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Hybrid cloud is an increasingly popular strategy for organisations of every hue. According to a recent survey, 72% of respondents put their cloud strategy as being hybrid first. Hybrid cloud offers businesses the best of both worlds: the security, data control and reliability of the private cloud combined with the flexibility, elasticity, cost-effectiveness, and scalability of the public cloud.

To retain all those benefits, every business needs to think strategically about which cloud environment you need to host each of your key workloads and applications, to ensure they perform optimally and with the most efficiency.

Before getting started, it’s essential to look at your current IT environment and see which applications and data needs modernising before embarking on a hybrid-first strategy. This will give you a much more solid foundation for your hybrid cloud infrastructure – and it means you are more likely to meet your overall business objectives and keep costs under control.

This process will help you decide where to locate your workloads. Some might need to be retired, others might not be cloud compatible or are too difficult to migrate. Where data privacy compliance and security are critical to workloads, you’ll most likely want to keep them on on-premise equipment.

Take time to judge priorities

For the most effective use of your cloud environment and deciding what needs to be migrated, the best practice approach is prioritisation. Consider the following when assessing workloads and applications:

  • Do they need to be accessible off- or on-site?
  • How many users are accessing critical applications
  • Are there compliance regulations around the location of my data?
  • Do they need to be capable of rapid escalation?
  • How often is each workload and application accessed?
  • Are large volumes of data storage needed?

Hybrid cloud management can be a complex activity. Investing time into finding the right tools is the next step to easily manage all systems across your entire estate – for private and public cloud as well as your data centre or on-premise environment. It’s best to deploy a tool that’s suited to multi-cloud environments with one single pane of glass to manage your infrastructure. This supports your ability to standardise workload processes and ease deployment over your private and public cloud setups.

Visibility of performance across the board is vital to gain the most benefits of hybrid cloud deployments as workloads shift between public and private clouds. Cloud performance could be affected in numerous ways, such as network bandwidth or connectivity issues that limit application performance, server configuration errors or being able to scale user capacity when application loads have reached their limit.

Keeping cloud costs down requires constant usage monitoring and data analysis to spot usage patterns. This gives a better picture of the time it takes to handle errors or system failures, manage security, and ensure overall systems reliability. Consistent performance analysis is the best route to ensure the best value for money by ensuring your hybrid architecture runs efficiently and at the lowest cost possible.

Hybrid gives you options and agility

Using a hybrid cloud model brings with it increased resource options as well as the inherent agility and scalability that an on-premise data centre cannot provide alone. To maximise resource efficiencies when demand exceeds compute capacity, being able to automatically shift loads, or ‘burst’ into the public cloud is key.

Cloud bursting means an organisation can provision resources exactly when needed and only pay for what they use during specific timescales. Once set up with the necessary regulatory, security and compliance measures in place, businesses benefit from increased flexibility, can handle traffic surges easily and can better support disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

Switching spend from one environment to another as required gives organisations much more control over how and when they use resources. Workloads can be easily migrated when it makes sense, and when it’s most cost-effective to do so.

Hybrid cloud does not need to be complex, as long as you can achieve the right balance of understanding workload demands, remaining compliant and using the right tools to monitor and optimise performance.

The future is hybrid, and with it comes the potential to deliver the best of all possible worlds and make you ready for any business challenge.

Find out more about how we can support your hybrid cloud journey.