How to apply an effective hybrid cloud strategy By Bruce Kelley, CTO and SVP at NETSCOUT.

  • 1 month ago Posted in

Modern organisations can no longer operate statically and must be flexible enough to shift workloads, public clouds, on-premises data centres, applications, and services across private clouds when required. According to the 2021 State of the Cloud Report published by Flexera, 92 per cent of companies have a multi-cloud strategy, with 82 per cent having a hybrid cloud strategy. The need for such flexibility is why hybrid cloud strategies have become so popular with many organisations – offering a level of flexibility that otherwise would not be possible. However, implementing an effective hybrid cloud strategy is not always so simple, so organisations must evaluate all considerations.

Developing a well-rounded strategy

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for applying a hybrid cloud strategy, and it can be a complex process. If not implemented correctly, hybrid cloud strategies can easily cause more problems than initially meant to resolve. To avoid this, IT teams need to build a comprehensive approach by investing the time needed to fully assess the specific needs of the company to avoid further complications. This includes that the appropriate workloads are transferred into the cloud and that the combination of public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises work cohesively. For example, some functions could be moved entirely off-premises, while it may be more appropriate to keep core legacy functions on-prem as they are more volatile.

Another hurdle faced is knowing the best time to move an application. For example, it is impractical to move critical applications when they are in heavy use, such as before noon. However, this also depends on the organisation's specific needs, which must be evaluated ahead of time to ensure a smooth transition.

Maintaining visibility across borders

With businesses adapting to new practices and techniques, it is essential for IT teams to develop strategies to fill any gaps in visibility during the migration process. Ahead of transitioning services into the cloud, it is likely that IT teams will have 'owned' the services beforehand to have complete visibility of all actions. As other aspects transition to the cloud, such as service components, the 'ownership' transfers to third-party providers. In this case, it is equally imperative to maintain visibility across network borders to gain a deeper insight into the customer experience.

The process can seem daunting and will take a significant effort to complete. However, once organisations move away from the outdated approaches of monitoring datasets to newer methods, they will see the full benefits of what a hybrid cloud approach can provide. Although IT teams within the organisation are ultimately responsible for maintaining data visibility, the approach needs to accommodate external third parties and IT domains that come with using cloud platforms.

Application Performance Management (APM) systems would be an IT team's first choice to utilise; however, they do not enable the visibility needed to generate completed datasets. Alternatively, underlying packet data is required to apply to the monitoring system throughout all stages for 'end-through-end' visibility of the network. As a result, the completed dataset can connect to on and off premises systems. With these new monitoring systems, organisations can benefit from complete and consistent visibility into the customer experience. Similar approaches will allow for more ease of monitoring in the hybrid network. Wide-ranging monitoring systems that provide complete visibility can help IT teams identify vulnerabilities throughout the network to enable enhanced network performance monitoring.

Delivering the end-user experience

Equally as important, organisations must consider how these changes may affect the end-user experience. Although disruption from the workload migration is highly likely, an organisation should establish what measures to take to minimise the level of disruption possible. Above all else, the end-user experience should not differ much from its typical performance – especially during and following the migration process.

With the complexity of a hybrid cloud, organisations need sufficient time to fully assess the result and proactively mitigate all potential performance issues. A complete dataset relaying insights for improving the end-user experience will make the transition less challenging while providing greater control. As a result, organisations and their stakeholders will attain benefits sooner rather than later.

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