Hybrid Multi Cloud Strategy: Winning Theme For Enterprise
The hybrid multi-cloud is not just about delivering cost savings. It is about the Organization becoming more agile, efficient and productive.
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Overview of Hybrid Multi-Cloud
Today, business is changing continuously and technology is trying to catch up with these business agilities to meet with the time to market. Organizations are expanding their usage of the cloud to maintain their competitive edge, accelerate innovation and transform interactions with customers, employees, and partners. The Pandemic has further increased the demand for speed of delivery and scale of cloud adoption.
According to International Data Corporation (IDC), "By 2022, over 90% of enterprises worldwide will be relying on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds, and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs."
Markets and Markets research quoted that, “the hybrid cloud market is expected to grow from USD 44.6 billion in 2018 to USD 97.6 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.0% during the forecast period.”
CIOs across the industries are busy working with multiple cloud providers, essentially to retain what works and what to improve across the organization’s Cloud estate. One of the fundamental decisions they need to make is how to balance the on-site, remote, public, and private elements of that combination. CIOs need to derive a strategy to adopt emerging technologies to provide more business value than before.
In addition, the CIO’s security concerns regarding the adoption of public cloud providers are going down while the concerns regarding vendor lock-in are trending up. The organization does not want to put all its eggs in one cloud provider’s basket, to minimize the huge dependency.
The major factors that CIO’s need to consider before promoting a hybrid multi-cloud model across the organization are:
- Do organizations have the right business culture to embrace rapid change
- What value the hybrid cloud brings to organization business
- Will it help organization to lower costs, improve processes and better manage security
- Organization readiness for New Service Model
- Organization capability to address change management in moving to a hybrid cloud adoption while maintaining business continuity
- Do organization has proper use cases for hybrid cloud adoption. For example usage of packaged applications, disaster recovery set up across multiple geographies, etc.
- Volume of requirement for new application development on existing architectures, development of next-generation applications
Hybrid multi-cloud addresses all the above CIO’s concerns. Hybrid cloud is one of the quick solution to address Agility and Speed in terms of choosing the right workload for the right environment.
Hybrid multi-cloud is not a product or software service. It is an approach to cloud computing that includes a combination of private cloud, public cloud and/or on-premise environment. The combination may include infrastructure, virtualization, bare-metal servers and/or containers.
The hybrid multi-cloud approach is the key solution for organizations looking for cloud migration, managing dynamic workloads, application development acceleration, containerization of workloads, Microservices adoption, and portability of services across multiple cloud platforms.
Components of Hybrid Multi-Cloud
Hybrid multi-cloud is a mixed connected model of two or more models like on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud that helps enterprises to distribute their applications and manage workloads across multiple environments to provide availability, resiliency and flexibility while choosing the best model for a given application where the most business benefits are realized.
All these applications are connected over the internet using secure protocols, virtual private networks, or even wide-area networks. The typical components of the hybrid multi-cloud architecture is depicted below,
Fig 1: Components of Hybrid Multi-Cloud Environment
Key Considerations for Adoption of Hybrid Multi-Cloud
Hybrid multi-cloud plays a key role in increasing the speed of delivery of IT resources to end-users, improving disaster recovery capabilities, and for better resource utilization. Some of the key considerations for the hybrid multi-cloud adoption are,
- Visibility of Current State: Assess the current application landscape and infrastructure across the organization to decide on the cloud migration. Complete application portfolio analysis of the organization needs to perform to decide on cloud adoption.
- Rate of Cloud Adoption: Big bang approach is not going to fly. Based on the criticality of the applications the decision on the movement on the cloud Vs timelines needs to be decided. The factors that decide on the rate of cloud adoption are, complexity of the application, data requirements, regulatory and compliance needs, modernization prerequisites, cost implications, real-time requirements etc.
- Portfolio Rationalization: Identify the business functions and the applications that are catering to these business capabilities. Re-engineer these business functions based on industry trends and Merger/acquisitions. Identify the redundant functionality across the applications and rationalize them before moving on to the Hybrid cloud.
- Application Migration: Applications can be migrated “To and from” the data center and cloud using Hybrid Cloud model. Identify the applications that need to remain on-premise, or move to private or public cloud. This migration can be temporary or permanent depending on the enterprise strategy of migration.
- Nature of Applications: Applications that change frequently need to be moved to the cloud to leverage automated deployment through the adoption of DevOps. Applications that handle sensitive data to be best-retained on-premise. Applications with very high scalability requirements because of varied user load seasonal or timely are ideal to be hosted on the public/private cloud
- Selection of Environments: Public cloud environments are cloud service providers that may not provide the specialized hardware/application components and thus are not a viable option to move the application to the cloud. The core idea is to choose the best environment for the application to run to deliver the functionality at the most optimal cost and effort
- Integration Strategy: Need for connecting back the applications to historical data that resides on the on-premise servers still exist, even though the migration to cloud happens. Various diverse integration patterns emerge as part of modernizing the applications, handing a multitude of data sources covering structured and unstructured data. All these activities demand the refinement of integration strategy to be followed by the Hybrid cloud across the Organization.
- Regulatory Requirements: Applications requiring regulatory and compliance requirements demand some of the applications/data to reside on-premise. This requires deeper due diligence to select the right candidates for Hybrid cloud and the right hosting option for the application.
- Containerization: Containerizing the applications would help in making the application cloud-agnostic and move across public, private, and on-premises clouds. Containers and Microservices go together complementary. Microservices and containerization of these services deployed under hybrid cloud environment.
