Hybrid cloud hosting is as much a strategy as a service. Every hosting model has its benefits and drawbacks, and a single environment is often inadequate for a complex workload. As the public cloud continues to mature and evolve, hybrid cloud adoption may decrease, but there will always be some use cases where multiple cloud and onsite environments are the best option.
Hybrid cloud adoption is accelerating.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the hybrid cloud market is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 27%, and is expected to be an $85 billion market by 2019. One reason is increasing confidence in the reliability of the cloud. Enterprise cloud and managed private cloud services can often provide better stability and security than both public cloud and on-premise IT, and organizations that were once leery of shifting mission-critical resources offsite are now planning complete cloud migrations.
However, many enterprises prefer to combine cloud and onsite IT, either to make the most of existing IT investments, or because their workloads require it. Others adopt different clouds for different purposes, finding hybrid cloud adoption more competitive than committing to a single environment.
Is the hybrid cloud right for me?
You’re already in the hybrid cloud. Your email, file storage and productivity suites likely each have their own clouds, separate from your ERP hosting environment. A better question is, what clouds fit your needs?
There are three main types of clouds: public, enterprise and private. In the public cloud (also known as the commodity cloud), tenants share hardware. This minimizes costs, and allows organizations to scale up quickly and efficiently, and works very well for a special project or to meet a demand surge.
However, public cloud reliability is still an issue. Outages, hardware failures and slowdowns make it unsuitable for mission critical IT infrastructure. Additionally, the commodity cloud comes with little support, which undermines the cost benefits by forcing organizations to design, provision and run their landscapes.
The enterprise cloud provides better support, more control over hardware and workloads and SLAs to ensure reliable and consistent ERP performance. Enterprise cloud services also support internal IT, allowing them to work on strategic projects rather than doing double or triple duty as admins and IT security.
The private cloud adds control over hardware and workloads, physical and logical isolation from other tenants, and comprehensive IT managed services. In a managed private cloud, organizations can get out of the IT business altogether, outsourcing the provisioning, security and running of their infrastructure.
In hybrid cloud best practices, the simplest solution is usually the best. SMBs are often served well by a single cloud environment. But as organizations grow, they have to deal with technical considerations, including:
- Complex and demanding workloads
- Multiple offices across a wide geographical area
- Increased security and compliance needs
- Unpredictable IT costs
In most cases, hybrid cloud adoption is part of the solution. Here are some of the most common use cases:
- Hybrid cloud adoption supports strategic upgrades of legacy systems. Moving to the cloud all at once can certainly produce a quick ROI. An SAP HANA® migration, for example, can save an organization $150,000 or more in the first three years and eliminate unpredictable costs of on-premise maintenance — with carefully scheduled downtime to minimize disruption.However, established organizations may prefer a multi-phase migration to get the most out of existing IT investments, or may simply want to test the water before committing fully to the cloud. Hybrid cloud adoption serves as a bridging strategy, allowing them to move to the cloud one piece at a time.
For companies with legacy systems, this choice is particularly appealing. Silos may have inconsistent or improperly formatted records, making migration a substantial undertaking. A hybrid cloud strategy allows them to upgrade core cloud and IT infrastructure and leave low-priority systems for a later date. With Symmetry, you can even move your legacy infrastructure to our secure data center, removing the costs and burden of onsite hosting.
- The hybrid cloud benefits latency-sensitive workloads. Networking is often a limiting factor in accessing cloud data. Companies that work on very large files, or use a lot of bandwidth may suffer latency issues as they wait for data to download onto local workstations.Dedicated on-premise storage is one option, but it may not be ideal — especially for organizations with multiple offices. Connecting everyone to the cloud is going to be far cheaper and simpler than cloning the database across multiple onsite datacenters.
Hybrid cloud adoption can reduce latency, combining cloud hosting and limited onsite infrastructure can control latency, cost and complexity. Files from active projects are stored onsite for quick access, and synchronized with the cloud database. A dedicated data line may also be warranted to further reduce latency.
- Hybrid cloud adoption facilitates big data. In spite of performance issues, the public cloud’s scalability can be a powerful asset for big data. Hybrid cloud adoption allows companies to host big data in a scalable public cloud, while keeping core ERP in a private or enterprise cloud. For example, structured data can stay in an enterprise SAP HANA cloud, while unstructured data resides in HADOOP in the public cloud. This maintains ERP performance, while controlling costs for inconsistent workloads.
- Everyone benefits from cloud disaster recovery. Traditional cold-site disaster recovery is unattractive. In an emergency, techs need to go to a remote location, get ahold of servers and other infrastructure, and spend days or weeks getting things running — a process that costs a fortune in time, equipment and lost productivity. Hot-site DR and high availability systems are quicker, but too costly for most organizations.Hybrid cloud adoption allows companies to leverage next generation enterprise cloud disaster recovery at substantially lower cost. A managed services provider maintains a dedicated backup site, tailored to your RTO and RPO In an emergency, the MSP executes a quick rollover, allowing your staff to focus on getting the business running again. Whether you use on-premise or cloud ERP, a separate DR cloud is almost always the best choice.
When is hybrid cloud adoption a poor choice?
- The hybrid cloud benefits of scaling are overstated. In many cases, a managed cloud is a better solution. An IT managed services provider can provision for quick scale-up to meet demand surges, as well as long-term ERP growth.This is particularly true when SLAs and hardware configuration are crucial, such as in an SAP HANA cloud. Our Karma Automotive SAP S/4HANA case study is a great example. We were able to break the HANA size limit, building Karma a cloud that can scale up to 12 TB — something that would not have been practical in a hybrid hosting environment.
- Hybrid cloud adoption may not fit your security needs. When security and compliance are paramount, moving sensitive data between onsite and the cloud, or within multiple clouds poses additional security risks. Symmetry’s managed private cloud provides physical and logical separation for PCI data or other tightly-regulated information, and houses servers within a secure data center, preventing breaches and noncompliance.
- Time sensitive data transfers won’t benefit from a hybrid cloud. If you need to quickly access information from storage, the hybrid cloud is your friend. However, there are no hybrid cloud benefits where information has to be sent and received with low latency. In that situation, you want dedicated data lines combined with high performance cloud or onsite hosting.
Hybrid cloud adoption is a complex, strategic process.
Businesses need to carefully consider their goals, computing needs, resources, and many other factors. It’s complicated, and often involves trade-offs with significant strategic impact.
Symmetry has the expertise to help evaluate your needs and design the right custom hybrid cloud solution for your business. Whether you’re looking to bridge the transition to the cloud, supplement onsite IT with cloud resources or completely outsource IT, we can provide the infrastructure and expertise to realize your vision.
Learn more with our free moving to the cloud guide.