What is a Hybrid Cloud?
February 11, 2021
What is a Hybrid Cloud? Definitions vary, as happens with any new IT concept. For some, the term “Hybrid Cloud” means an architecture that spans on-premises infrastructure and cloud deployment. We have embraced a broader, and in our view, more meaningful way of defining Hybrid Cloud.
For us, a Hybrid Cloud is agnostic in every technological sense of the word. It’s not about platforms and deployment choices. It’s about business outcomes. Hybrid Cloud focuses on business outcomes by connecting and extending clouds that enable data mobility, greater availability options and native Disaster Recovery.
Working with our clients, we create environments that reach across on-premises data centers, private cloud instances and multiple public clouds. This latter setup, where you link applications running on services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, is usually called “Multi-Cloud.” We include Multi-Cloud in Hybrid Cloud. Every kind of cloud and on-premises hosting is part of the story.
What follows is a comprehensive guide to NTT’s top insights that IT leaders need to know. These links allow you to jump to specific sections of the blog:
- Defining Hybrid Cloud
- Why Hybrid Cloud?
- Hybrid Cloud Use Cases
- Benefits of Hybrid Cloud
- Hybrid Cloud Architecture
- Hybrid Cloud Computing
- What is the Azure Hybrid Cloud?
- Managing SAP Hybrid Cloud
- Choosing a Hybrid Cloud Provider
With all the different variations and meanings of Hybrid Cloud, it’s important to find a common definition of what Hybrid Cloud really is. Ultimately, Hybrid Cloud is a strategy that architects IT infrastructure in any combination of Public and Private Cloud, on premise and off premise, physical and virtual. It’s meant to provide maximum flexibility for optimal performance, value, and scale.
While Hybrid Cloud can often be confused with similar terminology, such as multi-cloud, Hybrid IT, and Hybrid Storage, all of these are distinctly different. Multi-cloud, for instance, refers to hosting workloads in multiple Cloud providers’ infrastructure (e.g. AWS and Azure). Likewise, Hybrid IT regards mixing legacy systems, such as monolithic applications and mainframes. Lastly, Hybrid Storage implies a mix of spinning hard disks (HDDs) and flash solid state drivers (SSDs).
Overall, there are several variations of Hybrid Cloud that can be architected for your workload environment. Adopting Hybrid Cloud has mainly driven business flexibility, operational efficiency, and resiliency. Partnering with a cloud expert can help you maximize results and manage inevitable challenges like data security, compliance Cloud management, and more.
The role of Enterprise IT has shifted from technology service delivery to a more strategic role to further the interests of the business. Thus, rather than conforming your SAP landscape to one cloud paradigm or another, it’s a great practice to confirm the cloud to fit your business. In contrast, Multi-Cloud focuses on technology and platform. Most Enterprises already have services running in multiple clouds. This combination of infrastructure, geography and cloud providers is the foundation of Multi-Cloud deployments.
There are benefits to multi-cloud including cost optimization, geography and performance optimization by workload. However, Multi-Cloud architectures inherently creates silos, isolation and operational challenges. With our Hybrid Cloud, we are able to bridge these obstacles. You are able to host traditional workloads alongside demanding workloads. You can meet the needs of your developers in a highly secure environment.
To accomplish this, we treat on-premise, public and private deployments with the same shared backup and monitoring tool set. This takes the complexity that is created whenever deploying solutions in multi-cloud platforms. And where Multi-Cloud deployments speaks to leveraging multiple platforms (think infrastructure), we see Hybrid Cloud as how the services are delivered to maximize value and business outcomes by managing these multi-cloud deployments as a single environment (think orchestration and management).
Why Adopting A Hybrid Landscape is the Future
While Cloud solutions continue to grow, several companies still prefer to have mission critical resources onsite. Thus, Hybrid Cloud solutions are becoming increasingly popular because it combines on premise, Private and Public Clouds together for efficient cost and maximum performance.
One of the main reasons Hybrid Cloud adoption will only continue to increase is because Public Clouds still lack the stability, performance and support that mission critical applications need. On the other hand, Hybrid Clouds can help support enterprises’ complex workloads, as each workload benefits from different Clouds, as well as tailor hosting to their specific needs.