- Cloud Interoperability: Integration between several cloud offerings across multiple cloud service providers and cloud types is the key consideration for the success of the hybrid multi-cloud adoption.
Drivers of Hybrid Multi-Cloud Adoption
Based on author’s interactions with various customers, the following are the drivers for the hybrid multi-cloud adoption by any enterprise:
- Pace of Cloud adoption, move applications to cloud at their own speed owing to different factors like complexity of the application, data requirements, regulatory and compliance needs, modernization prerequisites, cost implications, real-time requirements etc
- Best of Breed Environments, choose the best environment for the applications requiring special hardware to run and deliver the functionality at the most optimal cost and effort
- Security and Regulatory Requirements, applications requiring jurisdictional provisioning, regulatory and compliance requires deeper due diligence to select the right candidates for cloud and the right hosting option for the application
- Complex Integrations, applications with high integration may require the applications to be collocated to deliver the best experience. Point of delivery applications might be deployed on specialized hardware systems or integrated with machinery which requires applications to be hosted on-premise
- Seasonal Requirements, applications requiring short seasonal capacity requirements to handle the spike may employ cloud services to handle the additional load for a short period and avoid capital investments
- High Availability, applications could be redundantly deployed for high availability across many cloud types to provide business process continuity and disaster recovery
- Single Pane, Single view of all the applications across clouds are a must to ensure effective governance, management of application, data, security, and costs. Common process across all environments is mandated to ensure the homogeneity
Hybrid Multi-Cloud Management Model
The hybrid multi-cloud adoption management model is depicted in the diagram below:
Fig 2: Hybrid Multi-Cloud Management Model
The key components of the hybrid multi-cloud management model are:
Identify the Applications: As a first step, categorize the applications that run on the hybrid cloud. The factors like storage, latency, application dependencies and operational complexity need to be considered to decide on the cloud adoption. Applications that change/evolve frequently are best moved to cloud to leverage automated deployment. Next step is to decide on the need for redesign or re-architect the application to use it in the cloud.
Integrated Enterprise Cloud Service Management Layer: This layer helps in handling all the service requirements, delivering and managing cloud services across the enterprise. The platform includes all the cloud platforms deployed by the enterprise including public cloud, private cloud, 3rd party hosted environments, and on-premise legacy data centers. The policies and frameworks address the interconnectivity and integrations across multiple cloud components.
Enterprise cloud management platform: It provides the provisioning of infrastructure components, platform services components, security and access management, and multi-cloud governance. This platform provides a self-service catalog for users that enable users to manage their services.
Enterprise Container Management Layer: Containerizing the solution makes the services cloud agnostic and platform agnostic. Containers provide a platform to run services which are easily portable, elastically scalable and resilient. The container platforms are now available as a service (CaaS) which are robust and highly available making a multi-region deployment possible easily.
Public Cloud: Public clouds offers the flexibility of deployment across multiple regions and for varying user loads. It typically has DMZ and Non-DMZ environments with perimeter security implemented through cloud-native services.
Enterprise Private Cloud: Enterprise private cloud addresses the safety, security, regulatory and compliance requirements of the enterprise. These are typically connected to the customer’s on-premise/hosted environments through secure dedicated lines to allow secure and faster communication between applications.
On-Premise Private Cloud: These are used to host applications that require a high degree of colocation, controlled access to data and environments, regulatory and compliance requirements.
Legacy Hardware: Applications requiring specialized hardware and point of delivery applications typically require them to be hosted on-premise. These applications might not look at scalability as the load is typically controlled and if in case required managed through vertical scaling of the environments.
SaaS Platforms: SaaS applications are typically consumed on a subscription as a service where the infrastructure, platform, security, application, data, and other concerns are addressed by the service provider and the enterprise would consume the services from the provider cloud.
Benefits of Hybrid Multi-Cloud Adoption
Hybrid Multi Cloud helps the Organization with increased flexibility to deliver IT resources, improved disaster recovery capabilities and lower IT capital expenses. The other benefits to the Organization are:
- Business Acceleration: helps in speed up business processes, support collaboration, and provide cost-effective solutions to free up IT budget for innovative, revenue-generating projects
- Cost Reduction: helps in reducing operating and capital costs and improves performance, productivity and business agility via a flexible, scalable solution. Organizations can choose the applications to move across the clouds and on premise based on their organization requirements
- Reliability: in this model, if one cloud goes down, some functionality will still be available to users from the other deployed clouds. Generally, one public cloud could be used as a backup to another cloud
- Risk Management: helps in mitigating risk with a single, unified, cybersecurity solution
- Manage Legacy Systems: Rather than replacing legacy systems, hybrid Cloud can bridge the gap between legacy and new, providing major cost savings
- Scalability: Applications can scale infinitely through adopting a hybrid multi-cloud strategy while keeping the core of the business and data secure through on-premises hosting
Hybrid multi-cloud has become the mainstream as more and more organizations are embracing it as a critical part of their IT strategy. The hybrid cloud approach is the key solution for organizations looking for cloud migration, dynamic workloads, application development acceleration, containerized workloads, Microservices adoption, and portability across multiple cloud platforms.
Hybrid multi-cloud adoption helps the organizations to lower the infrastructure footprint, improve security, increase resilience, zero downtime, and accelerate in time to market.
Therefore, hybrid multi-cloud is not just about delivering cost savings. It is about the Organization becoming more agile, efficient and productive. Organizations of any size can adopt a hybrid multi-cloud that helps in the cost-efficient delivery of the business.
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