How to make your hybrid cloud strategy a success. Key considerations
- Posted on November 28, 2023
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
With the costs of public cloud rising rapidly, there is plenty of talk that this year is the year of cloud repatriation. Businesses are moving away from ‘public cloud only’ and adopting a hybrid strategy. In its report FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Digital Infrastructure 2023 Predictions, IDC claims that those organisations that can best optimise multi-cloud and hybrid digital infrastructure environments “consistently realise higher levels of operational resiliency, security, revenue growth, and overall productivity at scale”.
The foundation of a hybrid cloud model is a combination of private cloud services, public cloud, and/or on-premise infrastructure. These platforms must be orchestrated to work together as seamlessly as possible and only frictionless hybrid models, where workloads can move between the interconnected environments, will deliver the holy grail that IDC claims businesses should aspire to achieve.
So how do you unleash the full potential of your hybrid cloud setup? I believe there are three key considerations that will empower you to have full control over your cloud environments. In a nutshell they are, workload portability, cloud adjacency and a ‘software defined everything’ approach.
Let’s take a look in more detail…
In the software world, workload portability means being able to execute a workload on different cloud platforms without the need to make significant changes to configuration. Portability plays a crucial role in hybrid cloud environments because it gives businesses the flexibility in choice they need to keep up with changing demands. Freedom to move your applications, workloads and data between different environments means being able to quickly scale resources, optimise costs and take advantage of the strengths offered by different platforms.
Portability also reduces reliance on any single provider and minimises vendor lock-in. When you have portability, you get to choose the cloud services and providers that work best for you. This choice can be based on factors like performance, feature set, data residency or other compliance requirements. Cost optimisation is also a big draw as portability means you can be strategic in placing your workloads where it makes the most financial sense.
Achieving portability in a hybrid cloud environment involves designing and implementing strategies both for the platform and the workloads that run on it that enable seamless movement across different cloud environments.
Enter Microsoft Azure’s comprehensive portfolio of services and platforms that enable you to build, deploy and operate a truly hybrid platform. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Azure Stack is the fact that those utilising Azure can achieve a hybrid cloud environment that delivers an Azure-consistent experience with uniformity across identity, security and management, data and application platforms. With Azure you can adapt, thrive and make the most of your multiple cloud environments, whilst minimising risk.
Now, let’s talk about cloud adjacency – the physical distance between those private and public cloud platform providers. Or the distance between the data you need to connect with - which might be your partners. Cloud adjacency is key to reducing latency and improving overall performance – because, to put it very simply, the physically closer your platforms are, the faster they will perform. So, for example, if you’re an energy provider and all your partners in that sector connect via Equinix as a hosting provider, leveraging Equinix to host private cloud services makes a lot of sense. Or, if you’re an Azure customer, you want to put your private cloud in locations as close to Microsoft’s Azure locations as possible.
Software defined everything
Managing components of a hybrid cloud setup can be a challenge. That’s where ‘software defined’ comes in. With the right tooling you can automate repetitive processes, like provisioning and configuring resources, scaling applications and managing data storage – streamlining these tasks and reducing manual effort.
Software defined also drives agility in the hybrid cloud by breaking the link between services and the underlying physical infrastructure. It’s about being able to reimagine, reconfigure and react to changes in the market. In a hybrid cloud environment, software defined compute, storage and networking allow you to deploy applications and services faster, respond to spikes in demands and optimise resource allocation with ease.
It's worth giving APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) a mention here. In a well architected hybrid platform, everything should be configurable using standards based APIs as they allow developers to programmatically interact with and control the various components and services. APIs provide a standardised way to access, manage and integrate resources and functionalities across different cloud platforms, on-premises infrastructure and third-party services.
The Microsoft Azure Stack provides not only a consistent environment, but also the APIs and management tools to allow businesses to build and deploy applications seamlessly across both public and private cloud environments. Microsoft’s offering, including Azure Stack and Azure Arc, all contribute to the success of a hybrid cloud strategy – by providing the tools, capabilities and support needed to seamlessly integrate your on-premises infrastructure with Microsoft Azure cloud.
Having partnered with HPE and Equinix to build our private cloud offering, Avanade’s already standardised all these concepts, to deliver unparalleled insight into designing, deploying and operating hybrid at scale.