Adoption of cloud technologies is happening rapidly. According to a 2015 survey by Cowen & Company, 77% of enterprises report meaningful adoption of the cloud and believe more processes could be moved to the platform.
Prioritize workloads and applications.
There are some workloads that lend themselves to moving to a cloud environment. Any application that is running on technology that may be nearing the end of its lifecycle could be a good fit.
Cyclical demands also make sense. Applications or processes that spike during specific times or conditions and put stress on the internal infrastructure naturally benefit from the scalability of the cloud. Web and mobile applications also benefit from residing in the cloud.
Other natural systems, such as collaboration, financial risk management, and email workloads, are already running on the cloud today. The goal is to start with applications that make the most sense to migrate.
Make infrastructure decisions.
A hybrid cloud at its most basic level is utilizing two or more public cloud, private cloud, and on-premise systems. But it takes more than simply combining systems. They need to be integrated and work effectively together.
Having your environment highly virtualized is a good first step. As those environments grow, can the systems scale out for maximum server utilization? Users demand access to their data and systems at any time from any place. System decisions need to account for high availability.
Manage and orchestrate.
For a hybrid cloud environment to be reliable and highly available, processes need to be automated. A single management solution is needed to run the entire environment. It should be based on open standards to ensure compatibility with your service providers.
Applications built for the cloud should be able to provision resources on their own. Automating as many of these processes as possible helps free your IT team from day-to-day management tasks. In addition, automation improves availability because it is less dependent on administrator interaction.
Establish security in the cloud.
Data breaches have dominated the news headlines in recent years. This has led to many cloud security concerns – and rightfully so. However, it is possible to deploy hybrid cloud in a secure manner. If done correctly, it can be even more secure than legacy, on-premises environments. Here are the big three concepts in hybrid cloud security practices.
- Behavior based. Traditional approaches of perimeter security like firewalls and intrusion detection no longer work in a cloud environment. Workloads are virtual and often do not rely on the physical network to communicate. They utilize hypervisors and software defined networking.Deep introspection security takes into account workloads, people, and processes, then constructs corresponding behavior models. When anomalies occur, the systems police themselves and notify administrators much earlier in the event of an attack.
- Comprehensive audit trail. Establishing a comprehensive audit trail for compliance and security can help protect the environment regardless of where the workload and data is. Automatically tracking the data and processes allow companies to know who accessed the data, what they did with it, why they did it, and when it was touched.
- Honey pot protection. You can set up decoy systems that are separate from your production environment. These servers are highly virtualized to be attractive to malware and cyber-attacks. They run much like production servers so malware is activated.Once the attacks or malware are detected, those systems are automatically quarantined. Now you have the ability to address them before they threaten the production environment. These practices can help make a hybrid cloud environment even more secure than traditional, on-premise systems.
A comprehensive plan is required to get the most out of your hybrid cloud deployment. It takes time and energy. However, once this process is completed, your IT department can move into a more strategic position. They can act more like an IT services broker and bring even greater value to the enterprise.