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Amazon Web Services|Cloud Computing|Hybrid Cloud|Microsoft Azure

The Hybrid Cloud Becomes the New Norm

As businesses have been moving along the path toward modernization and digital transformation, there’s no doubt that they have been adopting the hybrid cloud in greater numbers. While cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft Azure would like nothing better than for businesses to move their entire infrastructure into the public cloud, that’s not a realistic option for most businesses.

There are hurdles in moving to the pure public cloud. First, not all applications are compatible with the cloud and not all vendors support their applications running in a cloud environment. Next, there is the issue of data migration. Your cloud-based VMs and applications need access to their data sources. You need to evaluate the data that might need to be moved to the cloud along with the storage costs for that data and the way it needs to be secured both at rest and in-transit. In addition, some businesses need to comply with geographical restrictions on the locality of their data. Finally, there is the issue of costs.

While the cloud can be a cost-effective option for storage and some applications, it can also have hidden costs and can wind up being more expensive than you originally planned. The cloud providers like Amazon and Azure do offer calculators to help you plan for cloud costs but these only provide estimates and your actual costs can be different – and in some cases more. Running your applications on the infrastructure that you already have can often be more cost-effective.

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Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.

Practical Hybrid Cloud Solutions

The hybrid cloud solves these problems and is a more practical solution for most businesses. A recent study by Gartner showed that 72% of enterprises have adopted a hybrid cloud strategy and there’s little doubt that the percentage will continue to grow. Gartner has further stated that they expect Hybrid IT to become the standard in 2019. There are several reasons for this but in the long run, the hybrid cloud is simply the most practical solution to today’s IT challenges.

The hybrid cloud offers the best of both worlds. It’s a great solution for new projects where you can leverage the advantages of the cloud while minimizing CapEx costs. The cloud can provide scalability and elasticity along with increased agility and flexibility. It’s great for new projects in particular because it reduces the effort IT needs to put out.

You don’t need to worry about lifting and shifting your existing apps and data from on-premise to the cloud. Hybrid cloud solutions enable you to maintain the control, security, and reliability of your local infrastructure. Using your own on-premise computing platforms is best when there are dynamic and unpredictable computing requirements as well as situations where you need direct control over your environment. Likewise, Edge implementations can enable you to provide far faster local response times while simultaneously reducing your internet bandwidth requirements.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Today businesses are using the hybrid cloud in a number of ways. It is being used to support office and remote branch office operations (ROBO), many business have begun using Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), hybrid cloud and Edge computing can effectively support IoT developments.

Many Microsoft servers like Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2017 have hybrid cloud features built-in. For instance, SQL Server is able to use the hybrid cloud as a backup target as well as stretch databases between on-premise storage and the cloud. Solutions like VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Solutions on Azure can blur the lines between on-premise and cloud implementations. Plus, many organization are beginning to adopt hybrid cloud storage systems that can automatically split hot and cold data between high-performance on-premise storage and lower-cost cloud storage.

There’s little doubt that the cloud changes the way businesses can solve problems and provides new ways for businesses to think about how they architect solutions. The hybrid cloud has become the new norm for most business today but you need to fully understand the technical and financial impacts before expanding your environment.


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Michael Otey is president of TECA, a technical content production, consulting and software development company in Portland,
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