Overall, the Hybrid Cloud market is the future, growing around 71% each year. Thus, it’s important to determine which Clouds best fit your business’ needs. Having an experienced partner can help you build the right combination to maximize flexibility, stability and performance.
Companies tend go with hybrid deployments when they have multiple workloads with different needs. A company could run ERP or other critical apps on-premises or on a private cloud. Development and testing (Dev and Test) go to the public cloud. This way, the enterprise retains the speed and reliability advantages of their own data center for core business apps but realize the cost savings and flexibility benefits of the cloud for suitable workloads.
Hybrid Cloud aligns with a need for multiple types of clouds. An enterprise may require PaaS, SaaS and bare metal for its various workloads. Hybrid hosting also helps when an enterprise requires local low latency and high throughput while simultaneously leveraging cloud benefits like virtualization and manageable capital expense outflows (CapEx).
Many companies have complex workloads that require more than just one hosting model to leverage the various benefits each has to offer. That’s where multiple Cloud and onsite environments come into play. In fact, Hybrid Cloud adoption is only continuing to grow.
The Hybrid Cloud market offers several benefits, especially in providing cloud reliability and security. While Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and on premise IT all have their own advantages, enterprises may prefer to combine different Cloud options and onsite IT. This capitalizes on existing IT investments, while also supporting complex workloads that need it.
Therefore, the real question is not whether you should adopt Hybrid Cloud since it’s very likely you’re already in it. The question is which Clouds best fit your enterprise’s needs: Public, enterprise, or Private. Whether you have strategic legacy systems upgrades, latency-sensitive workloads, big data structures, or Cloud disaster recovery needs, Hybrid Cloud adoption can help solve these common issues.
Business Outcomes from Hybrid Cloud
The typical Hybrid Cloud hosting provider does not offer much support for on-premises IT assets. This is especially true for legacy systems. Our enterprise cloud goes beyond providing a cloud component to your on-premises IT. Rather, we offer a total Hybrid Cloud solution that integrates your onsite and cloud assets into a single network.
This allows your users to make complete use of on-premises resources. We can provide maintenance and assistance in your data center or even put your legacy servers on a truck and drive them over to be run in our data center. That way, you harness the full benefits of the Hybrid Cloud much more quickly. Business outcomes include:
- Agility – the ability to adapt your IT landscape quickly to changes in business structure and strategy
- Business Transformation – making it possible to create and implement new digital solutions that reimagine the customer experience and partner relationships
- Degree of Availability – giving users and partners worldwide reliable access to your SAP landscape, in support of Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
- Cost/Benefit – aligning investment and operational expense of your IT landscape with strategic execution, e.g. on-premises infrastructure assets where they make sense, public cloud where that’s logical, private cloud for specific use cases and so forth.
The right cloud architecture makes all the difference. Make sure that it not only compliments your in-house IT team, but also protects your landscape while optimizing performance. It’s crucial that your Hybrid Cloud architecture is designed for scale to provide high availability and business continuity among several locations. It should also support distributed workloads so that data can be shared and distributed suddenly from one area to another while retaining elasticity. Choosing the right kind of connectivity will also allow your workload to travel across various platforms easily. Lastly, consider your network options based on what’s run on premises and if your Cloud migration occurs all at once or in stages.
Overall, a solid architecture begins with best practices. You can also benefit by partnering with Hybrid Cloud hosting providers who can both design and build your custom architecture, as well as monitor the planning, in-progress, and operation stages of your Cloud migration.
Hybrid Cloud computing allows you to leverage a variety of benefits based on your role, and how you want to utilize your resources to optimize business performance.
When considering role-based opportunities in Hybrid Cloud, it’s important to note that they’re not black or white. For instance, you may need to access landscapes like DevOps around the clock more instead of turning down during off hours. Likewise, production environments may not always be suited in Private Cloud. In terms of product-based opportunities, CRM is gradually growing Cloud-based due to competitive advantage, security, scalability, and self-service. Lastly, Hybrid Cloud computing helps alleviate resource challenges by treating static and dynamic resource needs differently.
