IT teams the ability to move workloads and data out from on-premise hardware through to private cloud or public cloud at speed, using automation to scale out automatically, so that on-premise applications can burst out to meet demand.
What’s more, GreenLake integrates with all the main public cloud providers, including AWS, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. It also supports Docker and Kubernetes, so if you’re using containerisation to migrate existing workloads or build new, cloud-native apps, the infrastructure is in place to get them up and running. And because organizations can rely on HPE PointNext for support and advice on data orchestration, integration, migration and scaling, a lack of in-house skills or experience won’t be a barrier to success.
To discover more benefits about HPE Greenlake, and how it can help optimise your hybrid cloud environment, click here to visit the HPE website.