Planning for Hybrid Cloud Resources to Support Growth and Change - dummies

Planning for Hybrid Cloud Resources to Support Growth and Change

By Judith Hurwitz, Marcia Kaufman, Fern Halper, Daniel Kirsch

Planning for hybrid cloud growth and change involves understanding your data, devising a growth strategy, and choosing a provider. In a hybrid cloud environment, as with any environment, you need to understand your rate of data generation. In the hybrid world, of course, this data is being generated both on-premises and in the public cloud.

Devising a hybrid cloud growth strategy

When you have a thorough understanding of your data, the next step is to devise a strategy to determine how you’re going to deal with this growth. As part of this strategy, you need to understand how much storage growth you want to support internally and how much you can support outside your corporate walls.

You need to do an analysis that compares your investment in corporate infrastructure to a potential cloud strategy. This analysis includes the following:

  • What kind of applications and data you’re willing to store in the cloud versus what you want to keep on-premises: This includes data issues associated with regulatory compliance and other risk factors. Although you may be thinking only about archive and backup applications, experts advise considering other applications that may not be mission-critical. However, make sure that your provider can adhere to any regulatory or compliance issues your company has in place. You also need to make sure they are willing to change if something changes in your industry.

  • A risk assessment: Every company has its own tolerance level when it comes to risk. Aside from technology risks, you may also want to consider how your processes might change in the cloud. For example, you need to determine whether there are any people, processes, or cultural issues to consider.

  • On-site data storage costs: Include all costs associated with on-site data storage: hardware, software, maintenance, environmental costs (such as electricity), and so on.

  • Cloud storage costs: Include all costs associated with cloud storage, including data migration costs and storage costs associated with these applications and data.

Choosing a hybrid cloud provider

When you’ve decided that you want some of your applications and data in the cloud, you need to pick your provider with due diligence. Read the fine print in terms of costs associated with the storage and what contract termination looks like.

You also want to make sure that the provider puts recovery time objectives (RTOs) in place, in case there’s a problem with its service. Also, make sure the vendor you select is viable. For example, what happens to your storage if your service provider goes out of business? Will you be able to recover your assets?

Experts also advise to ensure that an escape clause is in your contract, in case your provider doesn’t perform as advertised.

Many of these concerns boil down to trust and doing your homework. Do you trust your vendor and have you put the right contracts in place to protect yourself? Have you done your homework? If you haven’t, you need to.

The hybrid cloud storage model offers many advantages to organizations that want to maintain the security of storing their highly confidential data within a private cloud and then selectively store data with fewer confidentiality requirements in the public cloud. Ultimately, the right mix between public and private environments maximizes cost savings while maintaining security and geographic storage requirements.