8 Essential Best Practices for Building a Hybrid Cloud

If you’re looking to transform your business, look no further than the hybrid cloud. Pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy combines the computing control brought by a private cloud, with the flexibility achieved by the public cloud. The benefits to your business that can be derived from building a hybrid cloud depends on the amount of time and effort you put into designing, building, implementing, and monitoring your solution.

With that in mind, we’ve created a list of 8 Helpful Tips and Best Practices for building a Hybrid Cloud.

Assess Your Environment

The first step in any successful Hybrid Cloud implementation starts with an assessment of your current workloads and identifying what environments are a good match for Public Cloud, Private Cloud, and traditional IT.

hybrid_imgYour mission critical environments and most confidential data are NOT good choices for the Hybrid Cloud, and regulatory requirements may prevent you from considering Public Clouds entirely.

Seasonal workloads are a nice fit for the scalability that a Public Cloud provides, as well as handling peaks and troughs in web traffic, non-essential workloads, and applications with a short shelf life.

In other words, don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole.

Create Guidelines and Policies

There’s really no point in assessing your environment if you don’t then also document policies and guidelines for what applications and data can and should be placed on a private or public cloud.  

Performance and regulatory requirements, mission critical environments, geographic restrictions, and strategic core business applications are just some of the things to keep in mind as you create your rules of engagement.

Think Outside Your IT Box

A Hybrid Cloud solution opens your IT up to new capabilities and new technologies, so you must assess how these vast resources can help address the needs of your business without limiting yourself by how you currently do things.

This is a great opportunity to rethink your business processes and become more efficient as an IT organization.  Resist the temptation to migrate your current processes into a Hybrid solution, and instead think about how this new kind of environment can redefine and improve how your organization operates.

“Show Me The Money”

Let’s face it. You’re not considering a Hybrid Solution because you believe in IT diversity or think it would be fun to disrupt your currently stable environment. Reducing costs and improving performance is expected, so you need to think about the short term and long term cost savings and ROI.

The Hybrid Cloud offers a lot of opportunities to save your company money. Whether it’s the ability to expand capacity and performance when needed or augmenting your current IT team with additional management resources.

Look at short-term opportunities to save money and then be more strategic. Every future CAPEX expenditure for hardware should be scrutinized to see if a Public or Hybrid Cloud Solution would help reduce or eliminate those costs.

You’re basically moving your business from a CAPEX model to an OPEX model, which leads to our next topic.

Assess your IT Resources

Don’t get so caught up in the assessment of your environment and the technology that you forget about the human resources needed for implementation, migration, and management of your Hybrid Cloud.

Hybrid Clouds are very complex and require expertise across compliance, storage, networking, virtualization, and management.

It’s very unlikely that you’ll have the in-house resources needed to build a Hybrid Cloud, so you will have to rely on a trusted vendor or service provider to be part of your solution.

Forge a Strong Partner Relationship

An essential ingredient for any successful Hybrid Cloud solution is finding a trustworthy partner. A partner with proven experience implementing Hybrid Clouds.

Select a partner who meets your needs and who has the ability to help guide you through the process. Request customer references from those in the same industry and who are doing things similar to what you’re planning as part of your Hybrid Cloud solution.

Never Trust 100%, Always Monitor Your Public Cloud

Ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure that business processes and compliance requirements are being followed by your Public Cloud partner.

You need tools to manage and monitor your Hybrid Environment in real time. Discuss available options with your partner and test those management tools on non-essential environments before migrating any key environments.

Also, explore different options that allow encryption capabilities for any data hosted in the Public Cloud.

Implement Hybrid Cloud in Stages

The implementation of your Hybrid Cloud solution is the key to building trust with your executive management, end users, and even customers, so it’s not something to be done hastily.

If you don’t have experience building a Private Cloud, then start by building a Private Cloud first.

Take your time to select a few applications and workloads to get your feet wet in your Hybrid Cloud. This could be a good opportunity if you want to test two cloud providers against each other and then migrate to the one you like most.

Learn from your experiences and migrate additional workloads as you feel more comfortable and confident. The flexible nature of Hybrid Cloud allows you to continually modify and improve your processes until you’re satisfied.

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