Hybrid infrastructure deployments are projected to become more frequent over the next five years as many companies reach a point where cost-saving is a must and entry barriers continue to fall. Hybrid will become the dominant go-to solution as managed-services APIs of cloud vendors become more user-friendly.
The benefits of cloud computing was clear when it first became widely available – unlimited capacity, ease of use, flexible pricing and availability. Businesses no longer had to worry about capacity planning or the time-consuming and costly process of establishing data centers. Cloud vendors allowed businesses to focus on their core business and products rather than setting up and maintaining expensive infrastructure, allowing them to scale at an unprecedented rate.
However, as the expenses of completely relying on the cloud rose over time, other issues came to the fore. One of them was overprovisioning of cloud resources. Budget-conscious executives naturally evaluated the hefty sums allocated to cloud expenditure and began asking whether all that money was delivering sufficient ROI when new companies got off the ground and looked to begin achieving profitability.
As businesses worldwide began to prioritize lowering infrastructure costs, many began to consider the benefits of a hybrid model. This strategy, which combines on-premises infrastructure with cloud-based scaling for peak traffic, is poised to find the ideal balance.
While it’s tempting to think of hybrid deployment as the best of both worlds — the flexibility to run on-premises infrastructure while also taking advantage of cloud resources — and that it’s a simple decision to make, it comes with its own set of challenges.
Here are some key factors to consider before implementing a hybrid strategy:
Establish a strategy and set goals
Although not every company needs to bring its computing infrastructure in-house, those that have identified cost reduction and margin growth as strategic goals should consider it. Similarly, businesses that are less concerned with their margins right now and instead want to scale and quickly expand their market share can safely stay in the cloud to keep a higher level of flexibility.
Prepare for the reality of on-premises maintenance
A hybrid strategy involves returning to some of the difficulties of on-premise infrastructure and management that businesses abandoned when they moved to the cloud. These obstacles should not prohibit a company from adopting hybrid, but they do necessitate a well-thought-out on-premises strategy. Staff that can manage data centers, procure servers, and so on are crucial. Organizations returning to on-prem after only a year or two of being away will have a distinct advantage. Organizations that are cloud-native will be beginning from scratch on this path and will benefit from bringing in professional who are familiar with self-managed infrastructure.
Recognize and re-evaluate the triggers on a regular basis
Planning for the usage threshold at which organizations scale their application out to the cloud is crucial to a hybrid approach. This demands accurate capacity forecasting. A basic rule of thumb is to plan on-premises for average traffic rather than peak, and scale out to the cloud when traffic spikes.
Consider the lock-in scenario
It may sound contradictory, but employing the cloud to serve surplus demand on top of data centers has its own set of benefits. The managed services solutions of major cloud vendors for running in data centers scale-out only to their own clouds, rather than allowing customers to mix and match data center and cloud vendors. The hybrid vendor options are the same as the pure-cloud vendor options. Businesses should think about whether they can be bound to a specific API and the size of the ecosystem. They need to determine which features are most important to their company, as some are only offered by specific providers.
Let location be the guiding factor
Faster 5G speeds for customers may lessen the need for businesses to maintain complex regional service networks. However, the value obtained from doing so is dependent on the user base as well as the timeline for 5G deployment. A dispersed customer base may require multi-regional power, which the cloud is best positioned to deliver, and 5G’s yet-to-be-implemented rollout means uncertainty abounds – and will for several years.