To read our previous blog in this series that defined hybrid & multi Cloud computing, click here.
Although many Cloud services effectively deliver cost savings, their main value proposition is agility. Moving to a Cloud simply for the ‘perceived’ cost savings would be a missed opportunity (and feasibly incorrect). It would also be neglecting a large portion of the value that hybrid Cloud computing has to offer. Hybrid or multi Cloud computing is the best option for fast moving digital business transformation. For a business to keep itself competitive, adapting to the constant change and driving transformation is what’s required and is one of the most important benefits of a well-managed Cloud service. This is where the agility of a hybrid or multi Cloud computing infrastructure can truly help your business.
When looking at a hybrid or multi Cloud computing service, the primary driving factors and associated benefits to consider are speed, global scale, productivity, performance, reliability, and security:
The freedom that is available when it comes to hybrid or multi Cloud computing is frankly astonishing. Within minutes you can plan and provision exactly as much computing and storage that you require. By using a hybrid or multiple Cloud computing services, you will be able to benefit from two or more Cloud services to effectively provide all your IT computing needs. This benefit would be nothing without the infallible reliability that Cloud services can offer, with the right management. It is extremely important to ensure that not only is your data easy to reach, provision and manage, but that it is also backed up and protected from potential disaster regardless of its location.
An additional consideration is a term called ‘latency’. This refers to the time it takes for an application or process to complete following an instruction. A hybrid or multi cloud environment allows you to minimise latency by placing data and applications closer to the user – be that on premise or in the public Cloud.
The global scalability of hybrid & multi Cloud is one of the main reasons why Cloud services are so popular with many industries. A challenge with a private network or private cloud is the capital cost or investment required to build and manage the network or cloud. Prior to public cloud services an organisation could only grow their IT operations as fast as they could afford to acquire new infrastructure. Leveraging hybrid or multi cloud environments provides the best of both worlds. Incorporating and leveraging public Clouds alongside private Clouds allows companies of all sizes to compete on a more level playing field. The shared computing power available from the public Cloud service providers allows for your enterprise to share data and services across the globe while keeping private Cloud services active and secure in another Cloud.
A disadvantage of the public cloud is the possibility of higher operational expenditure (OPEX) than you currently incur with your on-premise IT environment. As you scale the cost per resource increases. It is imperative that you consider the hidden costs of the public component within your hybrid cloud strategy. These costs may not be obvious until you receive your cloud consumption invoice and may come as an unbudgeted shock which can be severe in certain cases. The costs can often be mitigated through careful design of your hybrid architecture and may include:
- Ingress Costs – the initial costs associated with moving data to a public cloud. These are often non-existent or very low. While the dollar costs are not so much of a consideration, time is. Data has gravity and is subject to the laws of physics. You can only move so much data from point A to point B in a given time period. The more you have the longer it will take…
- Egress Costs – be wary of costs associated with moving your data out from one provider to another. Your IT team may need to write new scripts which equals additional time, money and lost productivity. These costs can create a form of cloud provider lock-in that can be very difficult or expensive to break.
- Transaction Costs – it is not uncommon for a cloud provider to charge a nominal fee each time you access your data. On face value the costs may seem very small but as data volumes rise so can the costs – often dramatically.
- Consumption / Storage Costs – public cloud providers generally charge based upon the consumed or subscribed storage capacity and given that it is a shared public resource, the data management features & functionality are limited. Bringing enterprise data management capability to your hybrid cloud allows you to optimise and extend shared public cloud components. Cloud Volumes ONTAP is an example of a cloud data service that enables you to dramatically optimise your Public cloud storage costs and performance while enhancing data protection, security and compliance.
When we talk about the ‘agility’ that comes with using hybrid or multi Cloud computing, this often refers to how easy it is for the user to access the computing power and other services that come along with the Cloud services. By outsourcing the manual setup and maintenance of physical IT assets and equipment as well as digital maintenance and security, businesses can be left with extra productive time to invest in more pressing tasks, thereby increasing productivity tenfold. Public Clouds are often built with the best of the best equipment and software, with the most recent and effective updates, thus guaranteeing that your business will be running at top speed.
Hybrid or multi Cloud computing also provides a very helpful ability to separate the information and data that you want to be public and the data that you want to be private, as you have access to both a private and public Cloud. There are many occasions as a business that you might want to share the access to a public Cloud with a client or another branch of your organisation, without giving them access to some of your sensitive data. With a multi Cloud setup, you have the freedom to store only the relevant information with the public Cloud, while keeping your privileged data safe in your private Cloud ‘next to’ a public Cloud. Public Clouds are fundamentally more open environments than private Clouds and this can make them more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data leakage, although this can be mitigated with a well thought out hybrid Cloud architecture.
Finally, the core of many of these processes and why they work: control. Having control over where your data is and how it is being managed is an invaluable tool when managing your infrastructure. By leaving yourself in control and not entrusting all aspects of the business over to a third-party IT company will allow you to tightly rein in critical and sensitive workloads by keeping them at the private end of a hybrid or multi Cloud environment. It also allows for your data and workloads to be kept secure, without being subject to a potential loss of service, changes in terms and conditions or the lack of control and security more apparent in public Clouds.