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5 key considerations when moving to hybrid cloud

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Have you created a private cloud but not yet realized all the savings you had hoped? Hybrid cloud can enhance your client interaction experiences through additional elasticity and horizontal scaling. It can also bring a smile to the face of your CFO by reducing costs.

Creating a private cloud can help clients consolidate various business unit workloads, but in the end clients often still design the private cloud to meet peak workload needs.

Turning to hybrid cloud can increase cost savings by allowing the private cloud to be sized to the average workload, utilizing a public cloud for peak events like seasonal spikes, periodic event spikes and unforeseen rapid growth.

Picking the right combination of clouds can be simplified by creating a list of a few key areas which you must evaluate when moving to a hybrid cloud.

Data location is a key factor in using a hybrid cloud

Private clouds can be located off client premises using service providers such as IBM Cloud Managed Services or IBM SoftLayer. Private clouds can also be hosted at the client data center.

Clients who use a service provider to have offsite private clouds do not usually have to factor data residency location into leveraging a hybrid cloud. Most service providers offer public clouds within the same data center as hosted private clouds, allowing the applications and data to remain in the same data center.

For clients who have their private clouds at their own data center, the following four main considerations must be evaluated when moving to a hybrid cloud: 

What portion of the client workload is going to be moved to the public cloud?

scale out capacityA key consideration is what applications and services will be moved to the public cloud, and if the data will also be moved to the public cloud or remain in the private cloud location. If the data does not remain within the private cloud at the original location, the focus needs to be around:

• Special data residency requirements
• Regulatory compliance requirements
• Network access

Special data residency requirements

What is the impact of the private and public cloud potentially being in different locations? I have found many of our clients that are in the European Union (EU) have a requirement to have the data remain in the EU. I have worked with other clients, including a government client who has even more restrictive data residency requirements—it must remain in a specific region within a country. Even when the client itself does not have a data restriction requirement, a country may limit what data can enter and leave the country, which forces careful focus on the data and the private and public cloud data center locations.

Regulatory compliance requirements

I work with many clients who have regulatory compliance requirements in place for their private cloud. United States standards like the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), if necessary, can also be required in the public cloud if those regulated workloads are provided within the hybrid cloud environment. You must ensure the service provider you chose can offer those same services.

Other standards like ISO 27001 are global data center standards and if your data center hosting the private cloud has been certified, you likely will not want to move your services into public clouds which do not comply.

Network access

I have seen an evolution of network technology that has eliminated many previous barriers related to cost, latency and access to high speed services in the locations required. However, specific to a hybrid cloud, there are two main considerations which must be carefully evaluated:

• Network between the public and private cloud
• Network between the client’s customers and the services moving to the public cloud

Working with the right service provider, neither of these should be inhibitors to successfully adopting a hybrid cloud, as there are plenty of available solutions for most situations.

While hybrid cloud can at first appear to be complex, if you trim the evaluation down to these simple areas and work with the right service provider, the value to you can be very compelling.

Join in the conversation and let me know what you think, including any other major decision factors related to adopting a hybrid cloud. I can be reached in the comments below or on Twitter @DavidWeck.

Do you need the expertise to build, manage and secure a hybrid cloud solution?  Learn more at IBM.com/cloud/expertise.

Learn more about hybrid cloud:

What is hybrid cloud? 

Hybrid clouds: Should you bring the moving van?

What technology is needed for hybrid cloud?

What is dynamic cloud?

The future of enterprise IT: Engaging customers

Distributing your workload? It’s easy as slicing pie

The hybrid cloud you didn’t know you had

How to explain private, public and hybrid cloud to your spouse

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