Make the Case for the Cloud with Hybrid IT
For all its benefits, the cloud isn’t free, and cloud migration isn’t a simple task. For many organizations, a “let’s move it all now” strategy may not even be advisable. There are legacy systems to consider. Recent investments in hardware. Maybe even compliance requirements.
What may make sense, instead, is hybrid IT— a mix of on-premise and off-premise IT environments.
All Workloads are Not Equal
Not all workloads are as critical to organizations as others. Nor do they require the same resources. An on-premise data center is typically designed to accommodate Tier 1 application requirements. There is no flexibility in its underlying infrastructure to customize the availability and performance attributes by application importance or the application owner’s budget as is the case with a public cloud service.
Moving less critical applications to a public cloud service where resources can be scaled as needed and purchased on a pay-per-use basis (or with pre-purchased capacity reservations) is far more efficient and cost effective. The same holds true for applications that experience periodic or unpredictable traffic spikes. On-premise data centers require additional resources to accommodate peak demands; not so with scalable cloud services.
In addition, all workloads don’t necessarily perform equally well, or at all, in all environments. For example, legacy applications may not work in the cloud if they were written in C++ or another older language while cloud-native, scale-out application may not perform optimally in a traditional data center environment.
Hybrid IT allows for matching applications to the environments where they will perform best, as well as for leveraging the benefits associated with those specific environments — such as the security of a private cloud or cost savings of a public cloud.
Start Small for a Proof of Concept
Talking about the benefits of the cloud is one thing, but demonstrating them is what will gain the support of the people holding the purse strings. One way to do this is to conduct a pilot in which one or two non-critical workloads are moved to a public cloud service. In addition to generating actual cost savings, greater efficiencies and better performance of the applications, a pilot can help you become comfortable with “letting go” of control of some aspects of your IT assets if you’ve never outsourced before.
Choose low-risk or cloud-ready applications with minimal customer data or other sensitive information. A good use case to start with is developing and testing new applications in a public cloud where the necessary resources can easily be scaled on demand.
Once the prototype applications are ready, they can be moved back to your production environment in your on-premise data center or private cloud. You get the fast, on-demand capacity needed without having to invest in additional resources for your in-house IT environment that may not be needed once the project is done. And, if things go well with the pilot, it will be easier to make the case for evaluating other workloads to move to the cloud.
Keep in mind that cloud services aren’t your only options for building out a hybrid IT strategy. If you aren’t comfortable trusting your data to the cloud just yet, consider making your first foray out of your on-premise data center to a third-party colocation facility.
Colocation allows you to maintain ownership of your assets and maximize your investment in them without the costs, labor and expertise required to keep them on site. You can move some of your hardware as appropriate, but keep specific assets and workloads in-house as necessary.
Among the benefits of colocation is that it is treated as an operational expense, which gives you greater flexibility in responding to needs for additional capacity or new capabilities. In addition, charges for specific services and service levels are predictable and fully itemized.
Colocation also makes sense as part of a hybrid IT strategy if the cloud is a future destination. Data will need to move in a variety of directions between internal and external resources fast and reliably. Few organizations can afford to invest in the advanced networking capabilities that many colocation facilities offer if they also support cloud infrastructure.
Data centers that provide access to their operator and interconnect networks also make it easier and more cost efficient to quickly move data over large geographical areas and between internal and external assets. The private interconnects and specialized network systems also get data to corporate WAN and LAN systems, adding a layer of security in how information is delivered.
Get Started Now
US Signal can help your organization assess its IT needs and develop the optimal strategy for meeting them, whether it includes an on-premise data center, colocation, cloud migration or some combination of the options. To get started, call us at 866.2. SIGNAL or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch for future blog posts in which we’ll provide more helpful hints for building out a hybrid IT strategy.