Hybrid cloud hosting is the strategy of hosting your assets in multiple different environments to get the benefits of each. The term is used to describe companies that combine onsite and cloud assets into a single network, and those that use of a multi-cloud strategy — particularly one harnessing both the public and private cloud. Hybrid cloud adoption can be used as a temporary bridging strategy to migrate ERP in multiple stages, or as a permanent solution.
Expert Insight: Matt Lonstine, Director of Delivery
If hybrid cloud hosting just meant using multiple cloud and onsite resources, it would apply to pretty much everyone. If a marketer pulls data from Salesforce, uses it to draft a report on their laptop in Microsoft Office 2016, emails a colleague for feedback on Gmail, and then uploads the finished draft to DropBox, they’re using at least three separate clouds and local laptop storage (not counting Salesforce integrations).
But as an enterprise strategy, hybrid hosting has a narrower meaning: the deliberate use of multiple hosting platforms for an ERP landscape. Environments like SAP HANA are highly customized, one-of-a-kind systems designed to meet the needs of a business and (all else being equal) should use as few clouds as possible to simplify hosting, integration and operation. However, there are use cases where a hybrid cloud environment can provide benefits over a single-cloud environment.
Who Is Using Hybrid Cloud Hosting?
It depends on how you define the term, but however you look at it, a multi-cloud strategy is the rule. According to the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud Survey, 85% of enterprises use a multiple cloud strategy, and most of them are using more than two. Enterprises in the cloud are actively running apps in 2.3 private clouds and 1.8 public clouds on average, and experimenting with another 2.1 private clouds and 1.8 public clouds.
RightScale defines hybrid cloud hosting as combining public and private clouds. As of 2017, 67% of companies are using that strategy. The stats on how companies combine onsite and cloud workloads are less clear. It’s apparent onsite hosting is shrinking, but still important. 79% of workloads run in the cloud, but that may under represent certain kinds of onsite hosting. As RightScale Notes, that number may include private cloud workloads running in “virtualized environments or bare-metal environments that have been ‘cloudified.’”
What are the Use Cases for Hybrid Cloud Hosting?
- Hybrid cloud adoption has historically been used in situations when companies operate multiple workloads with very different needs. For example, companies may keep mission-critical applications like ERP onsite or in a private cloud, while putting testing and development in a public cloud. This lets them use the high speed and reliability of an enterprise hosting environment to maintain system uptime and performance, while using a scalable, low cost cloud for less critical workloads.
- Hybrid cloud hosting also makes sense when companies need different types of clouds, like PaaS, SaaS and bare metal. For example, a company may want to harness the SAP Cloud Platform to develop a new IoT or big data project, while operating its own highly-tuned S/4HANA cloud on bare metal.
- Hybrid hosting is also useful in situations where companies need low latency and high throughput locally, but also want to harness the benefits of moving to the cloud, such as virtualization, predictable CapEx and better global integration. For example, a video production company might use a cloud to run business applications and integrate satellite offices into a single network, but need high speed access to work on big files and complex graphical processing. In that situation, they could use hybrid cloud hosting to store and process current projects locally, if a high speed data line weren’t practical.
- The hybrid cloud benefits companies undergoing complex migrations. Organizations can use hybrid cloud hosting as a bridging strategy, allowing them to more easily conduct a strategic, multi-phase migration.
How Does a Hybrid Cloud Bridging Strategy Work?
Many companies have decades of experience on highly customized onsite landscapes. They’ve invested heavily in hardware and software licenses, and may have created ad hoc code and applications to meet new business needs, accommodate legacy applications, or integrate multiple ERP landscapes into something that approximates a single, cohesive whole. They may have legacy silos that don’t play nice with the rest of the system, but need to be kept around for recordkeeping or compliance reasons.
Moving such a complex system to the cloud is a lot of work, to say the least. Your team may need to rework business processes, audit multiple sets of records for consistent formatting, do a Unicode conversion, and perform many other tasks, in addition to the standard SAP migration tasks. A good vendor can save time with SAP DMO and other tools, but it’s still a big project.
A hybrid cloud bridging strategy allows businesses to divide the migration into more manageable chunks, your partner can audit your landscape, and prioritize the assets that yield the most benefits from cloud migration. This controls costs and disruption, and allows you to use your SAP HANA migration more strategically. With hybrid cloud hosting, you can gain access to the HANA tools you need more quickly, get more use out of existing investments, and put off resource intensive projects that yield little benefit, such as migrating silos.
Most hybrid cloud hosting providers give little support for onsite IT. Particularly for legacy servers, it’s very difficult to find someone who will integrate your onsite servers into your cloud network, and even if you can, you’re still stuck running your own datacenter, which reduces the benefits of cloud services.
Symmetry’s enterprise cloud goes beyond providing a cloud component to your onsite IT. Instead, we provide a complete hybrid cloud solution. We’ll integrate your onsite and cloud assets into a single network, allowing users to make full use of onsite resources. We can provide onsite maintenance and assistance, or even truck your legacy servers over to our data center and run them, allowing you to harness the full benefits of the hybrid cloud much more quickly.
How Does the Next Generation Cloud Affect Hybrid Hosting?
Symmetry’s next generation cloud combines the benefits traditionally associated with the public cloud (cost control, scalability and automation) with private cloud benefits (security, stability, customizability and performance). In the next gen cloud, users can host traditional workloads alongside demanding workloads like SAP HANA, and meet the needs of developers in a highly secure environment.
This allows companies to consolidate their vendor portfolio, controlling complexity, risk and cost. With one provider responsible for everything, it’s easier to optimize your landscape, and if anything goes wrong, there’s one throat to choke.
In some cases, the next gen cloud eliminates the use case for hybrid cloud hosting entirely. In other cases (such as low latency applications), it allows you to harness hybrid cloud benefits more effectively and with fewer clouds.
What Can Symmetry’s Hybrid Cloud Hosting Do For Me?
Symmetry works with businesses across industries, providing a complete range of SAP and enterprise cloud services. We’re an extension of your team, helping you plan and implement a strategic solution tailored to your business and technical needs. Whether you’re looking to completely outsource your core IT, security and compliance needs, a technical partner to execute your SAP HANA migration, or just a little help with planning and project management, we’re the team for the job.
Contact us to learn how Symmetry can help you get the most out of hybrid cloud hosting.