If you think multi-cloud applications are already very flexible, wait until you really explore the advantages offered by hybrid multi-cloud. Hybrid multi-cloud, or simply hybrid cloud, combines cloud computing resources with on-premises infrastructure. There are a lot of reasons why the hybrid cloud is highly beneficial.
When you have a lot of data to process, for instance, relying on a hybrid cloud environment provides the best balance between performance and flexibility. In specific applications such as vision AI, the hybrid cloud lets users benefit from real-time, on-premises processing while keeping the system open and flexible enough using the cloud.
Finding that balance is the real challenge. While cloud computing is now highly available, entry barriers to on-premises deployments are still relatively high. Even the concept of the hybrid cloud itself is a difficult one to define. In this article, we are going to discuss how to find a balance between on-premises solutions and cloud services.
Why Hybrid Cloud?
The first thing you need to do in order to balance infrastructure on-premises with cloud services is defining why you need to implement a hybrid cloud in the first place. Identifying the objectives of utilizing a hybrid cloud and making sure that the implementation matches business objectives are the first steps to take in this process.
“Why?” is still the big question here, but it is far from the only question. You also have to ask yourself about the key objectives to achieve as well as the anticipated benefits to aim for. Further identification of solutions and applications you want to run in a hybrid architecture will also reveal how to best approach the implementation.
More importantly, you need to gather specific requirements before moving forward. In some situations, transitioning to a multi-cloud environment—instead of a hybrid one—is the better solution. You still benefit from the specifically tuned cloud resources and close proximity, but without having to invest in on-premises hardware.
Matching Workload with the Right Service Cloud Platforms
Once business and implementation objectives are defined—and you have the necessary information about your needs and the solutions you will be running—the next part of the process is justifying the investment in a running a cloud environment. This is where considering the workload of your solutions becomes a necessity. Typically, a hybrid solution becomes the simplest solution for those already operating on-premises because it can be too complex to migrate everything to the cloud.
On-premises servers and other supporting hardware are more suited for real-time applications. On-premises solutions are also needed when a private and secure environment is a requirement. Not all applications work well when run on-premises, so you have to make sure that factors like availability, scalability, and even location or geography are taken into account.
Cost is also a big factor to take into account. Compare the workload that will be handled by a hybrid cloud with the cost of creating the environment. You should consider not only the hardware and service costs of the hybrid environment but also the cost of migrating to the new environment (i.e. whether there are downtimes to anticipate).
The last part of the equation is skill. In order to match workload with the hybrid cloud ecosystem, you need to make sure that all server administrators and DevOps specialists are capable of managing both on-premises and cloud clusters. This completes the puzzle and allows you to plan for the migration to a hybrid cloud in great detail.
Making the Transition to a Hybrid Cloud
Actually making the transition to a hybrid cloud environment is a lot less painful when the previous factors—and the planning stage—are considered thoroughly. You can assess your readiness to implement a hybrid cloud in a holistic way.
There are a lot of approaches to take in this implementation process, but the easiest way to start is by setting a cut-off time. Any new solution implemented after the cut-off time needs to be defined as either an on-premises solution or a cloud solution based on a predetermined set of factors.
Integrating on-premises clusters with cloud services is the easy part. If you are using resources provided by cloud service providers such as Amazon, you will have ready-made tools to use. For example, you can immediately use AWS Outposts to integrate APIs, management tools, AWS infrastructure, and cloud services in general with on-premises hardware.
Using AWS outposts, you can manage everything from identity and access management using the native tools of AWS. On-premises solutions can use Amazon RDS as a database source or have RDS implemented in VMs on-premises with easy integration and centralized management.
This type of implementation also allows the integration of edge computing devices, which means IoT devices, sensors, and other lite computing tools can also be integrated into the hybrid cloud environment. All elements remain scalable and easy to manage.
The environment provides the perfect ingredients for running apps and solutions in a scalable way. At this point, you can begin dividing solutions and apps based on their workload. All high-workload apps can be kept on-premises. Applications like data processing, on the other hand, can be moved to the cloud.
There will be special cases to deal with as you transition from on-premises clusters to hybrid. For example, you may be governed by data security regulations where on-premises data storage is mandatory. In this case, cloud clusters can handle functions such as backup and data maintenance rather than the actual storage or processing of data.
The same is true for certain solutions that have limited compatibility with cloud environments. Refactoring may be required before these on-premises solutions can be moved entirely to the cloud, especially if you want to keep the hybrid cloud environment scalable and highly available.
Solving Hybrid Cloud Problems
There is one important thing to keep in mind when trying to find a balance between on-premises clusters and cloud services: you will not get the balance right the first time. Continuous monitoring and evaluation are just as important.
The more metrics you gather about your implementation of a hybrid cloud, the more you can optimize the environment for maximum performance, scalability, and availability. At the same time, you can balance the cost of using the hybrid cloud environment further.
After some fine-tuning, you will eventually reach equilibrium. That’s when you know that your solutions are running optimally and that you are enjoying the full benefits of both on-premises clusters and cloud services.
For more about moving to the cloud, don’t miss our article, Cloud Migration Best Practices: How to Move Your Project to Kubernetes.
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