Hybrid Cloud Strategies for Enterprise IT Teams

October 9, 2020

If there is anything that this year has taught us, it’s that today’s enterprises need to be agile and equipped for anything. The same goes for their IT infrastructure. Recently, spikes in demand caused by COVID-19 have driven many organizations to build out public clouds. In fact, McKinsey’s 2018 IT as a Service (ITaaS) Survey found that by 2021, about 35% of all enterprise workloads will be on the public cloud. 

On the other hand, 65% of workloads will continue to be hosted in a private data center to safeguard sensitive intellectual property, manage legacy systems and the perceived need for control over security and regulatory requirements. But how can enterprises achieve the best of both worlds? Enter hybrid cloud.

Hybrid cloud is IT infrastructure that connects at least one public cloud and at least one private cloud and provides orchestration, management and application portability to create a single, flexible, optimal cloud infrastructure for running a company’s computing workloads. It is focused more on supporting the portability of workloads across all cloud environments and on automating the deployment of those workloads to the best cloud environment for a given business purpose. 

While hybrid cloud solutions are becoming increasingly essential for overall IT infrastructure, many organizations have done little to prepare for this approach. Attempting to figure out the best cybersecurity, governance and management can get complicated very quickly, so companies must implement a hybrid cloud strategy as they gear up for the future. For these reasons, it’s important to consider the following strategies to make the hybrid cloud journey as smooth as possible. 

Standardize where possible 

Hybrid cloud infrastructure allows the use of existing investments while providing the foundation for modernization. For heightened portability and flexibility, enterprises must build consistency into their architecture as they adopt a public cloud service. Today, many organizations extend the tools used on-premise to the public cloud. However, unless the toolset used on-premise is cloud-enabled with the ability to scale out and up using cloud-native technologies, the cloud’s value will be limited.

Instead, consider alternative solutions that allow for standardization between on-premise infrastructure and the public cloud. This includes solutions like identity and access management (IAM), networking, firewall management, security (IPS, IDS, WAF), common logging and monitoring processes, cost controls and the most common services necessary to operationalize the environments for both on-premise and public cloud environments. 

Automate, automate, automate!

Oftentimes, cloud operations changes require coordination across multiple teams, tools and complex interdependent processes that could take weeks to complete. IDC states that system administrators spend more than 33% of their time configuring, patching, provisioning, migrating and working on capacity planning. But with more time spent on these tedious tasks, the less time enterprise teams have to work on IT innovation. 

With automation, IT can significantly reduce approval cycles and operational trivialities within the hybrid cloud environment. This means fewer team members are tasked with resolving problems for both the cloud and on-premise infrastructure. Systems engineers should look to find the root cause of operational issues and put automation in place to reduce or eliminate these challenges from the start. This will save countless downstream hours for many people and headaches across the teams.

Provide substantial hybrid cloud training 

Managing a hybrid environment requires an increasingly diverse skill set. To address the rapidly evolving cloud landscape, modern IT teams should be well-versed in a wide range of technology expertise such as traditional network and OS technology to data security. However, IT also needs softer skills like knowledge of compliance regulations and vendor management skills.

Here are some tactics for helping IT get up to speed as enterprises work toward hybrid cloud deployment:

  • Conduct an assessment to identify where team members need more skill development
  • Create a virtual platform to share cloud resources, best practices and expertise
  • Provide practice areas and sandboxes where IT can build their knowledge
  • Encourage proof of concept and test cases before diving into the deep end of any technology or cloud platform

Hybrid cloud roadmap to drive your business forward 

Along with using the above strategies as a hybrid cloud roadmap, organizations should take hybrid IT and security very seriously to meet specific business needs. Managing a hybrid strategy with multiple public clouds and a private cloud environment requires a comprehensive cloud portfolio to help keep enterprises organized so they can focus on business innovation. Businesses should create a solution that not only supports current projects and workloads but also flexes to accommodate future opportunities. By adopting a cloud solution that takes specific requirements into consideration, organizations can feel confident in designing, building and delivering their hybrid cloud model to enable long-term business success. 

Derek Siler, Flexential Solutions Architect

Derek Siler

Flexential Solutions Architect

Derek has more than 15 years of experience designing and delivering integrated multicloud solutions for enterprise companies. He regularly works with clients throughout their IT transformations, helping power the next phase of their corporate growth.

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