How to Go Hybrid: The Right Recipe for Mixing On-Premises and Cloud Computing

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When cloud computing became widely available, the benefits were clear: ease of use, unlimited capacity, availability, and flexible pricing. As a result, organizations no longer had to worry about capacity planning or the cumbersome and costly process of setting up data centers. Cloud providers have allowed organizations to focus on building their products and their core businesses instead of building and maintaining expensive infrastructure, allowing them to scale at an unprecedented rate.

These benefits have led to the rapid migration of many businesses, startups, and new businesses from on-premises to the cloud.

Over time, however, the costs associated with fully relying on the cloud have given rise to new challenges. Overprovisioning cloud resources is one of them. Overprovisioning has been a common practice since the days of on-premises computing that made the leap to the cloud, mainly due to companies using ‘lift and shift’ strategies for migration, and it has skyrocketed sales. cloud costs. As new businesses started up and looked to start profitable, budget-conscious executives naturally looked at the massive amounts of spending in the cloud and began to wonder if all that money was generating enough ROI.

Dropbox’s decision to abandon AWS and create its own network of data centers, which saved the company $75 million in just two years, continues to resonate. But not all businesses are Dropbox, and on-prem has its own costs and complexities.

As companies around the world began to prioritize reducing infrastructure costs, many began to consider the benefits of the hybrid model. This approach, which relies on on-premises infrastructure and uses the cloud to adapt to peak traffic, is poised to strike the perfect balance.

Two industry trends are making this possible: Managed service offerings launched by cloud providers such as AWS Outposts, Azure Arc, and the Google Cloud service platform, Anthos, which enables dynamic autoscaling when needed. .

While it would be tempting to view this model as the best of both worlds: the ability to leverage both on-premise infrastructure and Take advantage of cloud resources – and an easy decision to make, hybrid deployment comes with its own unique considerations and challenges. Here are some key points to consider before taking a hybrid approach for your business.

1. Determine strategy and priorities

Not all businesses need to bring their IT infrastructure in-house, but companies that have flagged cost reduction and margin growth as strategic priorities should consider doing so. Likewise, companies that care less about their margins now and want to scale and grow their market share quickly can comfortably stay fully in the cloud to maintain a greater degree of flexibility.

2. Prepare for the realities of on-site maintenance

A hybrid strategy means a return to some of the complexities of on-premises infrastructure and management that businesses left behind when they first entered the cloud. These challenges should by no means prevent a business from going hybrid, but they do require a carefully planned on-premise strategy. The ability to meet this challenge may be influenced by your institutional memory of self-management. It is essential to have staff who know how to manage data centers, procure servers, etc. Companies that return to the site after only a year or two of absence will have a clear advantage – they may even still own their facilities. Cloud-native organizations will start this journey from scratch and would benefit from bringing in people familiar with self-managed infrastructure.

3. Know and constantly reassess your triggers

A hybrid approach is to plan for the usage threshold at which you scale your application to the cloud. This requires efficient forecasting of capacity. A general rule of thumb would be to plan your on-premises site for medium traffic, not peak traffic, and scale to the cloud when peak traffic occurs.

4. Familiarize yourself with fragmentation

Going from your metal to the cloud and back again is no easy task from an infrastructure perspective. But it can also stress and expose aspects of your application itself. If parts of your application are running in multiple zones at the same time, you need to make sure that your data and code base is consistent in each one. To put it plainly, think of the cloud as just another data center – you’ll need to ensure constant data updates to ensure consistency.

5. Consider locking

It might sound counterintuitive, but using the cloud above data centers just to meet excess demand actually comes with its own kind of hook. Instead of having the ability to mix and match data center and cloud providers, managed service solutions from leading cloud providers to run in data centers scale exclusively to their own clouds. . The vendor choices for the hybrid are the same as for a pure cloud vendor. Find out if you can be tied to a particular API and how big the ecosystem is. Identify specific features that are a priority for your businesses, as some are only available from certain vendors.

6. Let yourself be guided by the location

Faster 5G speeds for consumers can reduce the need for businesses to maintain complex networks of regional services. But the resulting value depends on your user footprint, as well as the 5G deployment roadmap. In theory, if you serve customers only in the US, improved 5G speeds can allow you to get rid of those “east” and “west” cloud regions #, and consolidate them into a single data center instead. American. But a distributed customer base may still demand multi-regional power that the cloud is best suited to deliver, while the still unfulfilled rollout of 5G means uncertainty abounds – and will be for many years to come.

Hybrid: the next frontier

Over the next five years, hybrid infrastructure deployments are expected to become more common as many businesses reach a point where cost savings become imperative and barriers to entry continue to fall. As cloud providers’ managed service APIs become more user-friendly, hybrid will become a go-to solution.

Asaf Ezra is CEO and co-founder of Granule.

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