Overall, Hybrid Cloud computing offers many benefits that help maximize business performance. With the right managed hosting partner, you can determine a customized Hybrid Cloud strategy that offers solutions specific to your needs.
Microsoft has expanded its Azure hosting solutions to also include on premise and Hybrid Cloud environments through the Azure Stack. This allows businesses to maximize on premise investments, while also scaling and leveraging flexibility from the Public Cloud.
Azure has become an increasingly popular and competitive hosting option, catching up with AWS. Some of Azure’s main advantages are its easy integration with companies’ existing Microsoft software and its Hybrid Cloud support that allows workloads to be distributed. However, Hybrid Cloud is not always the right solution for all workloads or businesses since some may benefit most on premises or in Private Cloud.
Despite its many benefits, Azure Stack still has its limitations. For instance, there are constraints with shifting your data and resources in response to different conditions, limiting you to the infrastructure and controls you originally set up. Likewise, Azure Hybrid Cloud may help you have the right tools in place, but it doesn’t change the complexity of maintaining a reliable landscape. Having the right Cloud partner to help you monitor your landscape will help your business achieve its specific needs and goals.
The shift to Hybrid Cloud management is evident for many reasons. Companies are facing mixed workload requirements that require both on premises and the Cloud, security and compliance needs that still rely on on-premises cases besides the Cloud, and time constraints with Cloud migration that require workloads to be moved in increments and to run on Hybrid Cloud.
While managing Hybrid Cloud, it’s crucial to consider these five best practices: establishing governance that has clear guidelines, managing for appropriate performance by considering components like compute and memory, network, and performance monitoring and alerts, architecting for security in the Cloud, and analyzing and optimizing costs while moving workloads to the Cloud.
Hybrid Cloud offers companies flexibility and the ability to leverage benefits from both Private and Public Cloud. However, managing Hybrid Cloud can be complex. That’s why taking these five best practices into consideration can help alleviate some of that complexity and optimize your business performance.
Besides assessing what environment best suits your workloads, it’s crucial that your cloud provider leverages the right strategy, timing, and preference based on your business needs. You also want a Hybrid Cloud provider that treats your mission-critical solutions the same regardless of the underlying infrastructure. Therefore, find a provider that assesses your individualized business and technology needs to create a focused Hybrid Cloud strategy.
What strategy do you want to achieve through your Hybrid Cloud provider? Some businesses may want to decentralize their database to minimize risks, validate an existing Cloud migration, or consolidate Public Cloud assets to increase efficiency. Assessing your specific strategy will help your provider meet your specific business needs.
It’s also important to consider your migration strategy when selecting a your cloud provider. For instance, identifying events that you’re planning for, considering your business IT’s priorities, and examining third-party support needs for migration of a highly customized environment are all key things to examine in creating a custom Hybrid Cloud solution for your business.
What Can Hybrid Cloud Hosting Do for Me?
Our next generation cloud combines the cost control, scalability and automation traditionally associated with the public cloud, but with the security, stability, customizability and performance of a private cloud. The end result is the ability to consolidate your vendor portfolio, controlling complexity, risk and cost. It’s easier to optimize your landscape when one provider is responsible for everything. Support is simpler, too. In some cases, the next generation cloud eliminates the use case for Hybrid Cloud hosting entirely.
In addition to workloads, we work with you to devise and implement a hybrid cloud that addresses the most important requirements for this kind of architecture:
- Latency – application responsiveness and performance are often critical, but not in every case. Our approach balances your need for low latency with budgetary concerns, investing in low latency where you need it most.
- Location – With performance, data sovereignty and compliance issues in mind, it’s essential to be able to locate your assets deliberately, based on our unique needs.
- Capacity and elasticity – Your hybrid cloud architecture should give you the capacity you need, when you need it. Depending on the workload, your capacity needs might be relatively fixed. Alternatively, you might need a high level of elasticity, such as might occur in a seasonal business.
We function as an extension of your team, helping you plan and implement a strategic solution unique to your business and technical requirements. We deploy a standardized toolset that includes functions for backup, monitoring and incident management. Data mobility is our guiding design principle. We treat public cloud like a private cloud.
Contact us to learn how we can help you get the most out of Hybrid Cloud hosting.