The hybrid cloud market is estimated to grow from USD 33.28 billion in 2016 to USD 91.74 billion by 2021, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.5%, but it’s not all smooth sailing. In particular, there are a number of complications and tensions to consider before first dipping a toe into the hybrid cloud waters.
Firstly, hybrid cloud is complex. It takes a long time to get it right, and it can be very expensive. Hybrid cloud is a custom-built solution with all the issues you would expect from this type of IT project, including under-estimating complexity, over-running on cost, and ultimately not meeting customer needs.
Secondly, there’s a lack of suitably skilled people as hybrid cloud requires a broad skillset. Beyond the myriad of technologies for both on-premise and public cloud, there’s also the required integration task to 'bind' the clouds to make them hybrid. Another big challenge – and a common cause of private cloud failure – is the necessary modification of the organisation’s operational model.
Thirdly, corporate cloud appetites are potentially already drifting away from hybrid cloud:
Application owners and consumers, with CRM application users a good example, are moving to easy-to-access software-as-a-service (SaaS) models.
Application developers are moving to platform-as-a-service models (PaaS). These might run on a private cloud but they are more at home in public cloud and there’s usually no requirement for hybrid cloud.
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Then finally, there are some common hybrid cloud adoption mistakes, usually the things that companies don’t give sufficient attention to as they start out with hybrid cloud.
Your company’s first steps with hybrid cloud are definitely an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. These hybrid cloud adoption mistakes include:
Jumping right in rather than starting small
Instead start with a trial. As with any big change to the status quo, it’s better to trial things first and to then build up new operations in increments. This way, day-to-day operations and the required ongoing changes to it can be evaluated in real-time with adjustments made as and when necessary.
Underestimating your people needs and struggling to recruit them
When introducing new technologies, organizations can easily overlook the need for certain skills. And, in the case of hybrid cloud, even when the required skills have been identified, organisations will still struggle to acquire the right people in what is a very competitive jobs market.
Overlooking the need for seamless interoperability and compatibility
Organisations need to 'stretch' their in-house private environment to the public cloud, and it’s thus important that they ensure both cloud environments are compatible with each other.
Understating the required data center footprint and associated costs
Besides allocating the right local footprint, and room for growth, organisations also need to take into account, and budget for, the different investments in operational costs associated with co-locating services and the capital costs associated with purchasing hardware for local operations.
Underestimating network performance and bandwidth requirements
For hybrid cloud success, it’s vital for companies to accurately estimate the volumes of traffic being transferred, moved, and replicated, and the bandwidth and latency required to ensure that the networks can manage the load.
Insufficient disaster recovery planning
Building in redundancy and robustness is a no-brainer for assuring availability in any IT environment. So invest in disaster recovery plans and processes to achieve the required RTOs (recovery time objectives) and RPOs (recovery point objectives) for the service or services supported by the hybrid cloud environment.
Paying lip service to security and compliance
Security and compliance isn’t just important for organisations that need to comply with industry requirements such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Instead, this needs to be front-and-center for all organisations, with them needing to determine where to store sensitive data, how to protect data in transit, and how to encrypt and secure data at rest.
No formal procedures and documentation
For some companies, having a high level of operational formality will be mandatory for compliance purposes. But, regardless of industry-specific regulations, having recognised procedures and documentation will help hybrid cloud success from the planning stage, through transition, and into business-as-usual operations.
Insufficient effort is placed on finding the right hybrid cloud vendor
Compliance with different standards, physical location, security requirements, scalability, flexibility, any of the non-technical aspects of the vendor, and more, will need to be taken into account when choosing the right vendor – not just the right technology – for delivering against your company’s business requirements.
Not talking with other companies about their hybrid cloud failures and successes
There will be many other organisations, with similar needs to your own, who will be happy to offer up their key learnings from their hybrid cloud experiences. It would be foolish not to take advantage of such opportunities.
Sourced from Sarah Lahav, CEO, SysAid Technologies