How to Define Your Multicloud Strategy by Jérôme Totel, VP Products DATA4
According to IDC, by 2021, revenues generated by the hybrid cloud industry should be as high as 68.8 billion dollars, equivalent to an annual average growth of 20%. Nevertheless, companies are still quite reluctant to move to the hybrid cloud, most of them simply because they are not aware of what it could provide them in concrete terms. Let’s have a look at the hybrid cloud’s added value and the questions you must ask to choose the most suitable cloud strategy for your needs.
What is the hybrid cloud?
Before anything else, I should explain what the hybrid cloud is. The definition most commonly used is as follows: this is a combination between services hosted in the private cloud (hosted in private data centers or in colocation) and in the public cloud. Each hosting solution gives specific advantages, in terms of either security, flexibility or accessibility. But the hybrid cloud necessarily involves data centers, the cornerstone of the system. Connectivity, security and the physical location of your data depend on your hosting solution. Let’s take a look together at the challenges to consider for building a winning hybrid cloud strategy.
What are my needs?
Before starting, the company must clearly define its needs and objectives. The private cloud and the public cloud both offer specific advantages. The hybrid cloud combines the best of both worlds, but it must above all meet the company’s expectations: security, regulatory compliance and data location, ease of access (if necessary), buying services in “as-a-Service” mode (e.g. buying Storage as a Service to outsource the management of storage equipment), outsourcing of physical infrastructure management, having the option of occasionally extending virtual machine resources, etc.
Why migrate to the hybrid cloud?
By combining the strengths of public and private clouds, the hybrid cloud provides you with optimum flexibility while guaranteeing a suitable level of security. Furthermore, the hybrid cloud also offers better cost control, enabling the client to only pay for the resources and services they need and use. Naturally, this involves the client also taking responsibility, insofar as they must pay for each machine reservation, even if it does not get used should they forget, for example.
A company has the option to only use certain services and only deploy certain “workloads”, selected upstream, in the cloud. In parallel, this same company can also deploy other “workloads”, such as Web servers, databases and test environments, in a public cloud. This may be especially useful if the life cycle of these workloads is quite limited. They may be easily deleted.
What are the hybrid cloud’s limits?
Before launching into a multicloud strategy, it is important to also be aware of this model’s constraints and ensure that it is relevant to your company and that you have sufficient skills and capacities to adopt and maintain it.
The hybrid cloud may be difficult to implement. This is also the reason why, most of the time, companies outsource this task to specialist partners. A connection between the public cloud and the private cloud is essential: there must be a clear policy on the network.
Furthermore, hybrid clouds must be constantly monitored and require additional investment, particularly in terms of security and connectivity.
How do you define your multicloud strategy?
Creating a map of your information system
You must meticulously study your applications and other databases, then ask what the necessary, acceptable transit times are so that the applications work properly, but also define the service levels that you want to deliver to end clients for each application, whether internal or external. This stage also consists in distributing the applications between the public and private cloud, also taking into account the security aspects and other regulations in effect (GDPR, PSD2, etc.).
Defining your public cloud strategy
The client will send certain applications/data to a public cloud because it will meet certain requirements (latency time, shared platforms, resource sharing, etc.) and everything that they do not want to find in a public cloud will be sent to a private cloud, also with the aim of meeting precise needs (performance, reliability, security, etc.)
Choosing the interconnection solution between 2 worlds
Solutions must be reliable to be certain that the application works correctly.
For example, some solutions enable you to connect a public cloud platform (Amazon, Microsoft, etc.) to the private cloud platform using a private link, without going via the Internet and with a short latency time.
In defining their network strategy, the client must choose the speed of the physical port to connect to the public cloud, the CSP (Cloud Service Provider) platform of their choice and their geographical location, as well as the speed allocated to each CSP and a redundant solution to guarantee service continuity in case the main link is cut off.
Do not undervalue public cloud offerings
The public cloud suffers from quite a negative image, insofar as companies, like consumers, perceive it as the ugly duckling, mainly in terms of data protection and platform reliability. Let’s be clear: the data center provided is the same and the features and guarantees are also the same. However, the platforms are shared. The public cloud is not put aside or underestimated, it receives the same treatment as the private cloud in terms of data center infrastructure.
The cloud services provider establishes its own physical security
The CSP manages the infrastructure from A to Z so that the client can dedicate their time and related business applications to the growth of their business. The IT teams can therefore refocus on other value-added activities to ensure the company’s good health, without worrying about the operational management of the cloud service selected.
The hybrid cloud has many advantages, but the company can only benefit from them if it takes pains to set up this new infrastructure properly using the right partners and solutions.
There is no lack of service providers in France, which is a real innovation hub, and companies must learn to sort through them and approach the appropriate ones to meet their specific needs.
Jérôme Totel is Vice-President – Products & Business Development at DATA4.