What to Consider Before Transitioning to a Hybrid Cloud Setup
Bridging your cloud and dedicated servers will take time and effort, so it's important to make an informed decision on whether or not it’s the right strategy for you.
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Hybrid cloud setups are becoming more common, but this doesn’t mean that all businesses should migrate to this new setup. While there are some benefits to a hybrid cloud setup, such as having the ability to scale computing capacity on top of your dedicated hardware whenever needed, there are also various drawbacks that companies should carefully consider.
Setting up a hybrid cloud and actually bridging your cloud and dedicated servers will take time and effort, so making an informed decision on whether or not it’s the right strategy can save your company tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars both on new equipment and on recurring maintenance costs. Before you make any changes, be certain that you thoroughly understand your specific needs and the benefits that a hybrid cloud can bring.
What Type of Setup Does Your Business Need?
Most small to mid-size businesses can operate just fine utilizing only cloud servers. The computing power requirements for many SMBs are minimal and don’t fluctuate at levels that require large-scale capacity. On the other hand, if your company has completely dedicated hardware and struggles with hockey stick growth that requires massive computing resources, then it might be wise to start exploring hybrid setups now.
Larger enterprises with legacy systems may be better suited to use dedicated application servers and may only want to use cloud servers for extra compute power rather than for regular computing activity. That said, their computing needs are often quite predictable and will only change when major new needs are introduced. For these types of businesses, hybrids could be helpful but are certainly not necessary.
Fast-growing businesses that have existing hardware and experience dynamic fluctuations in computing needs coupled with exponential growth are the best fit for hybrid setups. Their frequent spikes in computing usage make it easy for them to benefit from the on-demand capabilities of a hybrid setup that can instantly switch from dedicated to cloud capacity in a matter of microseconds.
The Challenges of Working With Hybrid Setups
Hybrid cloud infrastructure is inherently more complex than a fully dedicated or fully cloud-based setup. The two are different in their ecosystems as well as in their maintenance requirements and in the skillsets and expertise they require. Having to double the support staff needed to maintain a hybrid is one of the biggest drawbacks of this setup.
Bringing dedicated servers into an environment that does not have the tooling to match the cloud counterpart means that it can't be solely maintained by a DevOps team, but rather by a systems operations team willing to build the tools that will work across the two server types. This is a prime example of how working in a hybrid cloud environment is extremely challenging and requires deep customization.
In a hybrid setup, cloud servers and dedicated servers must work together, yet are difficult to coordinate due to their complex individual structures. When mixing dedicated servers with cloud servers on the same network, you need parallel VPNs to make sure your data isn't being sent unencrypted via the internet and so that you always have a fallback in case you ever encounter a networking issue. Setting up these complicated security measures and fail safes require money and time, as it is crucial that you ensure all details of both server sections are working together smoothly.
Two Sets of Everything
When maintaining two separate but integrated server architectures, you need to ensure that you have support and fail safes for each. If one server architecture goes offline or runs into a problem, protocols and procedures must be in place to ensure that the issue doesn’t bleed over to the other server side.
When using a hybrid setup, you automatically make your company vulnerable to attacks from anywhere in the world. Two sets of security standards must be instituted and continuously monitored to ensure the safety of your information. A well-protected firewall between dedicated and cloud servers is a must so that people with malicious intent have no easy way of penetrating your physical servers if they ever gain access to your cloud servers.
Finally, monitoring system performance must be done for both dedicated and cloud servers. If capacity is reached on either one, the other could potentially be impacted as well. This is a very precarious scenario since most companies that use hybrid setups do so for the benefits of maintaining five-nines uptime for all their customers.
Hybrid setups are extremely costly and complicated to implement and maintain. Only companies with the unique needs of a hybrid setup should explore setting up this type of architecture. For smaller, more steadily growing companies, a hybrid setup is likely overkill. The additional costs that result from needing to ramp up your support teams far outweigh the benefits of a hybrid setup.
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